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Follow-Up Interviews



(assisted in 2009)

“Whenever I was under a lot of pressure regarding the college applications or even personal situations, I sought MAPS 4 College to help me with that burden.  And unlike many organizations that claim they provide utmost care for the students in need, i feel a strong connection and positive vibe from MAPS. Sarai Koo, CEO and Founder of MAPS, is literally just a phone call or text message away.  During time when I am completely overwhelmed or whenever I have a small question, Sarai never fails to help me the next day or talk out my situation over the phone.  Whether it is a college discussion at a local cafe or munching Oreo min patties while talking about life, MAPS 4 College continues to uphold a familial and friendly atmosphere.  Once joining MAPS, I immediately felt the positive, healthy vibe of the staff who honestly cares so much about the student and are eager to assist academically, emotionally, and spiritually.  I am grateful how for how much MAPS 4 College really cares and remains true to its promises of helping students succeed in school, college, and life.”


Cristina reflects

Cristina R.

(2012) Cristina is 18 years old and attended Sierra Vista High School. Currently, she is studying English in the University of California, Santa Barbra.

“I joined MAPS 4 College in order to expand my extracurricular activities outside of high school. I also joined in order to get more involved with community service and to improve on my ACT score.”

“Before MAPS 4 College, I was a part of a college preparatory program called AVID. It was similar to MAPS in that helped us to improve up on our SAT score (MAPS focuses on ACT). However, AVID lacked involvement in community service and was geared towards C average students while MAPS can be helpful towards any student across the spectrum. Also, leadership training was virtually nonexistent within the AVID program.”

“I have yet to find an organization on campus that incorporates all of the elements that make up MAPS 4 College; however, there are groups that primarily focus on leadership and professional development. As a part of the hall staff, we are expected to attend workshops that deal with inclusiveness as well as building strong networks among each other that encourage mentorship”

“Like MAPS, it encourages personal growth and provides me with the tools I need to improve if I choose to utilize them.I learned that it is vital to complete the little tasks that I use to think I was above doing, such as repetitive homework. It will eventually catch up to me. Now that I am in college and an English major, I am required to write extensively with minimal mistake”

“I realize that I have hard to work harder to get my formatting skills up to par since starting college because I did not fix these problems in high school. Now I make certain to fully understand rather than minimally. I need to get over my fear of failing or being rejected in order to reach my true potential. I realized that is why I did not put the LGBT youth group into fruition. It is also one of the reasons I procrastinated a lot”

“I now take the time to complete my schoolwork ahead of time and actually take the time to make it the best possible paper I am capable of creating. It is important to meditate over memories that are constraining or holding me back. Before I came out to my parents, I use to think that not being able to be out to them was my biggest problem, but through self-reflection I now know that the problem goes beyond that.”

“Showing emotion is not a weakness. Various times in the program, people shared their stories and experiences that were at times painful for them to do so. They did not share them because they were weak, but because they were able to trust the group. It is always best to keep critical comments to myself.”

“Being civil does not mean insincerity. It means I am choosing to be respectful. During the program, some of the members shared their dislike towards each other and I think it affected the trust level in the group. The best way to keep from badmouthing someone is else is by looking at their positive qualities.”

“MAPS has helped me in the college and life process by challenging me to not limit myself. Before I had joined, I was only really involved with band, where it was looked down upon to join something that involved planning events or making posters. But after MAPS I was able to see the value in the collaboration and planning process. Now that I am in college, I am making an effort to join groups that will build my skills so that I am a better-rounded individual.”

“Before MAPS 4 College, I was the kind of student that would refuse to do an assignment if I thought it was beneath me. I was a bit condescending to say the very least. If I didn’t understand something I would usually just blame the teacher instead of myself. I was used to getting by with putting forth minimal effort”

“During my time at MAPS I was able to see that I would have to start putting forth more effort and blaming society was not going to help me reach my goals. I was able to humble myself into asking for help when I needed it and my grades had an upward trend as a result. I also became more responsive to others as far as listening and incorporating their ideas.

“I feel like my personal relationships have improved after my participation with MAPS.  My interactions with my family are more positive and I am better at regulating my anger when I do get upset. I think this is mostly because I am better able to value them as they should be and being able to accept when I have made a mistake.”

“I have also begun to work more on my social skills in interacting with strangers and acquaintances. My job literally requires me to interact with everyone in my building so I feel very fortunate that I am getting paid to work on something that I need to better myself. I learned that I was not valuing the people around me as much as I should have been. I can be a very sarcastic person at times and not realize the power of my words. This is something that I struggle with since it is an old habit.”

“Now that I am more conscious of this, I have been able to be a more positive person to be around and I see that my personal relationships are a lot healthier than before. To me, MAPS 4 College is an opportunity to better understand myself so that I am able to improve so that I may be a happy, successful individual. It is a combination of evaluating who I am, what I want, what I need to work on, how I can get the tools for myself, putting those tools into practice, and self evaluating throughout the process.”