Community members dedicated to making the Natchitoches community a better place gathered at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum for the Natchitoches Dreams Foundation’s annual Party With a Purpose on Dec. 10 featuring an evening dinner, entertainment and fundraising.
The foundation is known for Christmas toy drives and awarding scholarships to area high school seniors to help them achieve their dreams for the future.
This year, there was an exciting announcement made that the Dreams Foundation will be adopting the Natchitoches Parish Technical and Career Center (NPTCC) to become a bridge over troubled waters for youth who need an anchor in their lives.
With the help of Northwestern State University President Marcus Jones and Mark Melder, Director of the School of Social Sciences and Applied Programs at NSU, Cloyd Benjamin hopes to flush out the details and launch the program officially in early 2022. However, work will begin right away.
“I grew up in this community,” said Benjamin. “Violence and juvenile problems are pervasive, so what can we do? We can change it by taking control with redirection measures relating to peer training and much more. This will be something we can all participate in.”
Still in the early stages of developing this program to reduce violence in the Natchitoches community, more information will soon be released and a call for volunteers will be issued. Claire Prymus with the Ben Johnson Foundation is one community member who is on board to help with the program. Other community members are welcome to join.
“This is a win-win situation,” said NPTCC Principal Bobby Benjamin. “It’s important to show students that whatever they’re going through in life, they can come out of it and be successful. All the students that come through the halls of the school are my kids and I’ll do anything to help them.”
Over the years, the Dreams Foundation has helped send over 20 young men and women to college, including three recipients who completed their degrees at NSU, went on to law school and are now members of the Louisiana bar. The Dreams foundation has changed many lives for the better.
“We have to catch these kids before they make it to the pipeline that is the court system,” said Jones. “Let’s start impacting their lives when they’re young. One way to do this is to donate toward this worthy cause.”
The Dreams Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit. Persons interested in helping further their good works in the community may contact Cloyd Benjamin at 318-352-7575