Michael “Mike” Aponte joined the Making a Difference Foundation (MADF) family in April of 2000 and has been a key player for the SAT tutoring program in Virginia Beach, volunteering four nights a week. He has also offered his time at the afternoon SAT workshops at Churchland High School in Portsmouth.
Mike has served as a tutor and mentor for the past two years, impacting youth in the Hampton Roads area. Although he had the opportunity to move to the Washington D.C area to start a new business in 2000, his commitment and attachment to the youth in MADF motivated him to postpone his move.
Dealing daily with students that have low educational expectations and low self-esteem, Mike believes in the need for caring adults to step forward and lend a hand. Literacy and poor math skills are problems that he combats daily with great success. He has been nominated for a number of awards, from Governor Gilmore of Virginia, May the Month for Children Mentoring, Volunteer Hampton Roads as well as others. He will continue to make a significant impact well into the future because he cares about the future of children.
Mike first learned of MADF through a volunteer search engine on Oprah Winfrey’s web site. He spoke with Bob Bobulinski, Executive Director of MADF, and “felt a great vibe” regarding Mr. Bobulinski and the program. Thirty-two years old and originally from Boston, Mike attended MIT and is currently working as an investor. His background in math and previous experience as a tutor in high school make for a perfect match.
Mike tells everyone how he gains more from the kids than they receive from him, which is indicative of his unselfish nature. Some of the youth that he helps are from the toughest neighborhoods and single parent homes, such as Curtis, who is now attending St. John’s University. Mike helped guide Curtis to a five-year scholarship. Steve, who was raised in a foster home, was going to drop out of high school, but Mike’s influence swayed him to finish high school. Steve is now enrolled in college.
Mike’s love has helped many kids find hope. He believes in MADF’s walk the talk motto and no failure/no excuse approach, which has worked for more than 29,000 youth since 1991. His attitude and service to youth has helped MADF receive national acclaim for its unique paradigm.