A Note From Azeem
I just wanted to take a minute to share my story, because it’s due to my personal experiences that I desired a way to be able to “pay it forward.” Azeem’s Dream Foundation is my opportunity to help at risk and urban youth overcome their circumstances the way that I was able to. The trajectory of my life changed because I had people that believed in me and received amazing support through tutoring. So here’s my story…
On my way to the University of Washington, I had to overcome many obstacles. I was a year behind in school therefore graduating from high school seemed nearly impossible. My dad and I sat down with my counselor my junior year of high school to discuss my future. It was at this time that my counselor told me I’d be lucky to graduate high school, but then he quickly added that “there’s always Community College” with condescension in his tone. To have someone speak that much disbelief over you hurts deeply.
My dad was furious. The first thing out of his mouth was, “a 1.54 GPA? 141.5 credits as a second semester junior, really?” How do you answer that?!
This was the first time that reality began to set in. When I left that office with my dad, I feared the outcome of my future. My dad cussed and fussed in frustration but THEN he said one thing that stuck with me, “Hoss, call me when you’re serious about going to college. I’ll stop EVERYTHING that I am doing to get you there.” That hit me hard.
At the end of my junior year, I took my dad up on his challenge. For 13 months, I worked relentlessly to become the person I am today. This included summer school, day school, online classes, tutoring, night school, and Saturday classes. I spent all of my Sundays studying, just trying to keep my head above water.
I was blessed with an exceptional English teacher at Pomona High School, Mrs. Andrews. This extraordinary teacher paved the way for me to improve my writing, reading and composition skills, and she taught me how to conduct research for reports and term papers. I am and will be forever grateful for the time she invested in me!
In June of 2013, I completed what I considered at the time “the biggest accomplishment of my life”… I graduated from Pomona High School and proudly made my way to the University of Washington.
One of the goals of my foundation is to make sure that sixth, seventh and eighth graders have the supplies they need, and know what free tutoring resources are available so they don’t scramble like I did to graduate from high school. I want to be able to reach kids who are young enough to shift their thinking. When kids reach the 10th and 11th grade they think they know it all. They think they’re good enough to go to any college because they’re so good on the field. The ultimate goal of my foundation is to “catch kids early enough to make a difference!”
Believing in you & your dreams,
“You are going to have to grind this out” and
“You will have to change your mindset for this to work.”