August Newsletter: A Slice of APIE


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          Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year from our Executive Director, Cathy Jones:

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APIE in the Classroom | Register Today! 

Registration is now open for our Math Classroom Coaching and Mentoring Programs.  Join APIE and support Austin students by becoming a Math Classroom Coach or Mentor today!

Interested in volunteering?
Check out all of our opportunities below and click to sign up!


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We’re always looking for committed volunteers! For more information, please contact Andrea Panter at


Kendra Scott Gives Back

Join Austin Partners In Education for a Kendra Gives Back Party on Friday, September 8th, at Kendra Scott South Congress Ave. Enjoy complimentary sips and sweets while shopping for jewels. 20% of all proceeds benefit Austin Partners In Education. 


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Austin Marathon

The 2018 Austin Gives Miles program connects Central Texas non-profit organizations to passionate race participants willing to fundraise and raise awareness for causes that give back to our local community. 

Sign Up Now to Run or Fundraise for Our Cause!

Individuals can select Austin Partners In Education as their team to run with and add meaning to training and race day miles by supporting Austin ISD students.  

To sign up for the 2018 Austin Marathon go to and select Austin Partners In Education as your team and official Austin Gives Miles Charity.

To fundraise for APIE go to and select ‘Fundraise for this Campaign’  


Email Kiki McGuinn at

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Welcome back, classroom coaches and mentors! Please join APIE on Wednesday, October 11th, at Contigo for a fun fall happy hour with the APIE Team!

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Would you like more information about the AISD bond?

Please click the image below. 

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June Newsletter: A Slice of APIE

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APIE is celebrating the completion of another great school year!

It has been a fun and productive year for all our programs and we owe our volunteers a big, THANK YOU.  Your time and presence make a difference for our students.

  • Math Classroom Coaching helped students improve their math skills, and boosted their academic self-confidence in math.
  • Our high school students became college ready and some participated in our new Pathways to Self-Advocacy Program.
  • Mentors made connections with students that will support them on their academic journey.
  • Career Conversations exposed students to different STEM careers.

Keep scrolling to see what’s been going on at APIE this spring and how we honored our volunteers and school champions during Celebrate and Salute.


Quick Bites of APIE | Community Volunteers Share Their Experiences

  • Lucy Badillo – “I wanted to be impactful, and to be impactful you just need someone to talk to who’s not judging.”
  • Scott Byars – “It’s a great opportunity for City of Austin employees to participate within their community.”
  • Principal Shannon Sellstrom – “APIE volunteers are always here with a smile and positive attitude; and what a difference they make!”
  • Spikes Kangera – “I enjoy working with the kids each year and the subject matter suits me.”
  • Dorcus Moore – “When I see a child open up and become empowered to learn and grow, I think that’s the best thing in the world.”

Celebrate & Salute 2017!

This year’s Celebrate & Salute events were a wonderful success – bringing together the AISD community, volunteers, and school leaders to recognize excellence throughout the district and honor those who give their time and commitment to make our schools a better place. Read more here.


Volunteer Champion| Becky Chen

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Volunteer Champion Becky Chen (left) with APIE Math Coordinator Emily Arnold (right)

As a Math Classroom Coach for over a decade, Becky Chen has long been a consistent presence at APIE. Since her first days volunteering at Bedichek Middle School to her current volunteer position at Mendez, Becky has arrived at each class with a smile and a friendly attitude.

Her experience as a manager at Austin Water Utility, her love of math and her patience and flexibility make her an incredible asset to AISD students and the APIE program. In addition to her exceptional volunteer work, Becky has assisted APIE with volunteer recruitment efforts at the City of Austin. She continues to share her experience and encourage her co-workers to volunteer. We are honored to recognize Becky as APIE’s 2017 Volunteer Champion of the Year.

Donor Champion | Michael and Susan Dell Foundation

Since 2007, The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation has been a generous funder, advocate, and partner to APIE. MSDF’s commitment to APIE ensures our programs will be successful and continue to impact Austin ISD students.MSDF

The MSDF team members have been engaged supporters of APIE’s work, playing a key role in maximizing resources to serve AISD students. The Foundation and staff have been instrumental in supporting the growth and development of APIE’s programs, and have provided support in the creation of APIE’s three-year strategic plan, participation in Mission Capital’s Innovation Lab, and developing a logic model for our pilot program, Career Conversations.

As a highly strategic organization, the Foundation is committed to regional collaboration among organizations that support student success in Austin, of which APIE is a direct benefactor. This is best understood by MSDF’s explanation of their approach: “We push ourselves to experience the reality of the children and families we serve, preferring to work with our partner’s shoulder to shoulder to gain the biggest impact and learn what the next big opportunity or big idea could be. We approach our work with the needs of the community in mind and work directly with our partners from idea to implementation.”

APIE in the Classroom | College Readiness Facts and Stats

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Lauren, College Readiness Senior at Lanier High School


This year, APIE’s College Readiness Program served ten Austin ISD high schools and supported over 500 students. Not only did we help these students meet college readiness standards, our program also produced the following outcomes:

  • 91% of our students’ motivation to learn improved.
  • 97% of our students now know the steps needed to continue their education.
  • 99% of our students now know the importance of entering college academically prepared.

“I am grateful this program exists. I now have a detailed plan of where I want to go in my future.” – Lauren, Lanier HS student


APIE After School | UTeach Science Olympiad

This semester, APIE launched an exciting new partnership with UTeach Outreach. This collaboration has led to APIE recruiting, training and managing 12 STEM professionals in three after-school science clubs.

UTeach Outreach is a course at the University of Texas where UT students run STEM-focused after-school clubs and camps. The 7th-8th grade clubs met weekly for 7 weeks at Burnet, Covington and Fulmore Middle schools.  Volunteers guided students in lessons about experimental design, forensic science, and food science/nutrition. Students and volunteers enjoyed the active, hands-on UTeach lessons.

On May 15th, the program culminated in a mini-Science Olympiad held at the University of Texas, where the 7th-8th grade team from Covington Middle School won top honors! After a successful 1st semester, APIE is looking forward to continuing and expanding this partnership with UTeach in 2017-2018.


Spring Day of Caring with Sprint

This Spring Day of Caring, APIE spent the day with a wonderful group of volunteers from Sprint.  “Thank you for cutting out materials and decorations for teachers at Brooke Elementary!” – The APIE Team


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January Newsletter: A Slice of APIE

Welcome Back, Volunteers!
It’s National Mentoring Month and APIE is excited to jump into the new year by paying tribute to our wonderful, dedicated mentors. Sit back, relax and read on to learn more about the impactful programs, events and opportunities happening with APIE due to your commitment and support. 
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Quick Bites of APIE | How To Be A Mentor
  • Build Trust – Make sure your mentee knows you are available and you care about what they think and how they feel.
  • Listen – Ask open ended questions. Listen twice as much as you speak, and reflect back on what you hear from your mentee.
  • Encourage – Focus on the positive and on doing things with rather than for your mentee. Share your own experiences to help them make decisions.
  • Be Reliable – Set expectations you can live up to. Be consistent and persistent by living up to your commitments.
  • Have Fun! – Do things your mentee enjoys, but also expose them to new ideas. Remember to be understanding and to have a sense of humor.

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APIE in the Classroom | National Mentoring MonthNMM_Seal_2016

This January, we are celebrating National Mentoring Month.  Mentoring is a relationship between caring adults and children that shows young people someone cares about them, assures children they are not alone when dealing with struggles, and makes them feel like they matter.

Mentoring is an investment of time.  It is the act of showing up and caring for a child. Research confirms that quality mentoring relationships have powerful, positive effects on young people in a variety of personal and academic situations.  Students who meet regularly with a mentor have better school attendance, maintain better attitudes towards school, and a greater chance of pursuing higher education.

APIE’s mentoring program connects adults with students to support and guide them during the school year.  Mentors are needed in every grade level from Kindergarten to 12th grade.  February 5th is the final day to sign up as an APIE mentor for the 2016-2017 school year.  Please consider supporting a student through mentoring by clicking here.

Volunteer Spotlight | Tony Hanson
tonimentor03Tony has been mentoring for two years. He takes an hour off from his job at the General Land Office every week to meet with his mentee at Reagan High School. Tony has always had someone to walk beside him as a mentor. “They kind of let me learn as I walked, but they were there to let me bounce things off of them as well.  That’s something I’ve always wanted to do for someone else.”

Tell me about your most memorable experience with your mentee.

While talking with my mentee, I assumed that he probably doesn’t listen to the same kind of music that I do. I don’t listen to a lot of hip-hop, but he did and some of the artists he was talking about I hadn’t heard of. So to connect with him, I went back and listened to some of those artists. That really was a breakthrough moment for us. I believe that was significant. You could see his eyes light up like, “Okay, he’s not this old fogey; he does connect with me.”

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a mentor?

The biggest challenge at times is time. Mentoring to me is really about time and the investment of time. I’ve come to realize that I can make an investment in people by giving them money, or different things. But when you can invest time, I think that’s what really transcends all of that. The challenge is saying, “Stop, turn off the machine, get your keys, and go talk with my mentee.”

Another challenge is asking, “Are we going to connect?” If we don’t connect then I make the turnaround like, “Is it me? What can I change?” But I’ve come to realize that, “Tony, you don’t need to change. You be you, he will be who he is and hopefully you can find some common ground.”

What change have you seen in yourself since you’ve become a mentor?

Initially, I always go in thinking I’m going to help someone else, and I think I have. But a lot of times, it comes back to me because I’m very introverted, and this allows me to come out of that shell. It allows me to work on me, and then I see some of the results when I hear my mentee talk about how what we talked about worked. Or he says, “I got this situation, what do you think?” That’s what I continue to see as an improvement; it helps me to be less introverted.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a mentor?

Try it. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has a quote: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'” That to me is what we’re here for. We’re not necessarily here in this space for ourselves, but it’s walking with someone else through life. When you’re talking about being a mentor, a lot of times people think of it as being formal. It doesn’t have to be formal. You don’t have to be so afraid to share your experiences. Be willing to listen more than talk and just be present. That’s what I’ve come to realize not just in young people, but with people period. Just your presence really does speak volumes to them.

Donor Spotlight | The Community

2016 was a fantastic year for Austin Partners In Education and it was made possible by YOU! The year brought amazing programs and resources to over 2,000 APIE students.

Your contributions allowed us to successfully pilot “Career Conversations,” a program dedicated to introducing middle school students to STEM field careers.

Your support further fostered APIE’s “UTeach Outreach,” an after school science program that will bring college students to the school with experiments designed and taught by UT students and assisted by APIE volunteers.

Among other firsts for APIE was our involvement with “Hour of Code,” a global movement by Computer Science Education Week and Our volunteers and staff brought “Hour of Code” into Burnet and Martin middle schools to teach the basics of coding and to share about career opportunities in STEM fields.

It is through your financial support that APIE is able to provide these types of programs to Austin ISD students. Thank you for your support in and out of the classroom!

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

APIE’s AmeriCorps VISTA’s marched alongside AISD’s Peer Assistance, Leadership & Service (PALS) students in honor and remembrance of the great civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


APIE after School | Partnership with UTeach

APIE is excited to announce its collaboration with UTeach to bring community volunteers to after-school STEM Clubs. APIE volunteers and UTeach students will work weekly with small groups of middle school students, culminating in a mini-Science Olympiad competition at the University of Texas.

Beginning on February 27th, APIE and UTeach will launch an after-school STEM Club at Burnet and Covington middle schools. APIE volunteers will be assigned to a small group of 7th/8th grade students for the 7 week program working on topics ranging from experimental design, anatomy & physiology, to food science and forensic science. Volunteers will support students through weekly UTeach hands-on lessons and share information about their STEM careers.  The Burnet after-school club will meet Mondays from 4:15-5:15 and Covington’s club will meet on Wednesdays from 4:30-5:30.

All students and volunteers will be invited to the mini-Science Olympiad on May 15th at the University of Texas campus. For more information, or to volunteer for this program, please contact Amy Moore at


Run for APIE

This February, we hope you’ll run (or jog, or walk) with APIE. Help us reach our goal of $5,000 to provide academic support to economically disadvantaged students in Austin. Join our team or support our runners by clicking below!


Amplify Austin


October Newsletter: A Slice of APIE

Quick Bites of APIE | Tips for Classroom Coaches
  • Take your time – Get to know your students and establish a good rapport on the first day of coaching, setting the tone for the rest of the school year.
  • Make eye contact – Give students your full attention by making eye contact as a sign of respect and appreciation.
  • Call students by name – You can remember students names by writing them down on the first day of class and repeating them frequently during the lesson.
  • Be prepared – Arrive early and allow plenty of time to locate your class; also keep an eye out for important emails from coordinators throughout the year.
  • Be a good role model – Implement your training and always strive to be a positive example for your students by being kind and patient.


APIE in the Classroom | Programs Launch

Our 8th Grade Math Classroom Coaching, Mentoring and College Readiness Programs are BACK in the schools for another year of knowledge-building and fun-filled learning. The students are looking forward to,”learning different ways to do math,” “fun activities” and “getting college ready.” math8-covington-classroom-view2-11-2012-copy

Classroom Coaching for 8th grade math is in full swing!  Many schools started with get-to-know you activities like “Would You Rather” or the “Spaghetti Tower Challenge.”  Building rapport with students and forming a relationship cannot be overstated.  Volunteers are encouraged to get to know their students and continue doing so throughout the year.  Teachers and students alike have been excited to see their APIE volunteers walk through the classroom doors.  This year, more than 300 volunteers will build relationships with and help students increase their confidence with math in 32 classrooms at 5 Austin ISD middle schools.

mentor-picAPIE’s Mentoring Program is off to a great start this year!  Over 700 volunteers have signed up to mentor in schools across the district many of them returning from past years of service.

When we ask our mentors, “Why do you want to be a mentor?” the most common response is ‘to make a difference in the life of a child’ or ‘because I had a mentor when I was younger and they helped me so much.’ However, our returning mentors will tell us how much the child has made a difference in their lives. Some may have discovered a new song to hum or a new game to play, but they have all discovered how much joy these young people have brought into their lives.

We appreciate all of the returning Classroom Coaches, Mentors and new faces who have said “Yes!” to volunteering with APIE this year. We encourage others to join our team.  All it takes is one adult to show support, encouragement, or compassion to affect a positive change in how a child views him or herself, school, and the world.  That adult could be you!


APIE’s College Readiness Program increases the number of Austin ISD students who graduate “college ready” according to Texas Success Initiative (TSI) standards, allowing them to avoid costly remedial courses in college. In an effort to increase students’ chances of obtaining a degree and launching a successful career, APIE’s College Readiness Advocates lead small classes of 7 to 10 students, offering personalized support in reading, writing, and math. The College Readiness Advocates act in an advisory role, guiding students through college, scholarship, and financial aid applications. With the Advocates’ encouragement and support, students graduate high school feeling more confident and well-prepared for college and beyond.

Volunteer Spotlight | Joan Quenan
jone2Joan Quenan has been volunteering at Webb Middle School for a little over two years. As a Math Classroom Coach she dedicates her time to tutoring a group of 2-3 eighth graders in pre-algebra. She also mentors and tutors high school students whenever there is an opportunity.

Joan is a retired math and computer science teacher. She mostly taught high school students, but also ventured into computer science at a middle school level. Joan has always enjoyed being with kids and now that she’s retired, she really wants to continue working with them. With her extra time, she wants to use her knowledge as a former math teacher to give back to the community. Plus, it’s one of the most enjoyable parts of her week!

How did you find out about APIE?

You know, I can’t remember exactly. I think I was just asking about volunteering opportunities in schools. I believe I went to a school and they gave me the APIE website, so I looked online and found the application and got involved that way. Everything is online and I could see all the different opportunities for me to get involved and here I am. I’ve been at Webb Middle School the whole time.  I really love coming here each week. It’s a great school. 

What’s the reason you continue to volunteer with APIE year after year?

I really love the kids. They are just always enthusiastic and find a way to lift my spirits. They are a pleasure to be with. 

As a volunteer and mentor what impact do you hope to have on your students?

I want them to enjoy math because I do, and I know they can too. Often students shy away from math, but playing math related games is a way to show them math can be fun. There are puzzles, slope battleship; and with the small groups, it’s a great way to really get to know your students.

As a mentor, can you tell us a little bit about your experience?

My student is a junior and she is interested in going to college. Her family has not been to college before so it will be more of a matter of helping her with upcoming applications. Right now it’s more of listening to her frustrations and supporting her through day to day things. She works hard and is very dedicated to coming to school and she is thinking about what she wants to do in life.

Donor Spotlight | 3Mgives

As a longtime supporter for over 10 years, 3Mgives has improved lives and built sustainable communities by donating time and energy to APIE’s educational programs. 3Mgives has generously supported APIE’s Math Classroom Coaching program at Burnet Middle School providing 8 classes for 146 students – a total of 176 hours of math instruction!

Over the years, 3Mgives works relentlessly to promote stronger and more sustainable communities through financial investments, product donations and contributing their most valuable resource – their volunteers- to the community. Their impact on communities reaches internationally, empowering youths from a spectrum of backgrounds. APIE is happy to have 3Mgives volunteers working alongside us in our Austin classrooms! Like APIE, 3Mgives seeks to empower a new generation of leaders, thinkers, and creators regardless of student backgrounds, gender, or race. Their commitment to promoting equity by driving access to quality education for all communities is why APIE is so happy to be supported by a wonderfully philanthropic team! With 3Mgives’ support, APIE will continue to work tenaciously to train and deploy hundreds of community volunteers into the classrooms to motivate and aid students in their paths to success.

Happy Hour Recap

APIE volunteers, donors and staff had a great time mingling and sharing their exciting APIE experiences at Contigo!  We hope to see YOU at our next get together.


APIE after School

Entering its fifth year, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Last year over 300,000 donors participated! Join the movement and give the gift of education on November 29th.  Please donate HERE to support APIE this Giving Tuesday.


APIE is excited to be a charity team of the Austin Marathon and Austin GivesMiles. We hope you’ll run (or jog, or walk) for APIE or donate to someone who’s running for us. Help us reach our goal of $5,000 to provide academic support to Austin ISD students in need. Join our team or support our runners by clicking below!


January Newsletter: A Slice of APIE

Quick Bites of APIE: Benefits of Being a Volunteer
  • Increases self-confidence– volunteering can create a significant boost to your self-esteem and overall life satisfaction
  • Brings fulfillment– volunteer work can be energizing, inspiring, and give you an escape from the everyday work flow
  • Helps develop new skills– it’s an opportunity to enhance your current skill set and carry those skills to advance your career
  • A healthier body– research shows those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression compared to those who do not volunteer
  • Increases happiness– researchers studied the relationship between volunteering and measures of happiness and found the more you volunteer the happier you are

Donor Spotlight: You!Donor Spotlight You

As we begin a new year, APIE wants to spotlight YOU! With help from donors just like you, we were able to connect over 1,500 volunteers to 2,680 students across 129 AISD campuses this past year. As we look toward 2016, we have exciting things planned for donors who make our work possible.

With help from generous donors like you, APIE’s programs and volunteers provide real change in students’ lives. Our 8th Grade Math Classroom Coaching significantly increased in girls’ academic self-confidence in 2014-15, and 200 high school students are college ready thanks to our College Advocates. In 2016 APIE will launch Career Conversations, an exciting new program focused on STEM career exploration for middle school students. APIE is here to support students through all stages of their academic and career goals, but we couldn’t do it without you.

With program and volunteer on-boarding costs continuing to increase, our donors are more important than ever in keeping APIE’s programs alive. While the majority of our income comes from grants and our founding partners, AISD and the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, we still rely entirely on the generosity of others to make up the rest of our budget. Become an APIE Donor and enjoy perks, including exclusive invites to our upcoming events and a chance to have lunch with our Executive Director.


Volunteer Spotlight: David Juarez

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David Juarez is a retired City of Austin employee who spends his free time volunteering with APIE. While most Coaches tutor in one or two classes, David tutors in 8 at Covington, Martin, and Mendez. As the first person in his family to attend college, David aimed high and received his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and had a successful 30 year career.

He says, “I have always tried to be a role model especially to those who are economically disadvantaged students. Having a similar childhood provides me a good understanding of the challenges they face.” He wants his students to know, “that education provides economic and personal empowerment that allows them to make a better life for themselves and family.”

David’s APIE Coordinators say he always has a warm smile on his face, a pleasant attitude, and goes above and beyond to volunteer in classes where he is most needed. He is very reliable and supports other volunteers, even agreeing to mentor those who have asked for extra support.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?

I enjoy helping others and giving back to the community.

What are your goals this year as a Classroom Coach?

I want to be able to help students strive to achieve success.

How do you hope to reach those goals?

Each student is unique, so I try to find a way to connect and encourage each of them to try to do their best.

What advice can you give to new Coaches?

Be patient with your students. Some may not open up and appear to be interested in getting coached, but teachers have told me that those are the students who look forward to having you come back each week. Things to remember include being supportive, a good listener, sincere, and always try to encourage the students to do better.

Explain your passion for volunteerism.

I believe that any time I can spend helping someone can make a difference. It fulfills me as a person of value and compassion.

How has education played a role in your own life and career?

I was the first in my family to attend college. I received a BS in Civil Engineering and was able to have a very successful 30 year career. Education has always been a priority in raising my own kids. They understand that education has allowed me to provide them with more opportunities that lead to greater success and happiness in life.

What has been your proudest moment as an APIE volunteer?

Every year is filled with special moments, but I think the year I had several students get interested in engineering was the best. They told me they would have never thought about engineering if it wasn’t for me being there for them.

What have you learned from your experience as an APIE Coach?

I have a much greater appreciation for the teachers and volunteers. I think their presence sends a positive message to the students that the community does care.

Has volunteering with APIE affected your personal and career goals?

I have always tried to be a role model especially to those who are disadvantaged students. Having a similar childhood provides me a good understanding of the challenges they face. I want the students to know that education provides economic and personal empowerment that allows them to make a better life for themselves and family.

Volunteering with APIE made me realize that I could do more to make a difference in the lives of students. Since retiring as a civil engineer I have been working to become a middle school math teacher and look forward to having APIE Coaches in my classroom!

APIE in the Classroom: National Mentoring MonthDerrick Townsend 3

Every mentoring relationship is unique—each a connection filled with shared stories, laughter, concerns, and dreams.  In their second year of their mentor and mentee relationship, Derrick Townsend and his mentee, Julian, are building a strong personal bond.

Derrick has been mentoring since 1988, beginning with high school students and he is now mentoring Julian, a seventh grader.   Derrick describes Julian as an outstanding young man, “We hit it off from day one. He is smart and he’s trying to do all the right things in school.” Julian, whose favorite subjects in school are math and science describes the relationship as, “It’s like having an older brother or a second dad.”

Because Julian loves sports, they often spend their weekly meetings tossing a football back and forth. Derrick uses this time to talk to Julian about his goals for the week and about his accomplishments. Julian’s favorite moment of the mentoring relationship was when Derrick was able to surprise him with cupcakes for his birthday.

Derrick attributes his desire to mentor to the fact that he never had a male role model during his adolescence, and he told himself when he was growing up that, “When I have a family, I’ll be that father I didn’t have, and then I want to mentor other children as well.” Julian is glad he made that decision—getting together with Derrick is the highlight of his week.

APIE after School

Cathy Jones


February’s Lunch and Learn features APIE’s Executive Director Cathy Jones and Programs Director Veronica Cavazos presenting on the organization’s future plans and program evaluations and impact. Come learn more about our organization, meet our Executive Director, and enjoy lunch on us. To attend this event, please email to reserve your spot today.

Feb. 8 – Lunch & Learn Speaker Series with Executive Director Cathy Jones and Programs Director Veronica Cavazos RSVP

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You can help students and mentors start 2016 strong! Would you give $16 to APIE today? That’s just $1 for each weekly mentoring session they will have together this semester.