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Helping Students Learn to Dream Again

Local author Sandra McLeod Humphrey uses her books to encourage students to dream big.

Sandra McLeod Humphrey dreamed of being a dancer when she was younger. She took ballet but eventually made a career as a psychologist. Humphrey retired after 31 years in the field and started talking to students in schools.

One thing about those talks stuck in her mind, though. While she had dreamed of being a dancer, the kids she spoke to didn’t have dreams of their own.

“I just could not get over how many kids had just given up,” said Humphrey, who lives in Minnetonka near the Hopkins and St. Louis Park border.

That was the catalyst for two of Humphrey’s books—Dare To Dream!: 25 Extraordinary Lives and They Stood Alone!: 25 Men and Women Who Made a Difference.

The latter book—which had its official launch just last week following a November 2011 release—profiles 25 people Humphrey chose because they didn’t conform to societal expectations. She made a point to select a range of occupations, a variety of historical periods and both sexes.

It starts with Christopher Columbus and Leonardo da Vinci and runs through Jackie Robinson and Neil Armstrong—with people like Clara Barton, Marie Curie and Albert Einstein in between.

Meanwhile, Dare to Dream! tells the story of 25 ordinary people whose drive allowed them to accomplish extraordinary feats. It includes contemporary figures, such as Michael Jordan and Bill Cosby, and historical figures, such as Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Edison.

“I want these kids to know that even if they don’t fit in with the cool group, they can do great things,” she said.

Humphrey has written eight books total—all of them since she retired in 1997. While she may not be a dancer, she has no doubt she’s still living her dream.

“I discovered writing was always my dream. I just didn’t know,” Humphrey said.

Sandra McLeod Humphrey October 02, 2012 at 01:58 PM
What a beautiful comment, Patricia, and what I noticed as I was researching my biographees was that, more often than not, they had to overcome great obstacles to attain their goals--they had to persevere and never give up!
Martha Steward October 02, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Sandra's books and her blog encourage readers to remember " don't let others steal your dreams" within her writing Sandra also inspires others to "take a leap of faith" to discover more of who you are.
Sandra McLeod Humphrey October 02, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Thanks, Martha, I hope all our kids will discover their passions and never give up their dreams!
Deirdret October 03, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Sandy's books are so inspirational. I have read "They Stood Alone" and am currently reading "Dare to Dream." There are so many little things in these stories that have amazed me. The accomplishments of the individuals she chose to highlight are astounding in light of the circumstances of their lives. They were all overcomers and I think they are all role models, at least should be, for this younger generation. I am 56 and have learned so many things. I have also learned that you are never to old to fulfill your dreams! These books contain information schools have long since stopped teaching, but that each student should know. I highly recommend them, they are a 5-star read!
Sandra McLeod Humphrey October 04, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Thanks so much, Deirdre, and I agree that you're never too old to fulfill your dreams!

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