In the South where Angeles Echols was raised, African Americans were taught to value religion and education and pass them on with reverence. Angeles Echols continues to honor this tradition. For more than 34 years, this native of Tennessee and Mississippi, and a graduate of Cornell University, has dedicated her life to teaching, tutoring, mentoring, guiding and empowering others. What began with two students in a one room apartment, evolved into The Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws and Student’s Bill of Rights, of Educating Young Minds (EYM) with the support of EYM board member, Attorney Adrian Baca.
With his guidance Angeles Echols created a comprehensive, non-profit, learning center that has been at the forefront of providing an unprecedented standard of academic excellence for thousands of students: teaching, tutoring, mentoring and providing resources for students and families who have a need or desire to excel. Its mission is to holistically change the academic, emotional, social and professional trajectories of today’s low-income, at-risk, underserved and/or special needs students who attend school districts, charter schools and homeschool/ independent study programs in low-income, underserved neighborhoods. EYM’s culture, methodology and multi-faceted programs teach students to be responsible for their own learning and achievements and holds parents/guardians and teachers accountable. With nurtured, community support, EYM has blossomed into a multi-faceted and diverse organization that is supported by the generous support of individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies. Ms. Echols and her development staff have received grants and donations that ranged from $1 to $1 million dollars. Her faith, perseverance and desire to empower others, encourages and motivates parents, students, teachers and specifically those in need.
Angeles LaRose Patricia Echols was born in Memphis, Tennessee. She graduated from Cornell University, where she earned her B.A. in psychology, with an emphasis in child development and human behavior. While attending Cornell, Angeles discovered a love for the arts and teaching at Cornell, in Ithaca’s downtown community centers and the local Baptist church. After much prayer and soul searching, the path was chosen for her. She would become an advocate for children. She would become an educator and mentor, empowering children, parents, and families.
After college, Angeles worked as a tutor and instructor at a wide range of traditional and alternative schools and programs nationwide: Harvard’s Upward Bound Program, Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, Trinity Lutheran in Los Angeles, Holy Name’s in Memphis, Tn. and others. Her tenure at Trinity Lutheran, a small private school, opened her eyes to the impact an all-encompassing education could have on low-income, underserved populations in Los Angeles. There she could design programs, create curriculum and provide one-on-one attention to underrepresented, low-income students based on their needs, desires and abilities. Her motto was and is “never give up on a child, when one approach does not work find another and if that does not work, give yourself.” When they see you care and give of yourself, they will listen, learn, do, attach and belong ... key assets needed by all youth.
This methodology and culture is the foundation EYM was built on. Given the success of her class, teachers and parents eagerly sought her assistance. Very quickly, she discovered the tremendous demand and need in her community, especially among people of color, for unconditional, supplemental educational and counseling services. Soon her apartment was filled after school with children in need of those supplemental services from a holistic approach. Thus, Angeles founded Educating Young Minds Tutorial Program, reaching at-risk children and their families, channeling their energies toward achieving excellence. She accomplished this by linking high expectations with socio-academic improvement, proven teaching and learning strategies and activities for students with varied needs, skills and abilities.
Angeles along with EYM alumni Todd Chisom and Adam Craig, wrote and developed EYM’s online program Access/ No Excuse. Access/ No Excuse’s Early Learner’s curriculum and resources is an enriched academic, career, and social network designed to nationally and internationally connect and cultivate an individual’s desire, talent, and ability with educational, professional, and referral support.
The truest testament to Mrs. Echols’ work is the young men and women that graduate from EYM, succeed at college, and then return to their communities as role models and as leaders. Today, Educating Young Minds has a 100% high school graduation rate. 82% of its students have graduated from four-year colleges and/or universities, 12% have graduated from community colleges and 32% have graduate degrees and/or Ph.Ds. EYM students are now graduates of, or are attending Stanford, NYU, Cornell, UC Berkeley, Morehouse, Dillard, Tuskegee, USC, UCLA, University of Hawaii, Spelman, Drexel, Columbia, NYU, and Stanford, Howard University, UC Irvine, CSU Long Beach and many other exceptional institutions.
Angeles Echols’ philosophy of always putting the needs of the child first has created a culture and an environment at EYM where children thrive, and parents are empowered. Through hard work, good business sense, and a deep understanding of humanity, and the leadership of Angeles Echols, EYM into a flourishing community-based organization that believes that every child deserves an opportunity to achieve with a quality education. At the end of the day, Angeles Echols is one of those rare individuals who is excited not by the many accolades, but rather, the academic and emotional success of her students.
Angeles, teaches, empowers underserved students, supports teachers, motivates parents/guardians, encourages success, and changes communities by redefining the level of expectations, professional trajectories and landscape of “how” children learn. Her vision, to expand the reach and the scope of EYM’s programs and mission is driven by an unquenchable thirst for achievement and support of children, that inspires her peers, molding today’s urban youth, one graduate at a time.
Educating Young Minds CEO/Founder, Angeles Echols’ numerous awards, accolades and accomplishments include author of interactive bio- Ray Charles, The Man. The Music, The Legacy (commissioned by the Ray Charles Foundation), AP Developer- 25 Easy Steps to English, Phonetically Speaking and Author/and Developer of on-line interactive curriculum (Pre-K-3rd grade, math – English- Science) and resources- Access/No Excuse (ANE) and the following:
AWARDS / RECOGNITION
- Union Banks CNN Heroes Award
- KCET/PBS Local Heroes Award
- KTLA’s Unsung Heroes Award
- Member - President’s Council of Cornell Women, History Maker Award, Member - President’s Council of Cornell Women
- Jack & Jill of America, Inc. – Award of Appreciation
- Recycling Black Dollars Master of Education Award
- Black American Political Association of California (BAPAC) Educational Leader of the Year
- Crystal Stairs, Inc. – Certificate of Appreciation
- City of Los Angeles Commendation
- City of Los Angeles Certificate of Appreciation
- United States Senate Certificate of Recognition
- California State Assembly Certificate of Recognition to EYM
- ACT Humanitarian Award – Angel of Education
- PRISM Award in Education from Minorities in Business Magazine
- City of Inglewood Commendation
- Jackie Robinson Community Service Award
- United Way Community Service Award and others