Being a first-generation college student comes with a lot of pride and a sense of accomplishment, but it also comes with a lot of challenges. My parents, who immigrated from Mexico as unaccompanied minors, paved the way for me to succeed but did not know how to support me academically. I did well throughout my early education and through high school, but I did not decide on a path or clearly know of the college path until my high school counselor nominated me for the Earl Woods Scholar Program.
I can honestly say that being an Earl Woods Scholar was life changing. It laid the foundation for my later achievements and allowed me to truly understand the value of mentorship.
As any educator knows, students invariably leave a mark. Whether your orbits pass quickly, or they line up for months or years, your time with a student – the shared learning experiences, the bits of laughter or frustration, the feeling one gets during moments of reflection – is lasting. For some, it might be the slightest bout of recognition (“That’s right, you sat in the back corner of my class!”); for others, for one reason or another, no amount of time can completely wash away a set of memories. Elmu Sadalah was one of those students who left an indelible mark.
EdTech Breakthrough recently recognized TGR EDU: Explore as the Overall College Prep Solution of the Yearin its EdTech Breakthrough Awards. Including the suite of college access and preparation resources highlighted, TGR EDU: Explore is a free digital platform, developed in partnership with Discovery Education, to empower students, educators and families with resources, skills and experiences to help them achieve success in and outside of the classroom.
When I began working at TGR Foundation 16 years ago, I was tasked with developing college-access and readiness programs. At the time, I knew we were setting out to help high schoolers and their families plan for higher education, but I truly didn’t know how deep and expansive our impact would run. Earl Woods, Tiger’s father, passed in May 2006, and following his death came the birth of […]
As I look back on the 15 years since the TGR Learning Lab opened its doors to students and families in Anaheim, California, I am immensely proud of the hard work, growth and student success that has taken place. Thousands of underserved students have walked through our doors into a safe space that has given them opportunities they might not have had otherwise. The Learning Lab has helped students find their passion and pursue it, experience innovation and foster creativity all while being supported by caring adults to mentor and guide them on their journey.
As TGR Foundation celebrates National Volunteer Appreciation Week, the TGR Learning Lab shines a spotlight on TGR Learning Lab volunteer Nancy Rich Villa. Nancy’s experience as a volunteer with virtual STEM classes reconfirmed her decision to pursue a career supporting underserved youth.
A mother and a full-time student, Nancy will be graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology Science from the University of California, Irvine this June. She plans to attend graduate school at Cal State Fullerton to work toward a master’s degree in social work.
Here she shares her experience being a virtual volunteer with the TGR Learning Lab’s instructional staff and community of students during the pandemic.
I was born in a village in China and my only perception of the world used to be my village. It wasn’t until my parents decided to take a leap of faith and fly more than 1,500 miles to the United States so I could pursue the “American Dream” that my perception of the world expanded. Because my parents did not speak English, I had to navigate this foreign place on my own. I have been trying to pave my own path from the moment I landed in the United States, with both successes and failures.
I heard “you need to go to college to get a good job” my entire life. I was always told I needed to attend a school like UCLA or UC Berkeley because it was all my parents heard from other people. Though these school names became very familiar, I had absolutely no idea how to get there. Until my junior year of high school, I had no idea what the SAT, FAFSA, UC applications and even the Common Application was. As the first person in my family to apply for the FAFSA and fill out college applications, I was met with obstacles at every step. However, through a college-access program called College Match, I not only gained the tools and support to pursue higher education, I discovered the Earl Woods Scholar Program in the process.
Today, TGR Foundation, A Tiger Woods Charity, announced a new partnership with Find Your Grind Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Los Angeles-based self-discovery and career exploration platform, Find Your Grind. The multi-year partnership brings together two organizations with a shared mission to help young people discover who they are, identify their strengths and interests and offer multiple pathways to personal and professional success.
After years of reaching young people across the country through education and youth development programs, Tiger Woods challenged his foundation “to make bold choices, explore unchartered territory and reach millions of kids around the world.” Now in its 25th anniversary year, TGR Foundation has met his challenge and celebrates two million students reached.
In 1996, when Tiger and his parents launched TGR Foundation, they set out to do something profoundly simple yet deeply impactful – give kids hope. As we enter into TGR Foundation’s 25th anniversary, at an unprecedented time when hardships feel insurmountable, the ability to give kids from our most vulnerable communities a sense of hope feels all the more urgent and critical.
With 2021 marking a milestone year for the foundation, we look to our founder to share his vision for our next chapter. Tiger’s goal for us, once again, is inherently simple yet visionary – to provide young people with a clear path to personal excellence and professional success. While this next chapter of the foundation’s journey is my first at the helm of the organization, the groundwork has been long established.
“An unprecedented year”
We’ve heard that phrase many times this year, and although it’s a reflective sentiment for the pandemic, it’s also cause to acknowledge diversity, ensure equity and to seek inclusivity – individually and collectively.
TGR Foundation has learned a lot in 2020, and I am proud to share how we advanced our programmatic work in new and still impactful ways.
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.
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.
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.
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.
While the pandemic has challenged fundraising efforts through in-person events, loyal TGR Foundation donors virtually rose to the challenge over the past month to help raise over $1 million in support of youth through the Charity Challenge campaign.