I joined Minds Matter just after moving to Los Angeles. I hated driving and didn't know anyone. I just wanted to make some friends, volunteer, and explore the city. I ended up doing so much more than that.
I was paired with Melisa, a 15yr old girl from Echo Park who had boundless energy. Melisa was on the Varsity track team at her magnet high school, interested in biology and science, loved to write poetry, and spent most of her spare time (what little she had between sports and schoolwork) taking care of her four younger siblings in their 1 bed/1bath apartment.
During the 3 years I spent mentoring Melisa, I helped her apply to summer programs at top universities all over the country. Through Minds Matter, Melisa was able to see top Ivy League campuses on both coasts and attend prestigious summer programs. Her second summer, she spent 8 weeks on Harvard University's campus taking Introductory Physics and Psychology. It was a life-changing experience for her to be challenged at that level and to excel.
When it came time for Melisa to apply to colleges, we would spend hours pouring over college websites and her applications over coffee in Echo Park. We would talk about what it was like in college, what she could major in, and what she might do after graduating. It was such an exciting time to be a part of her life, helping her, guiding her, and testing the limits of how much coffee I could drink in one day. I will always treasure that time we spent together and remember it fondly.
After the drama of applications came to a close, we quickly found out where she would be going for the next phase of her life: Harvard University. She was accepted early decision with a FULL SCHOLARSHIP(!!) through the Gates Foundation for both college and graduate school in the future.
Melisa was (and still is) an inspiration to me. I just visited her at Harvard a few weeks ago. We had coffee on campus and talked about her major (Economics) and how awkward dating is. I can't imagine not having her in my life and not having Minds Matter in my life.
I still volunteer every Saturday - not as a mentor, but as the Junior Program Director. I shape the curriculum for the Junior Class of students and mentors - prepping them for the arduous process of college research and applications. It's an amazing opportunity to use all the skills I picked up as a mentor to Melisa to help other students and help their mentors too. Again, I feel so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of their journeys. As fraught with stress as they are, these kids are all incredibly inspiring. The resilience, determination, and overall maturity they show is a constant reminder to me that anything is possible and that every moment you give, has the potential to change another person's life.
MMLA Celebrating Ten Years of Success
Minds Matter LA is celebrating our 10th year of helping low-income students achieve their dream of a college education. We can't do it without your generous support.
As a class of 2019 student said, “Minds Matter has opened doors that would have otherwise been closed. Through coursework and summer programs, I will enter college this fall, knowing I am prepared to take on any challenge. Minds Matter has given me a family: my peers, mentors, and all of the Minds Matter volunteers. Collectively, we are an unstoppable group of people dedicated to tackling the educational barriers that low-income, minority students face. Thank you, Minds Matter, for allowing me to be a part of this incredible family.”
Please give today. Your donation will help dreams come true. It goes twice as far with a matching grant from the All Ways Up Foundation.
Help our students to Aspire, Achieve, and Attain
Minds Matter is a rigorous three-year tutoring and mentoring program preparing students for college success. We provide opportunities to attend academic summer programs where students take college-level classes and experience college life. Dedicated instructors and mentors work with our students to achieve academic success and guide them on choosing the right college and helping to navigate the financial aid and scholarship application process. Getting students into college is just the beginning. We continue to support our graduates through college and into their professional careers.
Our success is in the numbers
100% of our graduates are accepted into a four-year college with scholarships
94% graduate from college within four years
76% of our graduates are at top tier colleges or universities
$1M in financial aid and scholarships earned by the Class of 2019
How Your Gift Helps
As we enter our next decade of success, we ask you to invest in our students' future with a generous donation.
Our vision is to double the number of students we serve within 5 years. You can help make this happen.
$25 covers the monthly cost of a student’s lunch
$50 pays for summer program application fees
$100 pays for SAT preparation textbooks
$250 pays for a student’s summer program stipend
$1,000 pays for airfare and transportation to a summer program
$3,000 pays the cost of a student’s academic summer program
$5,000 pays all the annual program costs for a Minds Matter student
What it Means in a Student's Words
"It is hard to put into simple and concise words the meaning Minds Matter has given to my life, and the impact it has had on my dreams and aspirations. It has taught me the importance of understanding, teamwork, and leadership. Above all, through the affection of my mentors, the patience of my instructors, and support of every member of the Minds Matter family, I have gained hope in a better future; a future founded on the belief of the power of education, the strength of perseverance, and appreciation of diversity. I entered my first session to a room filled with strangers and will leave my last session, knowing that I have a second family in Minds Matter. I love the capability Minds Matter has given me to take opportunities, encourage the heart, and the power to say "no" (something I was never able to do)."
Thank you for your generous support!