GROWING UP IN COMPTON, California, I lacked access to positive relatable role models. The youngest of eight children, I was the first in my family to attend a four-year college. But the path to getting into college and obtaining a degree felt so overwhelming. I had no family members that could help. As much as my parents and older siblings loved me, they did not know how to help navigate the college world. But I persisted. Eventually, after six years of going to college part-time and working full time to pay for it, I earned my degree in mathematics from California State University, Fullerton. I am now a few classes away from completing a master’s degree in statistics from Colorado State University.
DUE TO MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, I strongly believe in the work of PLUS ME, an organization that strives to motivate and inspire students through the sharing of personal narratives by adults who have overcome great obstacles. PLUS ME provides hope and realistic success stories to thousands of students each year in underserved schools in our community for little to no cost. PLUS ME is bringing uplifting presentations to the students who need it most.
PLUS ME LAUNCHED a new five-week program to assist high school juniors and seniors with developing their own personal statements for college applications. Additionally, PLUS ME creates permanent connections with students through social media. Students get a daily motivational quote on Instagram, and can ask questions through Facebook and Twitter. The goal is to provide students with continual motivation and support until they finish college or a vocational program.
I JOINED THE PLUS ME PROJECT as a volunteer board of directors member in August of 2014. After serving on the board for 10 months, I was elected as the board's vice president in June of 2015 by my colleagues. My new role allows me to raise funds for the organization, spread awareness of PLUS ME's mission, and assist in the expansion of this promising non-profit. Last year, PLUS ME visited 50 schools throughout Southern California and impacted over 9,500 students. I look forward to providing guidance in achieving the goal of visiting 60 schools and making a difference in the lives of at least 12,000 students this fiscal year.
PLUS ME Board of Directors Vice President
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Meet Chezorae Savattere. He is a 13 year old, 8th grade student at Macy Intermediate in Montebello, CA. The oldest of four siblings, Chezorae aspires to be the first in his family to go to college and hopes his siblings (Alinna, Sela, and Giovanni) follow right behind him.
“I want to be successful and become somebody in life. I want to be a physical therapist when I am older and help athletes recover from their injuries. I know that in order to get there, I must do well in school so that I can get accepted to a good college and earn my degree."
By supporting the PLUS ME project, you are providing hope and motivation to Chezorae and thousands just like him! Click here to make your tax-deductible donation today!
Yesterday at Van Nuys High School, I conducted a session of Leaders PLUS ME with a group of 11th graders. We focused our work on Knowing Yourself and Self Confidence. Towards the end of the session, I asked the students to take three minutes to write down a list of their accomplishments.
Before you continue reading, I challenge you to this activity. Pause for 30 seconds and list some of your accomplishments (in your head).
Focusing back on the classroom, there were 28 students in attendance. At the end of the three minutes, 8 of the students had at least one thing written down and the other 20 had nothing.
When I called "TIME!", one girl mumbled out to her friend next to her, "I have not accomplished anything in my life." Over 70% of the class felt the same way.
Does this surprise you?
Unfortunately, a large majority of the students I interact with on a weekly basis feel this way. Most students do not feel like they have achieved much in their lives. When I ask them to share with me what accomplishments are, I often get the same responses:
After hearing this, I focused on encouraging students to break the paradigm in their minds of what they think an accomplishment is. Instead of talking about things they had accomplished, we talked about things they have done. Here is what some of them said:
Once students began sharing these types of things, more students shared everyday things they have done. As more and more shared, the lightbulbs went off. Students began to write these things down on their paper and smiled realizing they have accomplished things in their lives.
At the end of our session, I had the students share what their biggest learning from the session was. One girl raised her hand and said, "I learned that accomplishments are what you want them to be!"
I hope in your current journey, you can use this learning and apply it to your life. Be proud of what you've accomplished, no matter how small it may be.
Contact Richard Reyes - Founder/Executive Director - firstname.lastname@example.org