Nestor Pimienta ’13 took his idea to Washington, where White House staff members praised his work and said they saw great potential for it.
In the language of Washington, Pimienta’s idea was to leverage resources at Loyola Marymount University to achieve educational goals for underserved youth and broaden the reach of the university’s mission. Simply put, Pimienta, a political science and urban studies double major, devised a tutoring system for children of the university’s facilities and food service workers. He, and the two fellow students who helped him formulate the plan, Sophia Pavlos and Frank Romo, call it Tutoring Tomorrow Today.
“The staff at the White House said it was an innovative program,” said Pimienta. “They said they want to continue highlighting my story and Tutoring Tomorrow Today in other venues to inspire others and demonstrate we can change lives.” Pimienta detailed the program at the White House, along with several other student presentations, as part of a program of the Millennium Momentum Foundation, a leadership training curriculum for college students.
“As I met workers around the LMU campus and became friendly with them,” said Pimienta, “a question kept coming up: ‘Can you tutor my kid?’ ” Pimienta, Pavlos and Romo saw a need going unmet for workers who help keep their university running efficiently. Their plan was awarded an Inspiration Grant offered by the Associated Students of LMU, which has funded the initiative.
The result: LMU’s facilities and food service workers’ children are tutored in a range of subjects and get healthy lunches during once-a-month sessions by about 20 student and faculty volunteers.
The day after the meeting at the White House, Pimienta visited the Department of Education office of LMU alumna Gabriella Gomez ’95 (pictured), assistant secretary for legislation and congressional affairs. They talked about Tutoring Tomorrow Today, which Gomez praised, about Pimienta’s goals and aspirations, and their similar LMU experiences.
Pimienta said he was inspired to take Tutoring Tomorrow Today to a whole other level. “I was sitting in the White House, about to present my program, thinking what a great opportunity this is and that this is just the beginning of Tutoring Tomorrow Today. I want to make this program bigger, and to make LMU an example of men and women for others that universities around the country can follow.”