Presidential Volunteer Service Award - How Mission:MathMinds Enables Opportunity for Girls through Math Mentoring

  • Presidential Volunteer Service Award and Mission:MathMinds

    Presidential Volunteer Service Award and Mission:MathMinds

 
 
Updated 10/20/2021 9:00 AM

The Presidential Volunteer Service Awards (PVSA) is an award given to honor the most outstanding volunteers and recognize the impact they are making in their communities. The PVSA has been awarded since 2003 and is one of the most coveted awards for those individuals who offer selfless service. Mission:MathMinds, a non-profit mentoring organization for girls (www.missionmathminds.org), has been honored as a certifying organization for the PVSA, allowing it to confer this opportunity for our Mentors who provide countless volunteer hours teaching young girls the joy of math.

As a non-profit organization, Mission:MathMinds is dedicated to improving math literacy for middle and high school girls. "We want to reduce math anxiety and increase math confidence and joy for girls," says Ruby Arun, the CEO and Founder of Mission:MathMinds.

 

Mission:MathMinds is a volunteer-enabled organization with more than a hundred members and growing, where high school girls provide coaching in math subjects to elementary and middle school girls. Our unique Mentor-Mentee system is the foundation for younger girls to be mentored by older girls creating an environment of lifelong learning and relationships. It is also an opportunity for girls to contribute to their schools, communities, and the nation and secure service hours, which is our unique concept. Our volunteer Mentors have provided over three hundred hours of selfless service providing support to girls who lack the confidence to do well in math.

We believe in teaching math in a contrarian approach, against rote learning, while providing a helping hand for girls at an early age in their math journeys. Studies done by the U.S. Department of Labor indicate an enormous gap in gender participation in the STEM field with only 15% of women working in the engineering field.

The contrarian approach to teaching math that Mission:MathMinds embodies shows students the applicational side of math which is relevant to careers students are interested in. Instead of labeling students' mathematical potential at young ages, teaching students how a strong mathematical foundation can benefit various career paths would increase confidence in math in schools as well as guide girls towards STEM fields. Dr. Jo Boaler, an advocate for adopting a "growth mindset" when it comes to teaching math, says that teachers who believe that every student has the same potential to do well in math produce more successful students, specifically, girls.

PVSA is an award on behalf of the President of the United States, awarded to American citizens who volunteer their time in their communities. The awards consist of different levels, but the basis of the award is volunteering time in community service. There are four main levels for teenage individuals to qualify for the award: 50-74 hours per year for the Bronze award, 75-99 hours per year for Silver, and 100+ for Gold. Above all, volunteers can only apply through a certifying organization such as Mission:MathMinds after completing their desired number of volunteer hours. The PVSA is a national-level award that inspires school students to be active in their community, such as mentoring at Mission:MathMinds.

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"Our efforts at Mission:MathMinds are to encourage selfless service while pursuing one's passion. Our volunteer Mentors are passionate about Math, in turn sparking the passion of younger Mentee girls to enjoy learning Math," says Ruby Arun.

Our volunteer Mentors (typically high school or high achieving middle school girls) are paired up with Mentees (typically middle and elementary school girls), through our unique multiple-element process to ensure that the pairing becomes a lifelong relationship. Our organization is completely run by high school volunteer Mentors, with guidance from advisors to Mission:MathMinds. Parents find Mission:MathMinds enticing as it's free of cost and is not a blind tutoring service, while girls teaching girls creates an open mindset to learn math. It is no longer promoted that boys are better than girls in math, and at Mission:MathMinds, we strive to break the gender disparity and get more girls into Math. After all, what is STEM without the M?

Mission:MathMinds is proud to offer such a unique opportunity to the community. To learn more about joining, go to missionmathminds.org.

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