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May 6, 2011
By Misha Ray
The DreamGirls International Outreach Program, an Associated Students of the University of Nevada student organization, was recognized by former President Bill Clinton at the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative University Program in San Diego last month for its mentorship of young women who hope to attend college.
"We serve as mentors or role models and give them tools and information on how to get into college," said Joyce Abeng, vice president of DreamGirls and a junior at the University of Nevada, Reno. "We help them realize that college is not just for the super smart, or super wealthy, but with good grades and the right information, they can also get to college. We make them realize college is a possibility."
The Bill Clinton Global Initiative, began in 2005 and honors a variety of initiatives, such as personal empowerment, leadership and philanthropy. The DreamGirls attended this year's event in San Diego and last year's event in Miami. This year they were awarded a certificate on stage by President Clinton, honoring their service to high school girls.
"It was really exciting for all of us to hear that this organization is raising such an interest not only for us who are part of it, but by other organizations and our former president," Abeng said.
DreamGirls, founded on the University of Nevada, Reno campus in 2009, reaches out to local high school girls who face an obstacle on the road to college.
"DreamGirls was created to help motivate high school girls to go into college," Abeng said. "Having a program where girls can see others like them who are in higher education is very important."
For Abeng, the recognition from the Bill Clinton Global Initiative was more than just receiving an award from a former president. It was an opportunity to continue learning how to change the world for the better.
"The whole event was inspiring, just being able to share your ideas and talking to others that are in the same level you are," Abeng said. "If you have an idea of how to do something to improve our world, anything, try and apply for the Clinton Global Initiative because it is truly life changing."