WHO WE ARE
The idea for DREAM first stemmed from a discussion back in the Fall of 2019 between two undergraduate students at the University of Michigan. As per tradition, Thursday nights were reserved as pizza night and entailed deep conversations. A central theme of these conversations was ways of giving back to their community.
In the midst of final exams, extracurricular activities, and worrying about getting into medical school, they thought these discussions were simply dreams that would only come true after they started their careers and had the time and money to invest in it.
Yet one day, after reaching out to their close friends and sharing the idea with them, motivation and dedication took over, as two people became six. They realized striking differences between disability awareness at their University compared to their hometown. After dozens of meetings analyzing and discussing countless published research articles, they finally landed on their first research project. As DREAM grew in number, the projects simultaneously grew and now range from research endeavors to podcasts; all with the goal of raising awareness in their community and enacting change. What once was an idea has transformed into a movement predicated on improving the lives of those with disabilities. As such, the name DREAM stands for everything we hope to accomplish: the Disabilities Research, Education, and Advocacy Movement.
We hope to continue raising awareness through our research, podcast, and community outreach programs so we can demonstrate that disability does not equal inability.
WHAT WE DO
Mission: Our goals are two-fold: to empower and educate. We will empower individuals with disabilities by providing resources, spreading awareness, and giving them a platform to share their unique voices. We will educate members in the Arab American community and beyond about the struggles and successes of individuals with disabilities.
We work to accomplish our mission through the power of research and community efforts. By using research as the main method of advocacy, we hope to disseminate evidence-based data to our community and familiarize others with the prevalence of disabilities and how individuals with disabilities are often underserved.
Alongside our ongoing research, we produce the Discovering Disabilities in Dearborn podcast, with episodes released monthly to highlight the voices of Arab Americans with disabilities and their advocates. This podcast is meant to share the stories, experiences, and lives of those with disabilities to provide another means of raising awareness about disabilities in the Arab American community.
Through our work, we hope to build on our community's foundation. We will refine and implement novel systems to aid individuals with disabilities. Our ultimate goal is to work alongside our community and develop sustained efforts aimed at serving the disability community.