February 09, 2016

Tiger’s Learning Center turns 10

This is just the beginning. I meant those words when I said them 10 years ago at the opening of the learning center in Anaheim, California. Since then, we’ve reached 150,000 kids locally and expanded our unique educational approach to Washington, D.C., Massachusetts, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania. 

It’s been incredible to watch some of those first learning center students grow up and discover their own success. I remember touring the facility with my dad. I was so proud to show him how our family motto of “caring and sharing” had evolved to a 14-acre facility in Anaheim that would be a real resource for the community. I’m so grateful for how much the region has embraced us. We knew from the beginning we’d need the help and support of local school districts, community leaders and businesses for the learning center to thrive, and those relationships are just as critical today as they were 10 years ago. We are all invested in creating a safe space for kids to dream and to turn those dreams into action. It’s just what my parents taught me as a kid, and I’m honored to be part of an incredible group of people paying that idea forward for thousands of kids in Orange County. 

Although the Learning Center is celebrating its 10th year — and the Tiger Woods Foundation is celebrating its 20th — “this is just the beginning” is still true for us. We aren’t close to achieving our full potential yet. Throughout this year, we’re expanding our work to provide teachers with STEM-based professional development, expanding the college scholarship program and launching a digital platform that will bring our groundbreaking educational approach to millions of kids. There is so much exciting work ahead, and I’m grateful to all of you who have been a part of it.

With thanks,
Tiger Woods 

You’ve heard from Tiger; now check out what others have to say. 

“There is no doubt that the foundation has been the most positive impact in my life. The TWLC’s caring and overall positive environment molded my mind and persona. By the beginning of my freshman year in high school, I had developed a strong sense of self and a much more outgoing personality. The TWLC allowed me to perform at a much higher level. The staff have guided my transformation into the optimistic individual that I am today: one of Savanna High School’s highest achieving students, the president of my student body and a proud scholar of the Tiger Woods Foundation.”
-Edgar Perez, TWLC Anaheim member

Tiger Woods and two students in a robotics classroom exercise.

“The learning center has changed me in so many ways. My negative attitude turned positive. The instructors saw potential in me; they knew that I was capable of getting all As. They have challenged me to make a difference not only in my life, but in other peoples’ lives as well. Not only have I become a good student, I’ve become a well-rounded person. I am no longer confused about myself or where I am going. I’m self-motivated; I know that I am a shining star and that I will be successful in my future.” 
-Dimple, TWLC Anaheim member

Two students dissecting a squid during class.

“What we are trying to do is help young people understand and make the connection between what they do in school every day and their future. It’s not textbook learning. You’re actually taking concepts and doing very complex work with it — learning how to design and launch rockets, how to read DNA strands, how to become a forensic scientist or how to dissect marine life. Now we have learning centers all over the country, and we feel a commitment to take what we know works and spread that good work around the country.”
-Dr. Katherine Bihr, VP of Education & Programs

Students build a pinball machine in engineering class.

“My experience at the learning center has been beyond phenomenal. I was able to master the craft of video editing using Adobe software and guidance from the most dedicated TWLC staff. These extracurricular activities kept me out of trouble. The center also provided a warm and welcoming environment that encourages learning, making it a second home for me. Before joining the learning center I did not plan on attending college but now I see the importance of having a college degree. As a freshman at Kentucky State University, I am truly thankful for the opportunities and assistance the foundation has provided me. I do not know where I would be without it.” 
-TWLC DC student Marcus

Tiger Woods Learning Center builds a robot.

“My child has gained a new love for school and learning.”
-Parent of a TWLC Florida member

Tiger Woods Leaning Center kids taking a class photo.

“I believe that we instill in each child that comes here the desire to go to college. I know kids that never dreamed of going to school and now they’re attending prestigious universities throughout the nation, studying to be doctors, teachers, lawyers, engineers. We, I believe, at the TWLC, expose kids to the possibilities that they never knew existed, certainly not for them. I know the kids that come here, and I know that we have saved some of them from a life of gangs or drugs. I know we’ve helped them stay in school so they wouldn’t become dropouts, and I know we’ve given them a new lease on life. They know that they don’t have to have a menial job, that they can have a career.”
-Sandy Barry, board member and former superintendent, Anaheim School District

Student holds a ball during class.

“When I look back now on all of the planning that is involved in creating a learning center like this, they had everything so spot-on. It wasn’t just learning, but they knew everything that kids liked and enjoyed. As students, it’s not like you’re here four years and then you’re done and you leave the TWLC behind. You still have a place to go to, you still have those connections, you still have that to help you moving forward.” 
-Eric Don, original TWLC member

Students leaving the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, California.

“There is a difference between who these kids are at the core of their being and where they come from. They may come from circumstance, but they are not their circumstance. What this center does, what this staff does and what these teachers do, is bring the best out of these young people. What this center does, in Tiger and Earl’s vision, as I have come to best understand it, is try to affirm rather than assault their dreams. What this center does is try to elevate rather than crush their dreams. What this center does is secure rather than violate their safety.” 
-Thomas Parham, board member and Ph.D., University of California, Irvine

Students taking a photo in the field area of school.

Champions of the unexpected for 20 years.