RS -- DSA Group with mentors_staff Steve Hunt photo 2024

“Imagine the impact these 10 Dreamstarters will have on the world” – Billy Mills

“My wife, Patricia, and I recently returned home from the ninth annual Dreamstarter academy, where we had the incredible honor of meeting the new cohort of 2024 Dreamstarter Storytellers. Each of these amazing young people has a profound story to tell. Stories of resilience and love, rich in culture, that will amend history and help shape the future. This class has a unique gift and an opportunity to empower themselves and their communities by telling these stories. I am proud to support each of our 2024 Dreamstarters as we continue to uplift native voices.

As I shared during the closing ceremony, I have traveled the world telling stories of my life and of the Native American experience. While in South Africa, a woman approached me and thanked me for telling my story. She had heard it and was empowered to chase her dreams. That is what I want for this class of Storytellers: for them to chase their dreams and to empower others. I am just one man with stories to tell, and if my journey can have an impact all the way in South Africa, imagine the impact these 10 Dreamstarters will have on the world. “

Over the course of the Dreamstarter Academy 2024, the new cohort, along with their mentors, Running Strong staff, and esteemed guests, came together to learn, network, and prepare for their grant year. The comprehensive training included media and interview preparation, tools for healing and self-care, and a panel discussion featuring other Native American journalists, documentarians, and storytellers. Each Dreamstarter was equipped with a camera and microphone to document their journey. The evenings were filled with group meals and activities, fostering a sense of camaraderie and shared experiences. The pinnacle of the Dreamstarter Academy was the closing ceremony, where supporters and family gathered to hear from each of the Dreamstarters and to receive some heartfelt words of encouragement from Billy. It was another resounding success at Dreamstarter Academy, setting the stage for an exciting year ahead for our 2024 cohort! Stay tuned for updates.

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