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Miami Dade College American Dream Scholarship Recipients Gain Support from 305 Rise Mentors

305 Rise campaign

MDC students with their 305 Rise mentors

Miami, April 9, 2012 - Six recent Miami Dade College (MDC) graduates have created 305 Rise, a community-organizing campaign that is helping 20 MDC American Dream scholarship recipients become future leaders. 

The American Dream Scholars and their 305 Rise mentors recently participated in a two-day retreat that focused on leadership development and help with the college-transfer application process.

The retreat was the result of an intensive year long process that began with the 305 Rise mentors attended intensive leadership training in Cambridge, where they attended lectures by prominent Harvard professors and industry leaders and generated the idea for the community-organizing campaign to be executed in Miami. Upon their return from Cambridge, the mentors and recent MDC grads chose the American Dream Scholars as the target audience for their leadership training peer-to-peer retreat.

After nearly nine months of planning and a careful selection process, the 305 Rise mentors designed the two-day training program, which included having the Scholars sign a commitment to complete their education and announce specific goals. Each student set one leadership-development goal, one college-completion goal and one “wild card” goal, which does not have to be associated with a particular category.

Keynote speakers at the retreat included Harvard Medical School scientist Dr. Robert Sackstein, former City of Miami Mayor Manny Diaz and Angie Brice, Florida recruitment director at Teach for America.  

“There is nothing more important than supporting inspiration,” said Dr. Sackstein, who was born in Cuba and raised in Miami. “The real gift of life is the ability to help young people achieve their dreams.”

Launched by MDC graduates Laura Barrera, Vanessa Chalmers, Jessenia Guerra, Anabetsy Rivero, Luis Sanchez and Jessica Giraldo and supervised by MDC’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Initiatives director and 305 Rise advisor Carlos Barrezueta, 305 Rise has a stated goal of increasing MDC’s retention and college-completion rates by providing mentorship, engaging students and building their capacity for leadership.

They also trained five members of Phi Theta Kappa – the national honor society for community colleges – as facilitators, adding another level of peer engagement.

The vision shared by 305 Rise members is to make their program sustainable from year to year as American Dream Scholars grow to become mentors, inspiring the next group of talented students.

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino, 305-237-3949,, MDC media relations director
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist
Tarnell Carroll, 305-237-3359,, media specialist
Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482,

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