Chili in Brrr… lington

If you live anywhere near Redstone Campus and on Friday, October 21 had the smell of chili wafting around, heard some great music and saw a bunch of little kids running around and playing giant games of tug-of-war, you witnessed the 4th annual DREAM Chili Cookoff. For those of you who don’t know what DREAM is (and you should), it is a mentoring program that connects college students with children who live in low-income housing communities. DREAM (Directing through Recreation, Education, Adventure and Mentoring) came to UVM from Dartmouth where it began in spring of 2002 and has since spread to five other colleges around Vermont. We offer children positive role models and great experiences that they may have otherwise not had. We’re entirely student run and are a recognized UVM club. A second DREAM program at UVM is in the works, which will offer the dozens of interested UVMers the opportunity to be involved in helping children in need. So the Chili Cookoff is only one of the many events that DREAM puts on. You might be familiar with the Spring Thing, a similar event to the Chili Cookoff. We hold Talent Shows that the kids and mentors perform at, end-of-the year trips to Boston, and have taken smaller groups of older children to California two years ago and Alaska this past summer. The Chili Cookoff, although it is primarily a community building event, has typically been a fundraiser for our program to be able to hold these trips. However, this year, we’ve decided to donate the entirety of our profits to an organization that is assisting school children in the south who have been affected by Hurricane Katrina. The three-hour event brought in over $1200, which will be used to help the children who won’t be attending school this year because of all the damage done to their schools. The children in our groups will begin correspondence with those kids down south and will be raising more money to send books and school supplies. Over 50 pots of delicious chili were made by mentors, kids, parents and friends, varying from vegetarian to meaty, mild to spicy, and some very unique and yummy recipes. The bands My Kids are Jerks and Soulvation Army provided us some great music to go along with our event. Along with UVM students, we welcomed the DREAM programs from Champlain, St. Mikes and Norwich who we have been networking with to share ideas and eat good food.our support to each other. The hard work that goes into planning the event paid off when we saw the turnout, the energy and the fun that people were having. We’d like to thank those of you who came out on a chilly (pun intended) Friday to support our program and our cause, to listen to great music, and eat good food.