Twin brothers Keyon and Ryan Namdar, juniors at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano, have reimagined math education for underserved students, both locally and abroad. For the past two years, they have been running a fun, engaging summer camp for underserved students that combines the brothers’ passion for soccer and STEM. They have expanded the program to Los Angeles and San Diego, and are currently working to bring “A Number’s Game” summer camp and unique method of teaching to Mexico and Iran.
Since middle school, Keyon and Ryan have been offering free tutoring services to underserved students. During their lessons, they noticed that their students were not always engaged and would often lose focus. The brothers realized that their students need to see math from a different perspective, not just textbooks and worksheets. That realization triggered Keyon and Ryan to come up with a way of combining their years of playing soccer with teaching math concepts from a completely different perspective.
The Namdar brothers began bringing soccer balls and cones to their tutoring sessions, conducting the lessons outside on the grass. Immediately, the twins noticed the students were more excited about learning and were able to understand the concepts better. Keyon and Ryan wanted to impact more kids in the community and realized that they need funding to implement their idea. They applied for a highly competitive social entrepreneurship fellowship program through The Dragon Kim Foundation and after a grueling process, they were awarded a 5,000 grant to fund their community service project.
Ryan said, “Our vision is to teach math from a different educational platform. Students learn differently and it is important to give kids the opportunity to see math from a different perspective so that they have confidence and excel at whatever they do”.
The twin’s community service camp, called “A Numbers Game: Discovering Math Through Soccer,” teaches math to elementary school students using an interactive curriculum outside of the classroom. The boys use various soccer drills to teach math concepts specific for the students’ level. After running the program for a year and seeing the highly positive impact on the students, Keyon and Ryan wanted to continue their program and worked hard to establish their camp as a fiscally sponsored nonprofit organization.
The Namdar brothers have successfully run their camp at various organizations including The Orange County Rescue Mission, Boys and Girls Club, and Jamboree Housing. They have also created a website where interested students can sign up for their camp which they run at various parks in Orange County. At such a young age, Keyon and Ryan have bettered their community and impacted over 200 kids. They have expanded their camp to Los Angeles and are excited to host it for the second consecutive summer this year.
Keyon told me, “Our future goal is to impact more students throughout the United States and we have also expanded the program to Mexico and Iran. It gives me such joy to see the kids smile as they are learning math. Our program has increased our students’ love for learning and teaches them that math can be learned outside of the classroom.”
If you know a student or organization interested in attending or hosting a future camp, contact Keyon and Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org.