Brandon is a dedicated, optimistic and creative senior who is excited about his future.
Q: What does college mean to you?
Brandon: College is the place where you find and mold yourself as an individual. This is the place where you can seek knowledge and make vast key connections. College is the place where you transition from childhood to adulthood.
Q: What is the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome?
Brandon: My greatest obstacle occurred at the age of 1, where my mother was impacted by 9/11. Growing up with a disabled mother has been difficult to overcome; I was forced to balance taking care of my mother, participating in sports, and excelling in school. At times I had to work to put the little food we had on the table. I still managed to do well in school, sports and more importantly keeping my mom healthy.
Q: What is the most interesting thing about you?
Brandon: Most of the kids who go through tough situations like I have use it as an excuse to walk towards the wrong path. My situation actually gives me purpose to be successful, in order to help my mother in the best way and give aid to families that go through similar situations. I use my background as an excuse to make a difference.
Q: What has been your favorite Minds Matter moment?
Brandon: My favorite Minds Matter moment would have to be the ALDA summer program. To be a part of the beautiful NYU campus, making connections, and getting closer with the staff and students was an awesome experience. The summer program molded my goals into perspective and I realized what I wanted to do with my life.
Support students like Brandon. Donate today!
Are you an ELA or Math teacher looking for teaching opportunities this summer? We want to hear from you!
Each summer, Minds Matter hosts the Academic & Leadership Development Academy (ALDA), a three-week summer-intensive program focused on math, reading and writing. Students in the program will also participate in professional and leadership development workshops led by industry executives.
Minds Matter seeks enthusiastic, credentialed ELA and Math teachers to teach our high-achieving and motivated students during this three-week program!
- Implement Math or ELA curriculum designed by expert teachers
- Instruct small groups of students of varying academic levels in above curriculum
- Use assessment tools to identify student needs
- Ensure students are receiving sufficient support to master the curriculum
- Participate in daily check-ins with ALDA teachers
- Participate in weekly check-ins with Minds Matter staff during ALDA
- Partner with Minds Matter staff to evaluate course material and structure
- ALDA Teacher Orientation: Wednesday, June 15, 5:30 – 7:30pm
- Program Dates: Monday, July 11 – Friday, July 29
- Instructional Times:
- Math Teachers: Monday – Friday, 9:00 – 11:00am
- ELA Teachers: Monday – Friday, 11:00am – 3:30pm (including a 90-min lunch period)
- Bachelor’s degree in Education (Master’s degree preferred)
- NYS certification (or equivalent) in Algebra or Geometry (for Math teachers) or in high school ELA (for ELA teachers)
- Experience in SAT Test Prep a plus (for Math teachers)
- Minimum three years teaching experience in an urban setting
- Strong curriculum development experience focused on short-term gains
- Excelled track record of establishing strong rapport with students
- Ability to use coaching, discussion-oriented instruction and didactic models
- ESL and bilingual teachers preferred
- Passionate believe in Minds Matter’s mission and high standard of excellence
- Experience working in a highly collaborative environment
- Math Teachers: $2,000 (includes planning, instruction and evaluation)
- ELA Teachers: $3,000 (includes planning, instruction and evaluation)
Applications will be reviewed and processed in the order received. The application deadline is Monday, May 2. Applicants should email resume and letter of interest in MS Word or PDF format to Julia Loonin at Julia.Loonin@mindsmatter.org. The subject line of the email should include your full name and “ALDA [Math or ELA] Application.” Please call (212) 626-6590 with any questions.
Deborah is a determined senior who will explore her passions at Columbia University this fall.
Q: What do you like best about Minds Matter?
Deborah: The best part about Minds Matter has to be the support system I’ve had this entire time. My team is just amazing. My team leader is one of my biggest supporters and I love him for that. My mentors have done an amazing job at keeping me grounded and sane just when I thought that I would go crazy with school, extracurricular activities, etc. And the rest of the mentees have been there through it all with me so we’ve done a lot of growing up together. We’re a little Minds Matter family and it is going to hurt very much when we have to say our goodbyes.
Q: What would you tell a freshman who is interested in applying for Minds Matter?
Deborah: You have to be mentally ready. If you’re applying to Minds Matter, it’s probably because you’re already a great student, so understand that it has to stay that way for the next three years and beyond. Know that they’re going to have high expectations of you, but only because there is a mutual/unspoken understanding that you have high expectations for yourself. You should also keep in mind that this program is one of the best things that could happen to you. You’ll have an amazing support system, you will go to college (that’s a fact), you’ll participate in incredible summer programs, and you’ll meet some unforgettable people along the way. If you think life is hard now, know that it’ll only get harder from here on out, but it will also get better. And you better believe Minds Matter will make sure of it.
Q: How has Minds Matter helped to prepare you for college?
Deborah: For the past three years, I’ve learned countless lessons from Minds Matter. However, if I had to choose one thing, it would be how amazing college is going to be. We are surrounded by people who are more than willing to help us and give us advice. From what to bring to your dorm freshman year to what classes will be helpful and necessary in the real world. We had the chance to see what college could be like through our summer programs, and we’ve also had staff members teach us college classes to show us just how difficult it can get. The program has been an incredible resource in terms of preparing us for college.
Q: Where will you be attending college next year and why did you choose that school?
Deborah: Next fall I’ll be attending Columbia University. I chose the school because I genuinely think that it is the right fit for me. I’ve always said that college isn’t just about getting an education; it’s also about expanding my horizons and challenging myself. And I can say with confidence that at Columbia I’ll be able to push myself in new ways and go beyond my comfort zone.
Support students like Deborah. Donate today!
Thursday, May 19, 2016 – Soirée
Minds Matter Soiree is back! As always, tickets are in high demand so be sure to get yours as soon as they go on sale in March!
Saturday, March 12, 2016 – Happy Hour
All-programs happy hour at Amity Hall (Downtown). Starting at 2:30pm, join all Minds Matter volunteers for our third happy hour of 2016. Bring a friend who wants to learn more about the program.
Sunday, March 20, 2016 – NYC Half Marathon
Proud to announce the Minds Matter, all-star runners for the 2016 NYC Half (below). Go out and support your fellow volunteers!
Tanya Kuoni – visit page
Joy Chen – visit page
Andrew Gulla – visit page
Amit Bhandari – visit page
Sushil Raja – visit page
Wednesday, March 23, 2016 – Leadership Recruitment
Interested in taking a leadership role in Minds Matter? Join us from 7:00–8:30pm to learn what opportunities are available and how you can get more involved. Email Julia at Julia.firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or simply SIGN-UP HERE.
Saturday, April 9, 2016 – Happy Hour
All-programs happy hour at Amity Hall (Downtown). Starting at 2:30pm, join all Minds Matter volunteers for our fourth (and final) happy hour of 2016. Bring a friend who wants to learn more about the program.
Saturday, May 14, 2016 – Picnic
All-programs picnic at Central Park (exact time and location TBD). All Minds Matter volunteers and students are invited.
Have ideas for other fun Minds Matter events? Email email@example.com with your suggestions!
Are you thinking of stepping up your Minds Matter game? We’re recruiting rockstar volunteers to serve on our 2016-2017 Executive Committee (EC) and to be Team Leaders (TLs). More information about open positions can be found online.
Here are a few more reasons to take on a leadership position within Minds Matter:
- Meet more volunteers. The EC meets just once a month, but in that monthly meeting you get an opportunity to work with other amazing volunteers across programs and sites – people who you might not get a chance to meet on a normal Saturday.
- Work with more students. Know how great your mentee is? Most of the leadership positions give you a chance to get to know and work with even more mentees. It’s exponentially more rewarding.
- Gain leadership experience. Want an invaluable opportunity to grow personally and professionally? Want to prove how great you are at managing a team of volunteers? Joining EC or becoming a TL is a great way to hone your leadership skills. Plus it’ll look great when you’re asking for a raise at work, or when you’re applying to graduate school.
- Shape Minds Matter. Do you have great ideas for how to make Minds Matter even better than it already is? The EC works together, with Staff and the Board, to make decisions about the future of Minds Matter. By joining EC, you can shape curricula, contribute to long-term strategic planning decisions, and more.
On the fence? Want to learn more? Totally convinced? Come to our Leadership Recruitment Information Session on March 23. RSVP online right now! Or email Julia Loonin, Director of Programs, at Julia.firstname.lastname@example.org if you have additional questions.
Name: Jon Smith
Profession: Assistant District Attorney (think Law and Order)
Years in Minds Matter: 1
Position in Minds Matter: Sophomore mentor
Why did you join Minds Matter? I wanted to make a positive impact in the lives of young people in New York City.
What’s your favorite part of Minds Matter? I like being able to watch my mentee develop not only in academics, but also in confidence and character.
Best Minds Matter memory? I’m a really competitive person, so my favorite memory so far was watching our team compete and win the playing card organization game. They talked it through, made a plan, and came out on top!
What his nominators said about him:
“Jon is a phenomenal mentor. CASE CLOSED.” – Jacob D.
“Jon is passionate, both in the courtroom and out. When he is not bringing down the hammer that is justice, he is delivering insight and knowledge to the Minds Matter community. His enthusiasm and dedication to his mentee is commendable. In a way, Jon is not only a mentor to the students, but a role model to us all.” – Tom B.
“Jon is the reason that I got involved with Minds Matter. This program is something that has quickly become so important to Jon and has truly been inspiring to witness. Jon leaves every Saturday session bragging about his mentee, so genuinely proud to see the development and accomplishments that his mentee has achieved through their relationship and Minds Matter.” – Leigh Ann P.
What his mentee says about him: “John is such a great person, I never thought that I would have this kind of close relationship with my mentor. He took from his time to ask if I needed any help and to check up on me during the week.” – Mena B.
And upon hearing that Jon was selected for our feature this month, Mena added, “I am so excited that you have been chosen. You really deserve this.”
Fun fact: Being from Seattle, I hold the world record for knowing the most Seattle fun facts.
Do you work alongside a fabulous volunteer? Submit a nomination today!