By Genoa Barrow
As the education tide once again turns to back-to-school season, a group of recent graduates reflects on how they’re overcoming challenges and striving for future success.
Pahress Wysinger, Amiyah McDaniel, and Montay McDaniel recently graduated from area colleges and have set their sights on taking the next steps in their academic pursuits and careers. They’re also participants in the STRIVE Academy, run by local professor and therapist Dr. Arrickia McDaniel. Dr. McDaniel founded the nonprofit in 2007 to develop pathways to reach and serve underserved youth and marginalized communities.
Through community partnerships that include the Roberts Family Development Center, the City of Sacramento, Sacramento County, Mutual Housing of California, and partnering schools such as Sacramento State and Sacramento City College, Dr. McDaniel developed programs in which youth would receive academic counseling and attend college tuition-free.
“In return, the students would serve as youth advocates in the community,” she said.
Expanded services now include behavioral health care through her mental health practice, STRIVE Community Health. Participants are offered academic and career development.
Dr. McDaniel’s background is in helping children who aren’t thriving academically. She is proud of those who have gone through her program and the “academic dynasty” she’s built.
“Over the years we have served as a conduit to support students of color as they have achieved academic milestones, all students who come from adverse backgrounds, attended inner-city schools and have earned college degrees between the ages of 17 and 20 years old,” she said.
Dr. McDaniel held a ceremony for her latest round of graduates to celebrate their achievements. “They each have demonstrated great fortitude and perseverance to accomplish such impressive outcomes,” she said.