Unlikely Twins: Making Peer Effects Explicit

ATDP has seemingly created sets of “twins” of very many students who would otherwise never have met, let alone paired themselves academically or professionally. In Every Child’s Right, Dan Perlstein describes it as the peer effect, and here we talk about it as a creation of unlikely twins. Featuring one such pairing makes this possibility explicit.

Real names are not used to respect the honor of being allowed to report personal stories. 

Public mass transportation is a career path for and passionate belief of both Cesar Juarez and Paul Xiao. Presently, each develops public transportation policy at regional and national levels. One works for a governmental agency and the other for an international firm, each earning a most respectable income.. Their post-secondary education and career paths are as similar as their pre-collegiate lives were dissimilar, until each came to ATDP.

Paul’s parents, upper middle class professionals, third-generation Bay Area residents, were gladly able to send him to ATDP and to support him in his academic and co-curricular activities. Cesar, the child of recent immigrants and agricultural workers, had neither the advantages of enriched schooling nor educated parents. Neither did Cesar have the benefits of paying for books or activities to further his own academic interests. Yet he did have deep academic interests, which he brought with him to ATDP.

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Regardless of what happened to Cesar, Paul would have attended ATDP and would most likely have pursued his career path. However, Cesar could have done neither without ATDP, and he could not have attended ATDP without the availability of financial aid, made possible by families like Paul’s. Thanks to that aid, Paul and Cesar met at ATDP and became fast friends—and they both have benefitted from the intellectual, professional, and social support they have provided to each other. In fact, we as a society have benefitted greatly from each of their achievements.

ATDP has many, many more such examples to share: some the stories of physicians serving underserved communities, some of attorneys in successful private practices, and most happily, large numbers of teachers who understand the importance of becoming educated with someone exactly like themselves—someone whom circumstance would have prevented them from meeting and growing with, had it not been for the financial aid made available to them at ATDP.

Without your assistance, such possibilities are closed to youth who seek to work hard in order to learn, achieve, and contribute. Please help such students meet others just like themselves, only from very different life circumstances. Please help students develop their potential. Please help students contribute to our society. Please help students grow into positions that will permit them to help themselves and those who now seek to attend ATDP. Please contribute to ATDP’s financial aid fund.