Pasos All Stars closing literacy gap with lessons in sneaker culture

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Pasos for Oak Cliff started as a nonprofit to give designer shoes to kids who otherwise may not be able to afford them. That effort has now evolved into a community impact organization providing soles for the feet while doing work for the soul.

The project lead by two educators committed to closing the education gap for so many.

Jesse Acosta, a high school teacher, and Alejandra Zendejas, a math tutor, are walking the walk when it comes to helping kids increase their literacy skills.

“We started our first year with 10 [students],” Zendejas said. “This year, we have 20. We find the kids who need the extra help by reaching out to the schools and to the teachers.”

Acosta an Zendejas using their knowledge for the Pasos All Stars.

It’s a four-week summer intervention program for students headed into high school, who aren’t quite at math and reading levels for ninth grade.

There’s no magic formula to their success, but rather they said they are laser focused on every student and what they need to get to where they need to be.

"The one thing that we do is we actually read things that are interesting to the students, in this case we use sneaker culture,” Acosta said. “The history of it and the history of shoes or maybe film making. These are things that are actually attention grabbers for the kids."

At the end of the summer, the present their work. The two said its all in an effort to show the kids they are just as good as anyone else in the classroom and in life.

“We don’t want them to be just passing and getting but, but we want them to succeed,” Zendejas said.

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