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Youth Voices

What Happened to Adrian Hernandez?

Adrian is a young man that has a passion to direct films. In fall 2014, he will be attending USC Film School this coming fall.  However, without MAPS, he would not be attending film school. In the past, Adrian was introverted and clamored.  Once bullied, outcasted from peers, and depressed, he found MAPS.  From the program, he increased in confidence, a voice, and friends. He found the motivation and drive to direct nine plays.  He started his own independent short films, and a review series that analyzes issues in a critical light.

 

What advice would you give to people if they were considering participating in the SPICES Program right now?

Do it, quite simply do it. It’s a very wonderful experience and it’s really going to change you. A lot of people I knew from the program was changed as well. They were like me, very clamored, very withheld, very introverted. And they …expanded and started branching out and they’re really achieving their potential now–which is something that not very many people get to do, especially at a young age.” – Adrian Hernandez

May 11, 2014   Testimonial

My name is Adrian Hernandez. I am currently 18 years old and soon to be attending USC for a major in Film and Television Production. I am confident that MAPS made the latter possible, and can make such achievements possible for others my age.

MAPS 4 College initially appealed to me because of the free ACT prep it offered. Such open assistance for such an important test seemed insane to me, and I immediately sought a membership application.

As I stayed in the program, I found that it offered more than it advertised. My peers and I began setting aside our ACT prep books and discussing various topics of interest. Politics, religion, society, and even the qualities of a lasting existence were brought up in civilized, round-table discussions. I’d often heard from relatives that such conversations existed on higher-education campuses, but never did I think I’d find them so close to home.

I soon began to love the intelligence and insight my fellow MAPS peers offered me. Under the discussion direction of Sarai Koo, we explored and mobilized ourselves into making positive change in our community. We saw the inequities society shackled us with due to our geographic location and upbringing, and decided to organize several college fairs and information sessions in the area to generate interest in higher education.

I also found in MAPS the social and life skills needed to pursue my educational and career goals. Before MAPS, I was timid: Rarely opening up about myself and often using harsh cynicism to cover up my insecurities. After MAPS gave me a chance to open up to other people–to understand, empathize, and even become companions with my fellow man–I found in myself a newfound desire to do good upon others. I knew that I loved entertainment, and wanted to touch people’s lives through laughter and thought. After learning to love others for who they were, I knew that it was my duty to go out and brighten the doldrums of their daily lives with stories and joy and humor. I became president and Director of the Sierra Vista Drama Club to achieve this goal, and directed a total of 6 plays in my time, each requiring me to associate with a large amount of people in new and interesting ways. I can personally say that I delighted the lives of several hundreds of audience members in my time and I have MAPS to thank for this.

MAPS is more than just a college or ACT prep course: It’s a class in life itself. The skills and individuals I met will stay with me always. Always.

MAPS taught me more than how to be a good studier or test-taker: It taught me how to be a proper, motivated, and curious human being.

 Testimonial May 11, 2014

Spices

As I see it, we’re all lost.

Whether it’s in terms of our future, our fate, our purpose, or our place in the world, there’re always nagging questions in the back of our minds. Ones we can’t answer. Ones we can’t ignore.

The How’s, the Why’s, the Who’s, the When’s, the What’s. They hound us like flies, circling and infecting us. And they only get louder as we get older.

We turn every which way to find answers. Like rats in a maze. Sometimes we’re led to chapels and churches and synagogues. Others, we’re led to needles and pills and blunts.

All they offer are the quick solutions; ones that get us through the night until the morning. The morning. The morning so we can question again. So we can run like rats in a maze. So we can find our way back to the chapels and the churches and the synagogues and the. . .

I was tired of it.

To relieve my questions, I turned towards the MAPS program for guidance. A program that had given me so much. A program that seemed to have an answer for everything.

And it did this time, too.

SPICES.

More than a religious doctrine or shallow self-help code, SPICES offers a set of life philosophies worth living by.

The answers to those big questions.

Who am I? The person I create for myself.

How should I treat people? Equally, regardless of whom they are. We’re nearly identical genetically, anyways. All past wrong-doings are in the past, and the past is where our past lives live, not our present selves.

Why am I here? To improve the quality of the human race.

SPICES is more than just another cheap slogan: It houses the secrets to living a quality life.

After all, don’t we all need a map?

Testimonial June 4, 2019

Adrian Hernandez turned 23 years old on June 4, 2019 (about 7 years after the first SPICES program).

I received SPICES during the round of “Beta Testing” with a cohort of high school students in a program called “MAPS 4 College.” It was different than I ever expected.

Our MAPS sessions, hosted with a pilot cohort of around 20 high school students, existed to give us the resources we needed to learn components of the SAT and ACT tests, and several practice sessions where we learned from each other through lectures and practice problems.

After our test prep sessions were over around 2013, MAPS began to evolve into a collection of Socratic Seminars analyzing our perspectives, ambitions, and overall life goals. This, without me knowing it, was my first taste of the SPICES platform.

Topics I remember being discussed in these sessions included:

— What a happy and fulfilling life is, and how we could start to prepare ourselves for living one

— What our life ambitions were, and how we could start to establish paths to achieve them

— Effective leadership tactics – our internal and external motivations for achieving our ambitions

— Many of the racial, social, and economic hardships that impeded upward mobility in our Latinx community, as well as the differences and similarities between the cultures we all came from.

— Ways we could use our ambitions to impact other people positively

At first, I was confused as to why a college prep course would dedicate time to talking about subjects which had nothing to do with the ACT or SAT. Now I see what Sarai was doing: She was setting us up to ask what life we wanted to pave for ourselves once we got to college, and beyond.

I feel the biggest mistake people (especially my age) make is charging down career or life paths without careful consideration of their personal ambitions, happiness, and legacies. They hear talk of good money or stability, and barrel down pathways hoping they’ll like the lives they end up with. This, I feel, is why so many people look at themselves when they’re 30 and find themselves unhappy. They’ve climbed to the top of a mountain they never wanted to stand on.

SPICES, on the other hand, is a set of guidelines that moves away from this classic trap. The platform begins with an analysis of the heart and soul of your personal ambition, and ends with giving you the strategies you need to maximize your ability to achieve what you strive for.

How do I know that it works?

I’m one of its early benefiters.

When I was six, I identified my personal ambition to be a filmmaker. I knew that the purpose of my life was to entertain and challenge people through cinematic art.

I had several people, teachers and parents, tell me that becoming a filmmaker would lead to stress and financial difficulty. I was told to avoid the route completely and go into engineering or computer science. At 14, I was almost considering giving up on my ambition and agreeing with many of these adults around me who told me to give up. Why would they lie, after all?

Then I encountered SPICES.

Through SPICES, I gained the courage to follow an atypical life path, and through the teachings of the program, was able to harness my personal strengths to make a film career happen for myself. I have no formal ties to the film industry. My Dad is a dishwasher, my mother is a homemaker.

After helping start a drama class in my high school’s lackluster educational curriculum, I was accepted to attend school for Film and TV Production at the USC School of Cinematic Arts on full scholarship. It’s the most expensive and selective film school in the country.

I went through 4 years of intense production curriculum, entrusting that my love of impacting people through art and adoration of the film medium would pull through, and it has!

Since graduating from USC’s Film School in 2018, I have worked for Fox Sports West, Los Angeles Metro, The National Association for Latinx Independent Producers, Fine Brother Entertainment, and countless other independent ventures. I’ve sound designed several shorts and a feature film, and acted as cinematographer on three independent feature films and several shorts and music videos.

My personal directorial work, largely in documentary, has been shown in festivals around the country, and I’m privileged to say that I am now making a living doing what I love in a career field I want to be in.

And I’m just getting started. I live to entertain and provoke thought in people through my art.

SPICES helped me realize that. SPICES helped make that into a reality. Sarai’s insights will get you far. Trust me.”

 

 


Adrian Shares Great Insight About His Experience at MAPS

Adrian H.

May 11, 2014

Testimonial

My name is Adrian Hernandez. I am currently 18 years old and soon to be attending USC for a major in Film and Television Production. I am confident that MAPS made the latter possible, and can make such achievements possible for others my age.

MAPS 4 College initially appealed to me because of the free ACT prep it offered. Such open assistance for such an important test seemed insane to me, and I immediately sought a membership application.

As I stayed in the program, I found that it offered more than it advertised. My peers and I began setting aside our ACT prep books and discussing various topics of interest. Politics, religion, society, and even the qualities of a lasting existence were brought up in civilized, round-table discussions. I’d often heard from relatives that such conversations existed on higher-education campuses, but never did I think I’d find them so close to home.

I soon began to love the intelligence and insight my fellow MAPS peers offered me. Under the discussion direction of Sarai Koo, we explored and mobilized ourselves into making positive change in our community. We saw the inequities society shackled us with due to our geographic location and upbringing, and decided to organize several college fairs and information sessions in the area to generate interest in higher education.

I also found in MAPS the social and life skills needed to pursue my educational and career goals. Before MAPS, I was timid: Rarely opening up about myself and often using harsh cynicism to cover up my insecurities. After MAPS gave me a chance to open up to other people–to understand, empathize, and even become companions with my fellow man–I found in myself a newfound desire to do good upon others. I knew that I loved entertainment, and wanted to touch people’s lives through laughter and thought. After learning to love others for who they were, I knew that it was my duty to go out and brighten the doldrums of their daily lives with stories and joy and humor. I became president and Director of the Sierra Vista Drama Club to achieve this goal, and directed a total of 6 plays in my time, each requiring me to associate with a large amount of people in new and interesting ways. I can personally say that I delighted the lives of several hundreds of audience members in my time and I have MAPS to thank for this.

MAPS is more than just a college or ACT prep course: It’s a class in life itself. The skills and individuals I met will stay with me always. Always.

MAPS taught me more than how to be a good studier or test-taker: It taught me how to be a proper, motivated, and curious human being.

 


Heartfelt Words from V.

“At the beginning of high school, I usually spent lunch and brunch by myself because I was so different from my classmates. So, I just kept to myself and masked my true feelings, filling the void of empty relationships with busy work. I avoided forming friendships and intimate relationships with others because it did not work out the first time. However deep inside, I wanted a best friend. I believe that Sarai, an inspirational woman, knew that before I told her in my tears across the table in a private room. It was as if she studied my actions and knew my thoughts before I even knew them. Sarai, a former stranger, somehow understood me as a person-an ordinary girl needing a safe place to thrive and freely express my feelings. With her advice and support, I began to take leadership over my own life rather than letting society; because of her, I decided to challenge myself and attend Seattle University (the most awesome university ever). She provided small yet impactful opportunities for me to gain self-confidence and reach my potential. She had created MAPS 4 College.”

“MAPS was the place where I smiled, laughed, cried, and blossomed. It became my safe haven, where I vulnerably expressed my frustration about society, deepest feelings about my past, and my journey to independence. I became more involved with my city, courageously trying new things with my MAPS community. I gained more than friends in MAPS; I gained anothaer family. I do not know exactly how it happened, but it did. I am sure that it involves Sarai-it always does. I walked in as a shy and timid high school sophomore. I have not walked out yet because MAPS is 4 life. I continue to walk as a confident college sophomore, remembering my conversations with Sarai and MAPS and looking forward for more.”

“My words cannot do justice to explain my experiences with Sarai, let alone what MAPS is. There is just something special, authentic, original and mystical to Sarai and MAPS.”

Much love,
V. L.

Written March 2014

 


Genessis is changed!

Received on March 26, 2014

MAPS 4 College ended up being something completely different than I thought. I went into MAPS thinking it was going to be just another organization, just another extra-curricular, just another thing to write down on my college applications. I was wrong. This program was about to make a huge impact on my life and I didn’t even know. I started going to MAPS junior year of high school and honestly I’ve never been good at staying dedicated to a club or organization, but with MAPS it was different. I kept going because I enjoyed it. It was a place where we could all come together to talk and share things. It was a place where no one was more superior to anyone else. Sarai never forced us to go, she never penalized us or got mad if we didn’t go. I liked that. The first couple of times, I’m not going to lie, I was confused. I was only confused because I was trying to understand what MAPS was. At first we were really into the ACT and how to achieve our highest possible score on the ACT. I figured “Oh cool, I’ll come here to practice the ACT so I can do well and get into college…that’s must be what MAPS is about!” Wrong. The next time I’d go Sarai would talk to us about our purpose. The first time she did this, it honestly blew my mind. I had never thought about what my purpose was! I remember I went home that night thinking about everything Sarai had said and that was when I knew MAPS wasn’t just another organization. I don’t know if it was my curiosity about what this odd program was about, the people, or the free snacks, but I kept going and loved going!

MAPS has affected my life in every aspect. When I first started MAPS I was kind of shy, and wasn’t comfortable with speaking in front of large crowds. I was scared of sharing my opinion, even though I have an opinion on literally everything. I blame shifted for the smallest reasons you can imagine. I never thought about my purpose. I was happy in my comfort zone. I was many things that looking back at, I wish I would have fixed way before MAPS. However, I feel very blessed that MAPS gave me the opportunity to change myself, and I owe it all to Sarai.

I slowly started to see that I wasn’t shy, and that I loved to talk (because I did, just not in front of huge crowds). I started to realize I was becoming more open about my opinion and that I liked to share it, but still listened and respected the opinion of others. I think this change happened because at MAPS we used to all sit in a circular table, Sarai would ask us a question, and we’d all go around and say something. At first I remember I’d rehearse what I was going to say because that’s how shy I was at expressing myself. I used to do this in school also; I’d process what I had to say, then only say parts of my opinion, probably in fear of being judged. The process of all of us going around the table saying our opinion or input on anything and everything really helped me find confidence in myself. Now I love talking, I love getting others to talk, and I love being able to stand confident in front of a crowd.

I used to blame shift a lot. Blame shifting is basically the act of blaming things on others. For example, this one time my little brother was telling me about something that had happened at school that day while I was doing homework. I honestly wasn’t even paying much attention to him, I was just focused on sending the right PowerPoint presentation to my group members but I accidently sent it to the wrong person. I got so mad! I told him “See what you did! You made me send it to the wrong person because you kept talking!” It wasn’t his fault. It was mine. I was the one who hit send, I was the one who didn’t double check, and there was really no reason to be mad. It was a simple mistake. I guess I blame shifted a lot because I wanted to be perfect. So when I would mess up, I’d find it easier to blame others so I would still be the one who never messed up. I no longer blame shift and my relationship with my brother has been a million times better. I also no longer explode the way I used to, which I’m sure my family is very happy about. MAPS taught me that we aren’t perfect. We mess up, and that’s okay. I learned that I had to stop wanting to be like my neighbor, I had to stop worrying about what my neighbor was doing and focus on myself. I learned that competition shouldn’t exist. We should be the only person we are competing with because everyone has a different destination to reach.

So how did I stop blame shifting? How did I stop wanting to compete with others and realize we all have a different purpose? There isn’t really a formula. I remember Sarai simply told us these things, these things that I used to do on a daily basis without even noticing. When she pointed them out for me, I realized she was right and that I didn’t want to live like that. I’m going to be honest, it’s sooooo not easy, and till this day I’ll still sometimes catch myself doing it, but now I can detect it and stop it immediately before it happens. This change has to take work from the person, this change didn’t happen at the MAPS office, it happened when I went home, when I went to school, interacted with others. I had to slowly change myself.

MAPS has given us opportunities that I feel wouldn’t have been given to us without it. Sarai treats us like equals, she doesn’t act like a normal CEO at all. She allowed us to run an entire Out-of-State College Fair for our city on our own. She puts a lot of trust in us, and I feel like because she does we are so eager to help. Most adults wouldn’t have given us that kind of responsibility.

Sarai once asked me to go with her to meet with a bank who was interested in MAPS and wanted to know more about us. I thought this was so cool! We were going to meet a person of position and Sarai trusted me to portray MAPS the best way that I could. I remember that during the meeting the President was trying to put MAPS into a “category.” I never realized how protective I was of MAPS until I sat there listening to a list of types of organizations he was trying to compare MAPS with. MAPS can’t be categorized. It’s impossible. Trust me, I’ve tried. MAPS is a verb, not a noun, it’s a form of living, it’s a feeling, it’s something I sadly can’t describe. You have to go through MAPS in order to understand it.

All I know is that MAPS is something that needs to go global. It will change the world, I promise. I’ve changed so much as an individual since I started MAPS. Now that I’m in college I am nothing but grateful for all the growth, opportunities, and experiences MAPS has given me. I use MAPS everyday while I’m at UC Irvine, at times I still ask myself “What would Sarai do” when I’m in sticky situations. What I love the most about MAPS is that Sarai does her best to be what she preaches. She is one of those insane dreamers that scares everyone with her ideas, humble about everything and anything, positive, and all the characteristics of a good leader. She makes MAPS everything that it is. She is the one who has taught us how to live a quality life. She may sound crazy, but she is wise and when she says MAPS can change the world, I hope people don’t take it lightly…because it can.


Alondra Pours Her Heart Out

Alondra

received March 19, 2014

I remember I was never able to actually explain what MAPS was. Nobody could. We all had something different to say, yet we agreed with what everyone said. So was MAPS everything? After I gave it a lot of thought, I realized that no matter how much I try to explain what MAPS is, others won’t understand because to understand MAPS, you have to live through MAPS. MAPS is something that lives inside of me. It’s what made me happy and sad and excited and cared for. When someone asks me about a certain topic, I always relate it to something that has to do with MAPS because MAPS is everything I know. I mean, I know a lot of things and I’ve experienced many great events out on my own, but none of those experiences would have been the same if I hadn’t gone through MAPS. I am a totally different person than when I first started MAPS.

I remember hearing about MAPS and telling my best friend we should stop going to soccer, our favorite sport, to focus on our education more. We were both good students, and we wanted to go to college but we needed that push. We practically held each other’s hands as we walked into our first meeting at MAPS, which we were totally late for. See, I write about my best friend and I getting to experience entering MAPS together, because my best friend is the very first friend I accepted for what she truly was and she accepted me for everything I was. I was always bad with friendships. Never had a friendship last more than two, maybe three years. Not even with my own sister of five years younger. I hated her. I hated her for being who she was, because I hated what she was. I didn’t appreciate anything but myself, because I thought I was better than her. That’s what everyone said, and that’s what I grew up believing. I was never the type of sister to tell her I was better than her, but in my head, I thought I was. Everyone compared us and everyone would always say I was the smart and down to earth one. She was the crazy and troubled one. I remember telling Sarai about my sister and how much I hated her. I told Sarai, “She’s my sister, but she will never be my friend.” It was the first time I actually told someone how I felt about my sister, and Sarai cried with me, and I cried. And when I heard myself saying all these things, I felt like I was the worst sister ever because I was supposed to look after her and not judge her. Sarai helped me find it within myself to forgive myself for everything I had said and done and thought wrong about my sister. Because of Sarai and her words of guidance, I sought my sister’s forgiveness. Now, my sister and I get along a lot better. We don’t have a perfect relationship, but we work at it every day and I will never give up on her. She is one of my best friends and even though I can’t tell her everything yet because she’s too young, someday I will tell her every little detail that comes to mind because I wouldn’t mind sharing my life with her. All the friendships and connections I’ve make with people since I’ve started MAPS, I’ve worked on to keep. I learned to love people and appreciate them for what they are. I learned that I’m not perfect in any way and so I can’t expect everyone else to be what I would consider a “perfect friend.”

Four summers ago, my dad was abducted. I didn’t know if I would ever see him again and I didn’t know what I was going to do if I didn’t see him. As his daughter, he was my first love and first best friend and I had taken him for granted. I was mad at him the morning he was abducted, that’s what killed me more. I wasn’t at peace knowing that my dad could be taken away from me when I wasn’t on good terms with him because I refused to get him a glass of water. I called him “lazy” and walked off mad. Fortunately, he came home the next day. And since that day, I began bonding with my dad all over again. We’d spend time with the animals we had and we connected. I decided I wanted to be a veterinarian, because I loved animals and the fact that they brought me closer to my dad. Ever since that summer, my family learned to trust nobody. I didn’t like people, because I didn’t know if I could trust them. I was scared to get close to people, because I didn’t want to lose anybody. I didn’t like the idea of giving someone else the opportunity to hurt me. When I started MAPS, I didn’t trust anybody there besides maybe my best friend. When I first met Sarai, I thought I’d never trust her or connect with her. I never expected her to be who she is. I thought she was going to be this lady that told us what to do and how to do it. And I was used to that, because of school. I thought Sarai was going to be just another teacher or something like that. But the more time I spent at MAPS, the more I wanted to go back. I actually liked these people and I loved the opportunities Sarai allowed us to have. Sarai is the first person I know that trusted all of us, even if we were youth. When I started MAPS, I was sixteen years old; I didn’t know anything about the real world. But Sarai trusted me enough to want to shine and strive for the best I could be. Sarai and MAPS gave me the tools I needed to become a leader in my community and in my household.

After being involved with my community and seeing how happy I made others, I realized that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I want to help others and work for my community. I hope to someday help youth with academics and their life. I want to travel the world; I want my hands to touch the hearts of millions of people. If I ever get to be even half of what Sarai and MAPS was to me for others, I’d be blessed. I’ve met some people that are happy knowing that they help others, and I hope to feel this way forever. However, I also find joy in being able to learn from those I am being a resource for. It’s a blessing getting to know that I can put a smile on someone’s face and help them through their struggles. I am now currently majoring in Community and Regional Development with a minor in Education.

I was involved with school clubs and other programs outside of school that were supposed to help me with academics. I had seen my sister in various programs as well because she was a troubled student. But none of these other programs got to being as good as MAPS. These other programs wanted to focus on helping a child do better in a subject, but wanted nothing to do with the child outside of these programs. MAPS isn’t like that. MAPS wants to be there before and after your success. They want to share that D you got up to an A. Everyone supports each other, academically, physically and emotionally. MAPS isn’t just a program like the rest out there; MAPS is a family and we welcome everyone that wants to live a happy life. I remember I’d show up to MAPS early and leave late, because that was my second home. I didn’t mind spending every day there, I loved that place. I loved being part of something so real with people that wanted to be there as much as I did.

At first, MAPS was mostly about school. And I really liked that because I had a place to do my homework and get help if I didn’t understand something. Getting to be part of MAPS helped me with my testing skills. I have always been a bad test taker and studier. Every time I’d study, I’d fail the test. And every time I didn’t study, I somehow seemed to get a nearly perfect score on all my tests. So I figured studying wasn’t for me, until MAPS encouraged me to actually start studying. I just had to find the right strategy that worked for me. Ever since I joined MAPS, I learned that I am an independent learner. I love to help people and work with people, but I learn more on my own. My brain processes things faster when I watch videos on my own and say the answers out loud. Having someone stand up in the room and teach me the ACT curriculum didn’t really work for me, but it did help me understand what I had to do to improve my ACT scores. Sitting in small groups did help me work with others around me. I learned how to explain things to others, which I totally was not good at before MAPS. Whenever I got to explain something to someone, I worked on myself and I got to help someone out. SO it was a win-win situation and I loved it.

Junior year of high school, Sarai told us we had to have a list of the colleges we’d be applying to. We had to have about nine schools in total on our list, and all I could write on my list was UC Davis. I hadn’t researched any other school, not because I was slacking off, but because UC Davis was the only university I could see myself at. I refused to add any other schools on my list. But eventually, after talking to Sarai various times, I added a couple more schools on my list. After all, everything she had advised me to do before had always turned out to be a good thing for me. After a very long wait, I got accepted as an animal science major at UC Davis. I was the happiest person ever, because all my hard work had paid off. I feel like Sarai always knew I’d get in. I feel like she’s always known what I’m supposed to be doing in life and she guides me. I can easily say I’m at Davis because of my own hard work and because I wrote a personal statement that stood out. I’m the one that did everything, but I didn’t. I couldn’t have gotten in without MAPS and Sarai and everyone else that was a part of MAPS. If Sarai hadn’t opened these doors for me, and allowed me to take a position at MAPS, I would be so lost right now. I found myself at MAPS and learned more about myself than I ever expected.

Sarai introduced me to a couple of other amazing women that gave me the opportunity to intern for them as well. I got to be a part of an all-girls manners academy program. Since I was the oldest teenager there, the other young girls really looked up to me. I felt like I had a whole bunch of little girl cousins looking up to me and asking me for advice. They listened to me, but they knew I wasn’t of authority. I was there to help them and everyone was so nice. I was able to help these young girls grow and learn about themselves. It was amazing to meet them the first week, so shy and quiet, and get to see them at the tea party the last week of the program, where they had blossomed into beautiful butterflies. We all grew together and learned something from each other and they allowed me to bring my sister with me and bond with her.

I would want nothing more than to see Sarai and the services MAPS provided us help others out there that also need some encouragement and reassurance. I hope that MAPS can help everyone out there someday. And I hope that everyone benefiting from MAPS and Sarai will help others. And it will be like a chain; a chain of help and support and love that never ends. Nobody will ever say that they did not learn or gain something from Sarai or MAPS, I’d bet everything on that.

I now intern at the Student Community Center here on campus at UC Davis. I intern for the best person I have met here on campus. She guides me and helps me. I trust her very much and there’s times where we sit down and have these deep conversations I can’t have with many other people. She asked me about MAPS the other day and I told her everything I could. She got these teary eyes when I was talking about everything that had to do with MAPS. I knew she felt it; my happiness as I spoke about MAPS and Sarai. She asked me what Sarai was to me. I said, “If Sarai told me to jump off a cliff, I would. Because I know it’d be for a good reason. She’s my light at the end of the tunnel.”


The Benefits of MAPS

Here at MAPS we have a plethora of training programs to offer—there are programs for high school students and those in college/recently graduated. For our high school students we have many academic programs to increase their interest in college. Our training programs for our college students are a little different; at MAPS we know that our students have what it takes, they just need a little experience.

Our training programs for high school students begin with ACT prep. The ACT is one of the biggest national exams and we want our students to excel. MAPS teaches the students the material they need to know for the test, but once the first group of students have successfully been through the course they then teach the next level of students. We want to expose students to leadership roles through academic teaching—this method has proven to be very successful.

ACT prep was one of the original goals at MAPS—we have extended the goals even further. MAPS wants our students to prosper not only in high school but also in college. We have set up training programs to guide students through the rigorous and stressful process of applying to college. We introduce them to the ways of researching colleges and applying for financial aid; we also teach them how to write an academic resume and a great personal statement.

After our high school students have gone through the programs that MAPS offer, they all go on to have success in college.

The college student training programs are focused on giving our interns experience so they can put on their resume. Our interns are given huge roles within the organization by running their own programs that cater to the needs MAPS have at the time. As a MAPS intern currently, I function as a copywriter and content editor—I create SEO blog postings daily. Other interns have been more hands on by creating educational programs for the local youth to attend and learn more about academic success.

The benefits of our MAPS training program are numerous and proven We have sent our high school students to great and various college and our interns have all gone on to find jobs.

 


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.

 

 


Jane understands how to set goals

Jane K.

22 years old (2012). Went Torrance High (class of 2008). Currently studying Nursing at California State University, Long Beach

Sarai showed me the steps that I needed in order to successfully reach the goals that I needed to achieve. She always supported and believed that I could reach a goal further than I had set for myself. Sarai was a very great counselor and talked through the multiple options that I had after high school. She was very helpful and positive in supporting the different paths that I wanted to take. She was also there as a friend and mentor, as a role model for success, not only in a professional aspect, but also as a person.”


Dream Big

We have one life to live, so dream big and find your purpose in life! However, to dream big t takes a little more than just dreaming…and…Vanessa gets it!

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Vanessa Gets It

written on 12/25/2014

“Nothing will happen…nothing will change…unless you want it to. MAPS taught me to dream big. The journey of pursuit to that dream will consist of hard work and sacrifice. It will be more difficult as I get closer to my big dream or fulfilling my purpose. With faith and support, I will be able to reach my mountain top.”

 

 


Life Changing

For many students, MAPS is a life changing program. A real life example of how MAPS is life changing can be witnessed through “D”’s journey. When “D” came to our summer camp program he was a high-risk student who was involved in gang life and had just come out of juvie. The life changing holistic program transformed him. Rather than regret and hold onto his past life choices, “D” decided to move forward. His choice to experience what MAPS could offer was life changing.

D

Participated in 2011 8-day Mountain Top Program

written July 2012

“Well after Maps 4 College, I was so inspired and motivated by your program to go to college. I began applying For Cal State Universities with the help of my teachers at XXX and the knowledge I received with Maps 4 College. So I applied . . . I thought I was only going to get accepted by one university but I was accepted by all four. I was really astonished and so happy. So of course I had to choose one which was so difficult to do with 4 options. I ended up choosing Cal State Northridge and immediately applied with EOP and was accepted. I also chose to live in the dorms so I move in some time around next month. I just wanted to say thanks to you and the program because it really helped inspire me to go to college and it worked. All the things I learned from the program and the things XXX taught me were very helpful. So hopefully we can meet again and I know you’re an extremely busy person so you tell me whenever it’s possible. THANK YOU and MAPS 4 COLLEGE.