In 1991, Gil Lee saw several teens loitering on a Washington, D.C., street during school hours. That sight evoked memories of his childhood. “I grew up in a poor neighborhood. The kids I saw on that street reminded me of my struggles,” Lee said. Lee, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Texas at Dallas, reflected on how education transformed his life. When he returned to his home in Baton Rouge, he and his wife began tutoring children. After relocating to the Dallas area, he founded nonprofit IntelliChoice Inc. in 2005 to expand those tutoring efforts. IntelliChoice provides free tutoring in math for underprivileged children at neighborhood learning centers in Carrollton, Denton, East Plano, Garland, Oak Cliff and South Dallas. Last year, 300 children from kindergarten through 12th grade received tutoring. Lee explained that a corps of more than 140 volunteer tutors enables IntelliChoice to serve so many children. The tutors’ dedication continually impresses Lee. “We have one volunteer who makes a 120-mile round trip from Denton to Dr. Martin Luther King Drive (in Dallas) on Saturdays,” Lee said. The wealth of dedicated tutors also means students get individualized attention, which matters so much for grasping mathematics. “One night in Plano, we had 35 kids and 48 volunteer tutors,” he said.
Children get the immediate help and motivation needed to succeed in gradeand high school, but IntelliChoice gives them another opportunity they might not otherwise get: the chance to go to college. In 2014, IntelliChoice awarded $20,000 in scholarships to 40 children. While the financial support carries value by itself, the manner in which the scholarships are presented provide affirmation and spur further commitment to education. The scholarship award dinners are held in ballroom settings, with tablecloths and waiters. Parents attend and get to witness the presentations. Scholarships are sometimes awarded to children still in grade school, giving them additional time to visualize and prepare for the possibilities higher education affords. Lee, who attained a doctoral degree and lives a comfortable lifestyle, is a testament to what a child raised in less-than-ideal circumstances can accomplish.
[News article published on 2015-08-28 6:00]
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The Tech Titans Awards were launched in 2001 by Tech Titans, North Texas’ most comprehensive organization supporting technology. The prestigious annual contest recognizes outstanding technology companies and individuals in the North Texas area who have made contributions during the past year locally, as well as to the technology industry overall. The Tech Titans Gala committee is a group of dedicated volunteers who organize the awards ceremony each year, and judges for the contest are drawn from a variety of disciplines in technology, leaders in the DFW area and past winners. For more information, visit www.techtitans.org
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