When she walked through the doors of the TGR Learning Lab (TGRLL) as a fifth grader, Amelie Jimenez knew she had found the perfect space to explore all her interests. Now a 17-year-old junior at Los Angeles Unified School District’s Bell High School in Bell, Ca, Amelie can’t imagine her educational journey without the support of the staff, teachers and classes that have shaped and guided her education journey. With plans of studying engineering one day, Amelie reflects on her favorite in-person and virtual classes, the lessons she’s learned from COVID-19 and why every student should participate in TGR Learning Lab programs.
From a very young age I knew that I wanted to go to law school and become a lawyer. My father planted the seed in my mind of me becoming a lawyer at the prime age of nine years old. Throughout my childhood I was always eager to tell any and everybody that would listen that I was going to grow up and be a lawyer. I remember watching lawyers on television and envisioning my future life through the lens of those television characters. I became engrossed with law-related entertainment whether it was a television show, movie, documentary or book. What nine-year-old do you know who is obsessed with Law & Order? I was that nine-year-old.
Tuesday, December 1 marks a global day of generosity that unites people around the world to support the causes they care about most and help non-profit organizations fund their future.
TGR Foundation joins the celebration as it approaches its 25th year anniversary, a new TGR Learning Lab at the Carol Kimmelman Academic and Athletic Campus in Los Angeles and expansion of its programs to reach millions of youth around the world. The foundation helps students explore pathways to career success through its signature STEM curricula, college preparation programs and educator development workshops.
Coming from a first-generation Mexican-American household, college was a pathway to upward social mobility and the American Dream. Even though it was highly encouraged, I never really knew how the college process worked. The only thing I knew was that I had to study hard, get involved and never give up – three core principles I truly believe have allowed me to be where I am today.
I would be lying if I said my path to college was easy. It was challenging. As I connected with my friends, Gabriella Henry and Gustavo Aguilar from Katella High School, who also attend UC Berkeley, we noticed that there was a common trend in our community – a lack of resources and college assistance – and we felt that it needed to be addressed. We knew that we wanted to give back to our community and help students navigate the college process.
Since earning a Bachelor of Arts in economics, Earl Woods Scholar alumnus Anthony “Tony” Armas is climbing the ladder of his career in financial services. Currently a Senior Specialist at Public Agency Retirement Services, he uses his experiences as a scholar and professional to pay it forward. In the spirit of Giving Tuesday TGR Foundation shines a spotlight on Tony, an unrelenting champion who is supporting other students on their pathways forward and building a circle of impact.
Every year we welcome a new cohort of Earl Woods Scholars into our fold – a group of dynamic, civic-minded and high-achieving students representing the best and brightest from their communities. This year was no different. While COVID-19 prevented the Class of 2024 scholars from coming together for our annual pre-college retreat, hosted at our flagship TGR Learning Lab in Anaheim, Ca., they’ve had ample opportunities to connect virtually with one another and our dedicated college-access team.
As we welcome our new cohort of 21 Earl Woods Scholars, we hear from them, in their own words, who they are and what motivates them.
Highlighting the contributions to the TGR Learning Lab’s Player Development Program for more than 12 years, TGR Foundation recognizes the ongoing contributions and partnership of the LA84 Foundation.
Led by Renata Simril, President and CEO, the LA84 Foundation and its sister charity The Play Equity Fund has impacted more than three million youth and their families over the last 30 years and continues to create opportunities, build positive youth development and transform lives through sports. With increased focus on the challenges of COVID-19 and the pursuit of social justice, the LA84 Foundation and the Play Equity Fund expanded its goals in 2020.
In the fall of 2018, I met TGRF’s professional development leads, David Tong and Jason Porter, who were hosting their session, “Crossing the T in STEM Classrooms,” at the Next Steps Institute in Colorado Springs. Their activities provided a sample of the foundation’s hallmark teacher training workshop, STEM Studio, and I was thrilled to learn that they would be offering the full five-day STEM Studio in Santa Fe, NM in the summer of 2019. As a digital learning coach with Santa Fe Public Schools, I looked for ways to integrate inquiry and technology into our science and math classrooms and STEM Studio helped me do that and more.
I am currently a senior at Dartmouth College, majoring in Sociology and minoring in Markets, Economics and Management. I hope to merge both my passions for business and social impact over the course of my career. I have been part of many different organizations that give back to the community, including TGR Foundation’s Earl Woods Scholar Program.
In 2016, I co-founded Empowering Generations of Leaders (E.G.O.L), a collective that works on developing young leaders in the community and encourages them to lend their voice in the worlds of art, politics and civic engagement to change their neighborhoods for the better. More recently, I also co-founded my clothing company R.House. With my company, I have been able to provide a platform and a distribution channel for young creatives of color.
The Earl Woods Scholar Program recently launched a digital platform to engage scholars and expand opportunities among its members. Open to current scholars, alumni and select TGR Foundation staff, the platform will provide a central online hub for students to connect, engage in meaningful dialogue on topics of interest and explore opportunities to gain experience and enhance their skillset.
What can one person do to change the world? That is a tough question. Many people ask themselves this question. I would venture to guess that most answer it with pessimism. How could the actions of one person actually change the world? Unless you are Bill Gates or Elon Musk or someone with unlimited means and influence, you probably feel that your efforts would be a drop in the ocean.
I started to think about what I could do. I thought if I can help one person, that person can possibly help other people and those people will carry the wave further out in concentric circles.
With this in mind, I volunteered with TGR Foundation to be a mentor.
As the nation transitioned to social distancing and remote living in response to COVID-19, student learning was an important concern. Using more than 20 years of experience, TGR Foundation responded quickly and continued serving our community of students, educators and families.
As we reflect on our virtual spring and summer programs over the last five months, and head into a new academic year, we’re proud of what we have achieved and motivated to continue our efforts to empower youth through education.
Today, TGR Foundation announced the appointment of Gordon McNeill as the foundation’s new President and CEO. McNeill, a seasoned nonprofit leader with experience in education, corporate strategy, capital raising and event management will lead the foundation as it continues its mission to empower students to pursue their passions through education.
McNeill succeeds Rick Singer, who announced his retirement after serving as the foundation’s President and CEO since 2014. Singer will assist in the leadership transition as a consultant to the foundation.
When she’s not working toward her dream college and career Tanis Priddle, a rising senior at Eugene Ashley High School and the North Carolina School, can be found performing at an athletic event or varsity cheerleading competition for Eugene Ashley High School, practicing one of the many string instruments she plays or leaving Wilmington, North Carolina for a spontaneous travel adventure.
After learning about TGR Foundation’s virtual College Bound Academy, Tanis took advantage of the opportunity. She recently reflected on her experience and how it’s shaping her path to college and career success.
This year since the transition to remote learning, I’ve consistently read and heard about the failure of remote learning and how students will continue to fall further and further behind because teaching can’t happen without a classroom.
We are at an inflection point, one that challenges teachers, and everyone in education, to not succumb to the way things used to be, but instead, give voice and energy to what can be for each and every classroom around the country. Now is the time to create new spaces for learning – without fear of failure.
We encouraged our TGR Learning Lab educators to experiment during their summer virtual classes, and they learned seven practices that proved to be effective in remote learning environments.
A longtime TGR Learning Lab (TGRLL) student, 15-year old Nathan Zet is a familiar face at our flagship facility in Anaheim, Ca. Despite the recent shift from in-person classes to virtual learning due to COVID-19, Nathan has remained an equally dedicated student. A sophomore at John F. Kennedy High School in La Palma, Nathan is the only student who participated in every TGRLL virtual summer class offered including Space Science, Photography: Visual Storytelling, Healthy Habits at Home and What’s “App”ening in Computer Science, in addition to taking virtual golf lessons. In an interview with TGR Foundation, Nathan reflects on his favorite classes, hobbies and his dream job.
With the release of our 2019 Annual Report, we look back on a year highlighted by a historic milestone as we reached a cumulative one million students impacted through TGR EDU: Explore, alone. In addition, we continued to fulfill our mission and expand impact among students, educators and families globally.
I have been volunteering at the TGR Learning Lab since May 2016. Over the course of these four years, I have been able to meet wonderful people, as well as learn some new skills that I hope to use in my future career. I got involved in volunteering at the TGR Learning Lab through College 2 Career, a program at North Orange Continuing Education that helps students with disabilities get an education and find volunteering or employment opportunities. I have always known I wanted to work with youth. Thus, my job developer discovered the TGR Learning Lab and helped me apply. Once I began volunteering at the TGR Learning Lab, I kept returning because people there have accepted me for who I am, regardless of my disability. I have Cerebral Palsy, but that does not stop me from doing anything I want to achieve.
One of my favorite things about this time of year is Commencement. I love the pageantry, the music, the colors, seeing proud families cheering on their graduate and yes, I do cry at Pomp and Circumstance – every time. Commencement signals a rite of passage, and comes with a lot of hard work, sacrifice, sleepless nights and hope. For some this road of accomplishment represents a different kind of sacrifice, unique to those who will be the first in their family to graduate.
The Class of 2020 has achieved its success in the shadow of a world health crisis and the unsettling circumstances surrounding racial inequities. In the face of darkness, learning and education will always be a bright light.
Education has the power to be one of the greatest equalizers in our society. But the heartbreaking events of the past several weeks and the countless tragedies throughout history remind us that systemic racism is deeply rooted in all of our institutions, notwithstanding our education system.
As we close our offices today in observance of Juneteenth, the leadership at TGR Foundation is recommitting itself to not only do better but to do more in support of our Black and Brown students, colleagues and communities.