In the Fall of 2004, I volunteered at 826 Valencia
, a non-profit in the Mission District that teaches writing skills to K-12 kids in San Francisco. One of the 826 in-school programs is tutoring high school seniors on their college application essays
. For first generation English-speaking teenagers, learning to express themselves in a compelling way -- despite their grammatical limitations -- is perhaps their greatest challenge.
Working with students at Galileo Academy, I found that one way of connecting with their dreams was to read their stories about themselves, their families and peers. It's where they reveal their aspirations, anxieties and aptitudes.
As I wrote afterward in Galileo Glory
, discovering the meaning of life at sixteen is a burden that needs to be shared.