November 27, 2019

Photo: April Bain (right,) kicks off the first Minds Matter LA session.

As we welcome our tenth sophomore class, we also kick off a year of celebration for ten years of Minds Matter of Los Angeles.

On Saturday, October 23, 2010, 13 motivated high school sophomores gathered in USC’s Waite Philips Hall for the first-ever session of Minds Matter LA. These incredibly talented students came determined not to let their circumstances dictate their futures. The volunteers were just as nervous as the students on that first day. Everyone was committed to helping the students bridge the educational opportunity gap and achieve their dream of college success.

Ten years later, our commitment is just as strong. Minds Matter LA champions 65 students across our three-year program, including 23 new sophomores in the Class of 2022. We’ve expanded to serve a larger student base while being conscious of the effectiveness of maintaining a close-knit community.

MMLA proudly claims 31 college graduates, and 3 of our alumni have earned graduate degrees. 75 undergraduate students are working towards their degrees at leading universities and colleges. Some of those graduates, including five members of our first class who earned college degrees in 2017, have returned as volunteers. They include Kortnee Ogbuefi (Howard University and University of Nevada Las Vegas) Junior Team Lead; Helen Vaquero (Denison University) Communications Team; Aslin Paxtor (UCLA) Social & Emotional Learning Facilitator and social media; Chiazam Agu (Pomona College) Social & Emotional Learning Facilitator and social media; and Toshe Ayo-Ariyo (University of Pennsylvania) Student Recruitment.

Nine volunteers who were us at the first session are still with us today. They join more than 180 volunteers who keep MMLA moving forward.

Our year of celebration is just getting started. Join us as we build Minds Matter LA for the next ten years.