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DREAMS – “When students dream”: An international, multi-generational project

DREAMS – “When students dream”: An international, multi-generational project

DREAMS was developed in 2004 by the Indian psychologist Lijo Thomas. Successfully launched in India and the US, DREAMS is now part of a collaboration in Cologne between the Catholic University of Applied Sciences and CHRIST (Deemed to be University). 

DREAMS stands for Desire, Readiness, Empowerment, Action, Mastery and Success. The project consists of interlinked activities with sixth-grade students, university faculty, cooperating schools, student mentors and mentors from local communities and associations.

The DREAMS project focuses on the holistic development of young people. It identifies their unique talents, helps them achieve their potential, strengthens their resilience and in the process smooths their path to adulthood. 

DREAMS takes place over a three-year period and concentrates on three areas of life: 

  • Personal development
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Advancement and reinforcement of learning

30–40 sixth graders can participant in a DREAMS project. They are supervised by student mentors from the Catholic University of Applied Sciences and local mentors from communities and associations. The task of the mentors is to support and foster youth development. They organise workshop weeks and meetings and conduct them with the sixth graders.

Over the course of the project, three workshops, each 4–5 days long, take place during the holidays. Between the workshops, additional meetings take place in smaller groups. At the meetings, mentors meet with sixth graders to discuss their individual goals. 

The DREAMS project in Cologne is directed by Karla Verlinden and Lisa Jungkamp. Professor Verlinden works in education research and teaches topics related to resilience. Lisa Jungkamp is a social worker and works as an advisor on related topics in teaching and learning. 

Is your school interested in joining a DREAMS project? Contact us.


Lisa Jungkamp

Lisa Jungkamp

Referentin für Hochschulentwicklung und Evaluation, Zentralverwaltung

Köln, Dezernat VI - Akademische Angelegenheiten

Prof'in Dr. Karla Verlinden

Prof'in Dr. Karla Verlinden


Köln, Sozialwesen

Sample Workshop Schedule

9.00 – 9.30 am Arrival
10.00 - 11.15 am Input: Group discussions on daily topic
11.30 am – 12.30 pm Small groups (5–7 students) meet with three mentors at the DREAMS Journal
12.30 am – 1.15 pm Group lunch
1.15 – 3.30 pm Workshop groups on various topics (theatre, circus, etc.)

For more international perspectives on the DREAMS programme, see or the clip.

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