Program Leader Eddie Sanchez is a rising star in Think Together’s new Palm Springs Region. His distance learning sessions have had the highest average daily attendance in the region for the last several months, demonstrating that his dedication, enthusiasm, and passion for changing the odds for kids, keeps them coming back for more. We are thrilled to have you get to know Eddie.
Eddie, tell us a little bit about yourself?
I started working for Think Together in July 2020 when the Palm Springs region was opening. I graduated from Cal State Fullerton in 2014 with a degree in political science and a minor in history.
Palm Springs is Think Together’s newest region. What has been your favorite memory so far?
That’s a hard choice. All of my students are amazing. I can’t say enough good things about them. They all make my day and I know that goes but for my entire team, not just for me. There’s never a day when I don’t laugh and have something funny to remember at the end of a session.
How have you seen distance learning impact your students?
You know, it’s been challenging, and I understand it. When I was in college, I took an online course and that was challenging even as an adult who knew how to study, take good notes, and everything. I know for them it’s hard because they are learning their core skills now, but that’s why my team and I are here to support them and make it as fun as possible.
How do you and your team make distance learning fun?
When we start our program day, we always start with some sort of icebreaker and joke. Then, we either have a lesson in social and emotional learning (SEL), STEM, music, or physical education. When we break off into our homework groups, I make sure all my students feel supported and get as much done as possible. If we have time, we try to do more fun activities before they sign off for the day.
Can you tell us about a student you’ve seen blossom since Think Together started in Palm Springs?
At my site, we have over 30 students with 25 of them attending regularly. One of my students was shy when we started the program. What’s funny is the way she opened up was by finding out I’m afraid of spiders. After that barrier was broken, she has been doing well. All of the students when they joined, didn’t know what Think Together would be like or what they would do. More than the learning they are getting, they can be with friends in a way that they had been missing.
Did you always know you wanted to work with kids?
When you are in your 20s you don’t have a clue what you are going to do. I’ve always liked education, but I didn’t imagine working for an organization like this. Now that I am here though, I want to continue working in education. I want to try to either become a site coordinator or get my teaching credential.
If you got your teaching credential, what grade-level would you want to teach?
I think I would want to teach either middle school or high school. I’m interested in history since that was my minor in college. I think that would be a fun subject to teach or to teach English.
What is your goal for the rest of 2021?
My goals are to keep growing within Think Together and to start a teaching credential program. I turned 30 at the end of 2020- new decade, new goals, new dreams. As long as I’m in education and helping students, I’m happy.
Eddie, thank you for your passion and commitment to change the odds for kids!