National YMCA Program Helps Students Achieve

- WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. - A national YMCA program is giving minority students a chance to interact with community members and learn what they do while setting future goals.

The YMCA Achievers program runs every school year and in Washington County and it's helping students think beyond high school.

Several Washington County students are YMCA Achievers and it's a program designed to encourage minority students to set and then achieve education and professional goals.

"It's like a door of opportunities like it'll help you like things you want to do in life and it shows you like, it gives you an idea of what things you're going to have to do through or like the process in doing it and stuff," said Kashia Joaquin, YMCA Achiever.

Students meet every other Sunday with various community mentors, working in groups focusing on law and government, business, medicine and arts and culture.

The program also includes visits to local businesses, field trips to Washington D.C. and community service activities.

"I think it let's them know that they have a worth, they're worth something you know," said Loretta McFarland, the Arts and Culture mentor. "And no matter how small it may be it's always good for them to put their input in it so this way they're needed and we need to let our youth know that they are needed."

And for students, the mentors become more than just community figures.

"I feel like they're people that not just that I can talk about my career with but someone I can always go to and talk to about anything," said Joaquin. "Like they're always going to be there whether it's about singing and dancing or stuff at school."

"Become more than just mentors to us like we can kind of look at them as a figure that helps us achieve more, kind of like a parent," said Marquis Murray, YMCA Achievers.

The YMCA Achievers program runs from September to May each year but program mentors say students can join anytime. For more information about the program, click here

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