El Cajon Library hosts Dare to DREAM workshops

The El Cajon Branch hosted the Dare to DREAM Workshop Series, which supports undocumented teens and adults between ages 15-32 in their educational and professional development. Undocumented families face additional socioeconomic disadvantages. Unauthorized teens have difficulty applying for college and work with no social security number, experience family hardship and lower expectations, and lack assistance with school and job applications. San Diego County Library is leveling the playing field and providing opportunities for these undocumented teens and young adults to better their lives through Dare to DREAM.

Funded by the California State Library, the series began as a five-part series and was expanded to seven sessions due to demonstrated community need. There were eight workshops in total, with a final attendance of 506. 27 DACA renewal applications were completed, saving customers a least $50 each – and that's if they'd gone to the most affordable non-profit lawyers. This program drew a lot of first-time library users. 40 of 217 survey respondents said they had never been to a public library before the Dare to DREAM event they were attending.

Some of the workshops in this program included: A Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Informational Forum with new information about immigration laws; DACA Renewals, providing legal assistance with lawyers and volunteers; Tips for Life After DACA; Options for Higher Education with representatives from local colleges and universities; and Job Hunting, offering help on resumes and access to free professional clothing.