If you had the chance to make your vision for a better future to be known across the nation, you would take that opportunity and hope that spreading the word will help your vision come to life.
Nestor Pimienta, a senior political science and urban studies double major, had that opportunity with Tutoring Tomorrow Today (TTT), the program that he helped create at LMU. The program was cast into national prominence when Pimienta was selected to be one of the main speakers at the Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice (IFTJ) – a national Jesuit conference that took place this past weekend in Washington, D.C.
When interviewed for the Loyolan’s Sept. 6 issue’s “11 Burning Questions with a founder of Tutoring Tomorrow Today,” Pimienta explained that TTT is a student-run program that provides subject-based tutoring and mentoring for the families of the Facilities Management workers and the food service workers on campus.
The program began last year after being awarded $5,000 through ASLMU’s Inspiration Grant, which funds a project designed by a team of three or more students who, according to the Nov. 7 Loyolan article “ASLMU introduces new scholarships,” “wish to make a long-term impact by initiating a project that can be carried on for a number of years. ... The Inspiration Grant aims to provide inspired students with funds to realize their dreams of a more socially just and sustainable community.”
According to Pimienta, by connecting LMU students as tutors and mentors with the campus workers’ families, TTT aims to build genuine relationships.
“Being chosen as one of the main speakers for the conference has the potential to change thousands of lives across the country,” said Pimienta, highlighting the future impact this national recognition will have for TTT.
Including Pimienta, there were seven main student speakers at IFTJ. Each 10-minute presentation had a similar format and was presented to over 1,200 people from Jesuit universities, and even some high schools, across the nation.
According to Ignationsolidarity.net, the event aims to bring members of the Ignatian family together “in the context of social justice and solidarity to learn, reflect, pray, network and advocate together.” The theme of the 2012 conference was “Imagination Reform: Moving Beyond the Margins,” which, according to Pimienta, relates to TTT since the program moves marginalized groups of people beyond the margins. He explained that TTT is imagination reform because it forces our campus to redefine the notion of what community is.
Alex Abbasi, a senior theological studies major and a friend of Pimienta’s, also attended the conference and joined Pimienta during his speech. Pimienta explained that Abbasi is a big part of the vision of TTT and that he is passionate and committed to making this vision a reality, so he wanted Abbasi to speak with him on behalf of the program.
While discussing his feelings about presenting his vision in Washington, D.C., Pimienta did not seem nervous at all, but instead seemed passionate and humbled about really wanting to make the most out of this unique opportunity.
“I feel very, very excited,” said Pimienta. “Think about the countless lives that can be impacted over the next few years. I’ve been looking forward to this opportunity, and I’ve been preparing as much as possible to make sure that what I’m speaking about resonates with the audience.”
The goal of their speech is to demonstrate how TTT fully embodies all of the Jesuit ideals.
“I think this is a perfect opportunity, and is crucial in order to expand TTT over the country,” explained Pimienta. “The goal is to have at least one other institution to be inspired by us to start TTT.”
Pimineta was pleased with the amount of positive feedback he received. According to him, students and representatives of Jesuit organizations kept coming up to him and Abbasi wanting to know everything about TTT.
“I just want LMU to continue to be a great model for and with others, and [a place] other institutions that want to start TTT can look upon,” said Pimienta. “The next step for TTT is to welcome more support at LMU and from any other institutions that expressed interest so that the program is successful nationwide.”
To view Pimineta and Abbasi’s speech in its entirety, click here.