Dream Keepers

Dream Keepers

Through Dream Keepers, Author and Coach Rochelle Melander teaches young people how to use writing to make sense of their lives and capture their dreams.

Teachers: Learn the Dream Keepers Process

  • Frustrated with trying to reach students who show no interest in writing?
  • Wondering how to engage low-performing students?
  • Need a resource to support struggling students during free writing time?

I can help.

I’ve been teaching writing to young people since 2001, and have developed tools and exercises designed to engage distracted, low-performing students.

The Dream Keepers Creative Writing Workshop unites parents, teachers, and professional writers-in-residence to teach youth how they can transform their lives and their communities through writing. Dream Keepers opens up quiet, safe spaces for young people to read and write and provides them with an online venue for sharing their work. The Dream Keepers have had great success—they have been featured twice on WUWM’s Lake Effect and were winners in Schwartz bookstore’s 2008 six-word memoir contest.

A Note from Dream Keepers’ Founder, Rochelle Melander
I started Dream Keepers in 2006 with a small group of teen girls from Milwaukee’s inner city. We named ourselves “Dream Keepers,” after a poem by Langston Hughes. Hughes believed that writers were the dream keepers of the community. We are! As someone who makes a living as a writer and coach—a dream keeper—I want to support young people in becoming dream keepers. I have no doubt that this work transforms lives right now. And I know that 
Dream Keepers will grow. It has to—Milwaukee’s 8th-grade African American students score the lowest in the nation in writing. That’s crazy—and wrong. Dream Keepers can change that. Then we can work on my other dreams for the program—becoming a national program to transform the lives of young people through writing.

Why do teens need to write?

  • Writing makes you smarter. Studies show that young people who practice any type of writing will write better than those who do not. In addition, people who write down their deepest thoughts, feelings, and dreams are healthier, happier, and have better success achieving their goals.
  • Writing improves your reading scores. In a recent study, young people who had failed reading comprehension participated in a twelve-week writing workshop, completing their own books. Reading comprehension scores improved dramatically.
  • Writing gets you the job. In a recent study from the National Commission on Writing, “people who cannot write and communicate clearly will not be hired.” At least half of the companies surveyed stated that they took writing into consideration for hiring and promotion. And get this: More than eighty percent of “the companies in the services and the finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE) sectors, the corporations with the greatest employment growth potential, assess writing during hiring.”

Join us! Who knows what you’ll achieve?
Young people from 5th-12th grade are welcome to participate in our Milwaukee classes. The program is free and open to the public. Classes are held during the school year at two branches of the Milwaukee Public Library. We’re at Mitchell Street Library (903 West Historic Mitchell Street) on the first and third Mondays of each month (4:30-6:00 PM) and at Capitol Drive Library (3969 N 74th Street) on the 2nd and fourth Mondays of each month(4-5:30 PM). Please check our blog for updates.


Invite Rochelle to bring the Dream Keeper’s experience to your school or library!