Local Hero: Angeles Echols-Brown

Angeles Echols-Brown

"I remember the projects of Tennessee, government cheese, milk and me, when at EYM:

A child says, 'Ms. Echols, Um Hungry,'
A high school student can't read a 4th grade textbook,
A parent tells me she is abused,
A 16-year-old tells me she's pregnant and confused,
A parent tells me he is an addict,
A 72-year-old is raising three grandchildren,
A young girl tells me she doesn't like the dark skin she lives in...

The challenge is enormous, but transforming expectations and possibilities is contagious. It happened to me, Mrs. Echols-Brown."

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Mrs. Angeles Echols-Brown and her Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization, Educating Young Minds (EYM), are building a better tomorrow for inner-city students.

More than 3,500 students and counting have been nurtured and empowered with the skills and ability to enroll in, succeed at and graduate from four year universities by the passion and commitment to education of Mrs. Angeles Echols-Brown and her nonprofit organization, Educating Young Minds (EYM).

EYM provides morning home study, after-school tutoring at The Ray Charles/EYM Enrichment and Learning Program, Saturday high school and collegiate test prep classes, summer programs and college scholarships in its state-of-the-art learning center. Under Mrs. Echols-Brown's leadership, EYM has blossomed into an educational haven for inner-city students from kindergarten to high school seniors of all academic levels. EYM boasts an 87 percent success rate of four-year college graduates from universities such as USC, UCLA, Columbia, Spelman, Stanford, Xavier, Berkeley and many others.

What makes EYM so extraordinary is that it goes beyond the academics by putting the needs of the child first and instills a sense of duty to those students who have already benefited from EYM. For instance, eight of the 30 current staff members are EYM alumni who have returned to work at the nonprofit after college. These men and women signify the virtues of EYM and Mrs. Angeles-Echols' humble beginning when she founded EYM while living in a small apartment with a modest $50 budget in 1987.

Her experience working with children afforded Mrs. Echols-Brown the opportunity to discover her passion - helping inner-city students reach their greatest potential. Mrs. Echols-Brown served as an instructor, tutor, counselor, mentor and teacher at Harvard University's Upward Bound program, Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga and Los Angeles' Trinity Lutheran School. While being raised in a single-parent home with two sisters in Memphis, Tennessee, Mrs. Angeles-Echols realized the importance of community support. Educators, community leaders and fellow church members served as her mentors. They directed her on a path to graduate from Cornell University. After graduation, Mrs. Echols-Brown made it her priority to give back to the community.

Both EYM and Mrs. Echols-Brown have been recognized for their extraordinary commitment to the community. Some most recent awards include Black American Political Association of California's Educational Leader of the Year Award; Lifetime Achievement and Appreciation Awards from Jack and Jill of America, Inc., Crystal Stairs, Inc., Crenshaw Christian Center, American Legion and the City of Los Angeles; Masters of Education Award from Recycling Black Dollars; Community Humanitarian Award from the Oscar Joel Bryant Foundation; and Certificates of Recognition and Achievement from both the United States Senate and California State Assembly.


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