Wayne State University Graduate Students Team Up with Local Nonprofit
Led by Dr. Monica Tracey, Professor of Learning Design and Technology, the goal was to create an experience that improves performance with well-documented instructional programming for the R.E.M. (Rest. Educate. Motivate.) Sleep Education Program and A Night To R.E.M.ember, Sweet Dreamzzz's largest annual fundraiser, to keep practices in place for years to come.
This past semester, Tracey's students interviewed Sweet Dreamzzz staff and key stakeholders to determine where improvements were needed in each of the two areas and then mapped out how best this could be accomplished.
"Sweet Dreamzzz was the perfect organization. Their evolution is so interesting,"
In the first project, one design team created a step-by-step procedure manual from the point of receiving a grant or corporate sponsorship through program delivery for the R.E.M. program. It covers all aspects, including visiting the school, ordering supplies, recruiting volunteers, packing the sleep kits and executing program day, according to National Program Manager, Diane Seitz.
Another team designed a process for the annual fundraiser, which Tracey stated is "a well-oiled machine but lacked historic and detailed documentation for easy reference."
"There's a lot of institutional knowledge with the Sweet Dreamzzz staff, but it's all in their brains," she said.
So, her students mapped out a program for the run of the evening and to train those involved.
"It is my mission to only spend time and energy with nonprofits. We have a social justice platform in the College of Education. We are urban educators and we really support that mission [nonprofits who serve the Detroit area]," said Tracey.
Tracey, who received her Ph.D. in Instructional Technology in 2001 from Wayne State University, has worked with Sweet Dreamzzz for almost 20 years. She is currently the Chair of the College of Education Assembly and a board member of the Non-Profit Designers for Learning. Tracey was also instrumental in designing the nonprofit's Early Childhood Sleep Education Program in 2007. She will continue to enhance this project in the fall with her next class.
"The contribution from Dr. Tracey's class was invaluable to Sweet Dreamzzz. We are in a period of growth and it is difficult to put resources towards documenting detailed processes and creating solid instruction tools. The deliverables we received from the Wayne State students far exceeded our expectations,"
Founded in 1998, Sweet Dreamzzz, Inc., is a regional nonprofit organization committed to improving children's health, well-being, and academic performance by providing sleep education and bedtime essentials to economically disadvantaged students and their families. Based in Metro Detroit, the organization educates children and families about the benefits of healthy sleep and establishing a bedtime routine using innovative programs including its Early Childhood Sleep Education Program™, Parent Sleep Education Workshop™, and R.E.M. (Rest. Educate. Motivate.) Sleep Program™. Since its founding, Sweet Dreamzzz has served more than 60,000 at-risk children and families. For more information, please visit www.SweetDreamzzz.org.
Nancy Maxwell, Executive Director
Sweet Dreamzzz, Inc.