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2014 February

Get Involved: Summer Volunteer Programs

Do you find during the school year you are too busy to focus on future career options? You are so overloaded with work it is almost summer and somehow all your friends have internships? Well don’t fear, internships are great, but there are other ways to get the experience needed for the real world; it is through summer volunteer programs.

How do you find out about these different programs? If you are in high school there may or may not be a career center on campus; here are both situations: 1) go to your career center and ask the counselors about information on summer volunteer programs (they should provide you with a list of companies, hospitals, community centers, etc. that offer programs) or 2) if there is no access to a career center on campus do not fret, the Internet is a great resource to research volunteer programs around your community.

What programs are offered? There are numerous opportunities to volunteer in any career field. Research what career fields you find most interesting then look into organizations that have similar descriptions. For example: if you want to go into the field of healthcare, hospitals and assisted living care facilities would be a great place to volunteer.

How much time do I have to commit? This is probably the most frequently asked question in regards to summer volunteer programs. I can only speak from personal experience and the knowledge from my friends. Usually volunteering takes only a couple hours—two to three times a week. Do not take my word for this though, you must talk to the supervisor and ask which days and hours are available. From my experience volunteering supervisors are very flexible and grateful of your time donation; they should be able to make a workable schedule for you if there are other commitments.



MAPS—Offering More Than Just Academic Success

Through our mentoring programs at MAPS we help students learn to succeed in subjects they are not strong in. We have writing skills workshops—because being a good writer is the only way to succeed—for students that need to learn how to write an academic paper or learn how to write professional emails for future job success. At MAPS, we provide students with boot camps offered at different times in the year so they know if they miss one, there will always be academic help around the corner. Our students all learn to succeed academically and go on to be successful college students and workforce leaders.

MAPS is more than just an organization for helping students succeed academically. Our mentoring programs here give students the tools to succeed in life and love themselves by offering a comfortable and open environment. One of our own, Alondra Morales had this to say about the mentoring programs at MAPS, “MAPS provided me with a curriculum that helps individuals grow and accept themselves. I know for myself, I didn’t love myself. Through MAPS and the program, I learned to love myself and every day I find something new to love.”

The reason MAPS’ mentoring programs work is due to our focus on the individual and how we create a familial environment for them. We want the students to come talk to us; we value listening to your students in our mentoring programs. Alondra also had this to say, “I think the greatest benefit about MAPS is that you find peace within yourself knowing there are others that are willing to be your shoulder to lean on.” Like the title states, we offer more than just academic success. Remember, whenever you need a person to listen and a shoulder to support you, we are here for you.



Food 4 Homeless and Low-Income Families

MAPS understands that every human being needs their physiological needs met.  MAPS programs do not have the necessary resources to provide comprehensive services to the homeless population and other groups; however, she provides free food as one method to ensuring one of their needs are met.

On a weekly basis, MAPS 4 College provides homeless adults,  low-income individuals and families, and other members of the community free food in Santa Ana and Baldwin Park.



Youth mentoring programs

As a freshman in high school I was THE most headstrong individual there ever was. Be it school, sports, or music, I did not want to ask for help from anyone. I thought solving problems and struggling on my own I would make me tougher, fearless, and my independence would be known. Fortunately for me, I came to my senses when I was around fifteen (ending my freshman year) and realized help from others would be beneficial. I was not involved in any official youth mentoring programs, but I did have a strong mentor. Sergeant Major was a former marine who then (and now) works with athletes to toughen them up mentally; we directed our training towards self-esteem deflating situations in matches (I was a high ranked junior tennis player) so I would not let the situation get the best of me.

What I thought would have been a relationship just pertaining to tennis turned out to be a relationship that still last to this day; I first met Sergeant Major at fifteen and I am currently twenty-three. Him and I did not tend to focus on what was going on, but more about how I felt about what was going on. I found his mentoring helped me make important decisions about my life (for example, picking a college). His advice was limited, but he let me talk out issues I had so I can find the answer using the little guidance he gave me (however little his guidance, it was always a HUGE help). I believe his listening is what I needed/still need, and listening is what one should look for in all youth mentoring programs.

Perhaps some of you might be like me when I was a headstrong fifteen-year-old ready to conquer the world with just me, myself, and I. Perhaps you are questioning the power of youth mentoring programs. These are two things you must come to terms with: you will need help if you want to take on the world and mentors can have a great, positive impact on your lives. If you don’t want to be enrolled in a structured mentoring program where you are set up with someone, then look for a role model you feel comfortable with and can bond with. Make sure this person understands your goals and is willingly to guide you during your mission.

Lastly, for those of you that are not looking to have a mentor but to be a mentor, this is a role you should actively seek. One of my closest friends is involved with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and absolutely loves it. He told me giving his time to a child that really needs it is the most fulfilling experience. I myself have become an unofficial mentor to one of my mom’s coworker’s child. Him and I talk on the phone about once a month about his success in high school and his fears of what college may hold.

Being involved in youth mentoring programs—be it you are the mentor or the mentee—is a great experience. I would not like to dream where I would be without my mentor in my corner; and mentoring someone who looks up to you is an amazing feeling. Do not hesitate to get involved!


What is a leader?

Many say that you are born a leader; I think that you can build a leader, as long as you know the traits that make a leader. One of the first things asked by any head of an organization to their current, or prospective workers/interns/players is: “What is a leader?” Everyone wants to know if you can be a leader, because leaders are what people want. Here at MAPS we asked some of our interns and students we worked with the question: “What is a leader?”


Eileen Claire Sabalburo, a member of MAPS, was asked, “What is a leader?” She gave us a great answer that I think many people would agree with; she said, “To me a leader is a fearless and very courageous person… A leader has a clear vision of where they want to go and are looking for the best ways to get there. I think a leader is always reliable, has a big voice, and inspires people wherever they go. He/She always follows through no matter what and the really good leaders go out of their way to help others.”


Eileen identified great traits of what it take to be a leader: fearless, courageous, and having a clear vision. However, not everyone is born with these traits, they need to observe other leaders and learn from them. Briana was asked, “How can learning from others help you become better leaders?”


Briana gave a clear and eye opening answer; after you read the quote, I hope you pick up on the one word that most resonated with me. “…when I come across a leader that really inspires me, I learn from them, their technique, how they handle people, how they speak and how they formulate thoughts…You can see how a person’s attitude does not attract people but you can also see how another person’s humbleness can gain the public’s trust.” Humbleness was the word in this statement that I agreed with the most. I think back to all the leaders I have had on sports teams, or clubs, or the projects I have led and teams I have been a captain or co-captain on and being humble was what gained the trust of the team.

A third question to ponder when thinking about a leader is, “What lengths will someone go to lead a group?” MAPS asked this question because it begins to border on the discussion of ethics and what makes an ethical leader; and we like to make our students and interns think. Kevin Kou stepped up and answered: “…A very ambitious person will go to great lengths to gain power and control over a group…they will try their best to improve their leadership skills, by watching how other lead and what works for them. They may seem bossy because they want things done their way, but in the long run…he/ she may prove to be a successful leader.”

Based on the information given to us from our interns and students we have formulated an answer to  “What is a leader?” The components that make up a leader are: to be fearless, courageous, have a clear vision of personal goals, to posses a humbleness but still maintain a strong exterior, and finally, be ambitious while still willing to improve personally.





Finding Financial Aid for College

I noticed in my senior year of college that many of my peers were hesitant about attending college, not because of the academic challenge, but the financial struggles of paying for college. College is expensive, but finding financial aid for college is not a hard task. The first website I went to was Fastweb which has numerous scholarships from being a left handed writer to being head of your high schools chess club.

Other great resources when it comes to finding financial aid for college are college counselors. Every high school should have at least one counselor to start you on your search for financial aid. Another way of finding financial aid for college is talking to your respective university. When I was visiting different schools I always made sure to ask what scholarships they have to offer.

Finally, take out loans. This would not be my first move, but I realized for me to afford to go to school loans were a must. I would advise you to accept scholarships and grants before taking out loans. The biggest reason recently graduated college students are in great debt is due to the act of taking out too many loans. Remember, when finding financial aid for college you should: search on Fastweb (or other college scholarship sites), talk to a college counselor at your high school, ask the university what financial help they offer, and take out loans (but not too many)!

Finding A College

Finding a college is one of the most exciting yet nerve-wracking experiences of all teenagers’ lives. I remember I spent countless hours with my college counselor finding a college that would be just right for me. I was being recruited to play tennis by five schools so it was a little easier for me than most, but I still had to research all the academic programs that were offered, the extra curricular activities (even though being a college athlete takes up a majority of your time), and also the freshman dorms I would possibly be staying in (if you don’t like your dorm, you won’t like your school). Most importantly about finding a college is researching the town or city the college is located in. You might find it comforting to go to a school close to home or you might want to travel out of state. No matter your choice you need to know the resources in the towns and what you can do during your time off. Finding a college is a big adventure and an excitingly stressful one at that. Remember, take your time and really study and get to know your potential university.



Our Test Scores!

Students participate in a cost-effective, highly valuable, peer-to-peer program designed to prepare students for a pre-postsecondary admissions test.  The program operates through a cohort system, in which high school students in the previous cohort serve as teachers, leaders, and mentors to succeeding cohorts.  As a result, low-income, minority students in the program increase their ACT scores by 12 points.  All students who participated and completed the program applied to four-year institutions and were accepted.

Scores improved for students who took the one month ACT Test Prep Course and provided us with the actual test results. More students took the course; however, they have not provided MAPS with a posttest score.

Note: An ACT score of 36 is the highest score on the exam.

Below is a partial list of students’ scores that have improved from the peer-to-peer model.

Cohort 1 Real ACT Test ACT Point Gain  (SAT equivalent) Rigor and Selectivity
Composite 31 Composite 32 1 point Most Competitive
Composite 13 Composite 14 1 point Non-competitive
Composite 13 Composite 16 3 points N/A
Composite 13 Composite 18 5 points Non-competitive
Composite 10 Composite 15 5 points N/A
Composite 12 Composite 18 6 points Highly competitive
Composite 10 Composite 29 9 points Most Competitive


Cohort 2 Real ACT Test ACT Point Gain  (SAT equivalent) Rigor and Selectivity
Composite 24 Composite 26 2 points Most competitive
Composite 19 Composite 21 3 points Most competitive
Composite 21 Composite 25 4 points Very competitive
Composite 21 Composite 26 5 points Highly competitive
Composite 18 Composite 24 6 points Highly competitive


Cohort 3 Real ACT Test ACT Point Gain  (SAT equivalent) Rigor and Selectivity
Composite 16 Composite 22 6 points Very competitive
Composite 16 Composite 28 12 points Highly competitive
Composite 21 Composite 24 3 points Highly competitive
Composite 17 Composite 26 9 points Most competitive
Composite 21 Composite 24 3 points Most competitive
Cohort 4 Real ACT Test ACT Point Gain  (SAT equivalent) Rigor and Selectivity
Composite 25 Composite 31 6 points QuestBridge Finalist
Composite 24 Composite 28 4 points QuestBridge Finalist, Most competitive

Other Score Improvements 2009-2010

(not peer to peer program)

Test 0259C Real ACT Test ACT Point Gain  (SAT equivalent)
Composite 14 Composite 25 11 points (740 points)
Composite 24 Composite 34 10 points (660 points)
Composite 26 Composite 34 8 points (540 points)
Composite 20 Composite 27 7 points (430 points)
Composite 27 Composite 32 5 points (330 points)
Composite 23 Composite 27 4 points (290 points)
Composite 24 Composite 28 4 points (290 points)
Composite 29 Composite 33 4 points (290 points)
Composite 26 Composite 30 4 points (290 points)
Composite 30 Composite 33 3 points (230 points)
Composite 27 Composite 30 3 points (230 points)
Composite 20 Composite 22 2 points (160 points)
Composite 28 Composite 30 2 points (150 points)
Composite 33 Composite 34 1 point (140 points)

Rigor and Selectivity

Barron’s Profile of American College

most competitive (< 33% acceptance rate)
highly competitive (33-50% acceptance rate)
very competitive (50-70% acceptance rate)
competitive (75%-85% acceptance rate)
less competitive (more than 85% acceptance rate)
noncompetitive (more than 98% acceptance rate)
Community colleges were considered as non-competitive


Our College Results

MAPS students have been accepted and have gone to the following colleges and universities! Amazing, right?

Bentley University Boston College Boston University
Brandeis University Cal Maritime Carnegie Mellon University
Claremont McKenna College Clark University Colgate University
Columbia University Cornell University CSU Fullerton
Cal Poly Pomona CSU San Bernardino CSU San Jose
CSU San Francisco CSU Long Beach California Community Colleges
Duke University Drexel University Emory University
Emerson College Gettysburg College George Washington University
Gordon College Grace College Harvey Mudd College
Harvard University Hope International University Johns Hopkins University
Kenyon College Loyola Marymount University Mount St. Mary’s College
New York University (NYU) Northwestern University Occidental College
Out-of-state Community Colleges Pomona College Princeton University
Reed College San Francisco State University Seattle University
Scripps College St. Louis College of Pharmacy Syracuse University
St. Mary’s College of California (Moraga, CA) Swarthmore College Tufts University
UC Berkeley UC Davis UC Irvine
UC Los Angeles UC Riverside UC San Diego
UC Santa Barbara UC Santa Cruz University of Chicago
University of Dubuque University of Hawaii University of New Mexico
University of the Pacific University of San Diego University of Southern California (USC)
USMMA – United States Merchant Marine Academy USNA – United States Naval Academy USAFA – United States Air Force Academy
Wesleyan University Yale University And more!

Tutoring Services

Tutoring services are the most helpful programs offered at any college across America. In high school, you most likely used a tutoring service for a particular subject you struggled on, an SAT prep class, or used a tutor to help write papers. Taking advantage of tutoring services in college should be no different than high school, except, they are free!

You might be afraid or embarrassed by going to a tutor in college due to the thoughts of your friends. You might be thinking, “I’m in college, I don’t need a tutor,” or “What can they teach me? We are the same age.” These thoughts are damaging to your education! Tutoring services can help in any way you need. For instance, I would utilize the writing tutors at least once every two weeks to get a final read through of my papers, or just another perspective; and I was an English major! Also, professors love to see their students utilizing the tutors on campus (I know professors that have given extra credit if students went to a tutor).

Lastly, all tutors are highly knowledge in their respective fields. The tutors will be upperclassmen (at the top of their class) that work closely with the professors; they know what you are doing in your class and love to help. If you are studying for a test, need help on a homework assignment, or just need another voice on a topic—that is not your professors—utilize the tutoring services offered. It will be your first step to succeeding in college.