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UCLA Magazine Spring 2005
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Spring 2005
Bruin Walk

Project Numeracy
Illustration by Karen Greenberg

Project Numeracy

On Saturday mornings, when many of their classmates are still wiping the sleep from their eyes, about two dozen UCLA students caravan from the Ackerman Turnaround to the Mar Vista Gardens Community Center. Here, residents of a public-housing project, clutching sharpened pencils and math quandaries of one sort or another, await them.

These energetic Bruins are volunteer math tutors for Project Numeracy. Started two years ago by math major Dulce Alvarez ’04, Project Numeracy brings together UCLA students with people who need help with math — anything from homework to figuring out who pays how much on the phone bill.

Math can be frustrating for those to whom it doesn’t come easily. But the tutors – many of them aspiring teachers — are patient guides to the perplexing world of long division, partial fractions and quadratic equations.

“People will come in saying, ‘I hate math,’ but they’ll find out that it’s really fun,” says Alvarez, who teaches geometry at Mary Star of the Sea High School in San Pedro.

The Project Numeracy tutors also work on Friday afternoons but the program is so popular among Mar Vista Gardens residents that the Bruins are thinking of adding a third session.


by Anne Burke

2005 The Regents of the University of California