Education is one of the keys to advancement out of poverty, which is why Julian Omidi salutes anyone who offers inner city youth the opportunity to advance themselves academically. In honor of this principle, Julian Omidi relates the achievements of Angeles Echols-Brown, the founder of the Los Angeles nonprofit organization Educating Young Minds – a program dedicated to giving young people scholastic resources.
With the world becoming increasingly technically oriented, educational opportunities have become highly coveted. At one time kindergarten, was viewed as valuable for the socialization of young children, but was nonetheless a non-competitive environment. Today, parents lobby for spots in prestigious preschools and kindergartens before their children are even born. Unfortunately, in underserved communities, educational resources are often limited, and the importance of preschool and early education opportunities aren’t even stressed. In order to level the educational playing field, our everyday hero, Mrs. Angeles Echols-Brown has worked to provided inner-city students with tutoring and scholastic supplementation.
Educating Young Minds (EYM) helps to provide Los Angeles area students with the opportunities their family income levels may have denied them. The more than 3,500 students who have enrolled in the EYM programs have been given the tools that help them succeed both academically and professionally. By providing before and after-school tutoring, as well as summer school programs, EYM boasts an 87 four-year college graduate success rate. These colleges and universities include such illustrious institutes as Stanford, Columbia, Berkley and Spellman.
Angeles Echols-Brown first established EYM on an extremely modest $50 budget. Today, the different programs are offered at The Ray Charles/EYM Enrichment, a fully equipped learning center with 30 full-time staff members – eight of which are returning EYM alumni.
Although academic advancement is EYM’s priority, the programs are sensitive to many of the problems endemic to the inner city, including drug addiction, domestic violence and teenage pregnancy.
Mrs. Echols-Brown’s own history inspired her decision to aid inner city youth. A native of Tennessee and raised by a single mother, Mrs. Echols-Brown had the support of her church and her teachers, which helped her gain admittance to Cornell University. After graduation, she worked as an instructor and mentor for the Upward Bound program at Harvard University.
Since the inception of EYM, Mrs. Echols-Brown has received numerous awards and accolades, including Certificates of Recognition and Achievement from both the United States Senate and California State Assembly; Black American Political Association of California’s Educational Leader of the Year Award; the Lifetime Achievement and Appreciation Award from the American Legion; the Community Humanitarian Award from the Oscar Joel Bryant Foundation and many others.
By Julian Omidi