Published in the Palm Beach Post (Florida) weekly newspaper on Wednesday, December 22, 2004
In Beverley Berlin Mas’ vocabulary, words such as “can’t” and “won’t” don’t exist.
Phrases such as “If I had only…” and “I wish I had…” are replaced by “I’m glad I did…” or “I can’t wait to….”
Mas is an academic adviser at Palm Beach Community College’s Eissey Campus in Palm Beach Gardens. Her specialty is positive reinforcement.
During the past semester, she put her knowledge and experience to work by starting a support program for nontraditional (ages 25 and older) students at PBCC — the ‘Dream It, Do It’ club.
Her group, which has 143 members after just two meetings, borrows its name from the book Dream It, Do It: Inspiring Stories of Dreams Come True by Sharon Cook and Graciela Sholander. [Membership has grown to nearly 700 as of January, 2007.]
The book, which is available through bookstores, features tales of struggle to success from famous people such as Barbara Walters, Tiger Woods, Maya Angelou, and President Jimmy and First Lady Roslyn Carter.
It also features tales from not-so-famous people — including Mas.
“I had a lot of tragedy in my life and I had to find a way to heal,” she said. “My husband and I decided to move to Florida from L.A., from the murder of my mother and three suicides in my family that year.”
They came to Florida and, at 59, Mas enrolled at PBCC.
“I thought, I’ll take a class and put my mind on something else. I got an A and took a couple more classes and got more A’s.”
She graduated from PBCC, with presidential honors and as valedictorian, in 1999. She was accepted into the University of Miami’s psychology program, but instead chose to go to Florida Atlantic University’s Honors College in Jupiter. She graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts in psychology in 2002.
Mas has been working at PBCC ever since.
|Dream It Do It Club® Members Excel|
|A study conducted by Dean Scott MacLachlan at Palm Beach Community College’s Eissey Campus found that members of Beverley’s Dream It Do It Club® excelled compared to the full student body.|
|Measure||Dream It Do It Club® Members||All students at Eissey Campus|
|Graduated or Still Enrolled||87.59%||24.04%|
|Cumulative Grade Point Average C or Better||100%||70.55%|
“I love it. I make a difference. I’m in a position where I can make a positive difference in lives,” she said. “I thought I could start a club for nontraditional students and use this book to inspire them.
“It’s almost as if I was placed here. It’s my calling.”
With the ’Dream It, Do It’ club, she’s making a bigger impact quicker. Members of the club range from ages 25 to 83 and the college has bought a book for each. Most are women, but some (six) are men.
“They are all going through the same things, even if they are headed in different directions,” she said. “We have great diversity and that’s the way we like it.
“There are so many differing viewpoints. It’s a great, uplifting experience to get together.”
Her message is spreading quickly, too. The three other PBCC campuses (Lake Worth, Boca Raton and Belle Glade) are planning to start their own chapters in January. Florida Atlantic University is planning a chapter, too.
It’s preferred, but not necessary, that members are students.
To set up a local
Get details by calling publisher Daniel Lauber toll–free at 888/366–5200, weekdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central Time or send him an email.
“One of the great values of a community college is the mix in ages, nationalities and the ideas that come into that mix,” Mas said. “We see all colors and nationalities here. There’s no way to be bored.”
Call Mas at 561/207-5338 or e-mail her at email@example.com. If there’s negativity in your life, she’s got a great way to deal with it. “You don’t have to pull the weeds out if you plant more flowers,” Mas said.
Joe Bonikowski is a staff writer for Neighborhood Post. Reach him at 561/820-3031. Send faxes to 561/820-3021.
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