“Our system is not set up for us to succeed,” philanthropist and entertainment attorney Virgil Roberts emphasized at the Open house for the non-profit learning center, “Educating Young Minds(EYM)” on Saturday, March 17th.
EYM is devoted to helping inner-city, at-risk elementary, middle school, and high school students succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. Founder, Angeles LaRose Patricia Echols discovered her love for helping young people while attending Cornell University. After college, she worked as a tutor and instructor for schools such as Harvard’s Upward Bound Program, Chaffey college in Rancho Cucamonga, and Trinity Lutheran School in Los Angeles, which is where she found inspiration to create Educating Young Minds. Echols noticed the demand for education and counseling with the youth within her community, especially with people of color, and used her apartment as an educational facility. Echols spent most of her childhood growing up in the projects and has attended Los Angeles and surrounding schools such as Hamilton Middle School and Hamilton High School. There are students who have graduated from EYM, attend and graduate college, and returned to become staff, which is Echols’ truest testament. EYM has provided teaching, tutoring, and mentoring services for more than 3,850 students for over 32 years.
EYM has a wide range of programs including the Ray Charles/EYM after school learning enrichment program, college-ready/scholarship, college access and life-skills initiative (CALI), EYM’s STEM/STEAM 6-week summer program, EYM’s Noad’s early learners program, Access/No Excuse (ANE) and TEC Leimert. There is also counseling, information on financial aid, and college scholarships. Parents are also assisted in finding placement for their child in public magnet schools and charter schools. The learning facility encourages a positive academic relationship with parents, teachers, and staff for the academic and emotional success of each student. Students are encouraged to work hard and are provided with one-on-one tutoring and counseling services so that students will see the benefits of taking responsibility of their academic future.
On Saturday, March 17th, EYM hosted an open house for their new home. For 25 years, the non-profit has served inner-city youth in the Wilshire district, and after 10 years of wanting to relocate and serve the community in the Crenshaw district, their prayers have been answered. Located at the Sojourner Truth House in mid-city, the fully decorated facility has classrooms for each grade level as well as a kitchen, outdoor patio, and lounge areas.
The day of the open house might have been cold, but the EYM students who served as tour guides of the facility made sure to keep a smile on their faces as they proudly showed off their new learning facility. Each student and staff member took groups of attendees in and around EYM’s new home and answering questions. After guests were finished with their tour, they were directed outside where they could enjoy authentic Ethiopian and American dishes as well as live entertainment including a dj, poet, and singer with a live band. Guests turned empty spaces outside into a dance floor as the dj played music. Both inside and outside were filled with inquiring parents, hopeful future students, current students, EYM alumni, staff, and supporters. Angeles Echols was all smiles as staff, family, guest speakers, and alumni graced the stage to speak on behalf of EYM. She tried to hold back tears as she accepted a generous donation from a relative who came to surprise her from out of state and was very emotional as she held up a picture of a student who passed away while speaking on his memory. The entire event was filled with lots of smiles, tears, and laughter.