Alumni Spotlight...Chyann Mealy
Franklin Military Academy, Class of 2013, James Madison University, Class of 2017
What is the best thing GRASP has done for you? Awarding and helping me to find scholarships to help pay for my college textbooks, tuition, and also helping me with my FAFSA. Most importantly, the consistency of staying in contact and always offering help and referring me to others that can help me within the Richmond community. I value relationships and I can tell that the GRASP staff does too, especially with their students! What are you/will you be doing next? This [past] summer I [studied] abroad in Ghana to complete my internship requirement for my degree. I [interned] at Winneba Hospital in Accra, Ghana. There I [did] community outreach involving preventive care and education regarding maternal and pediatric health for members of underserved communities. After that, I [began] nursing school at the Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing this fall in Richmond, Virginia where I plan to become a Registered Nurse and earn my BSN. I hope to combine Public Health Education and the clinical practice of Nursing to give the best comprehensive care to patients within underserved populations in the inner city of Richmond. What one piece of "educational advice" would you give to high school students? Never be afraid to reach out and ask for help or receive it, whether that be from professors, classmates, high school educators or even from programs such as GRASP. Education is such a powerful thing to attain and there are so many people out there who are willing to help you achieve your goals. You are never alone because there's always a helping hand. You just have to be willing to reach out and grab it. The best is yet to come and because others have helped you, you must remember to pay it forward and help someone else. What is the biggest life challenge you faced relative to your educational path? The biggest challenge I've faced in life is realizing that the only person standing in my way is me. Initially, I was so afraid to take chances, make myself uncomfortable, and try new things. I was always afraid of the "what ifs" in life, failing, and making mistakes. It was not until my junior year until I embraced the good in being uncomfortable. I became a Resident Adviser where I made invaluable relationships with first-year students and received RA of the month twice. I also joined organizations such as the NAACP and Black Student Alliance where I eventually became a proud member of both executive boards. I also became a teaching assistant for the Health Sciences department at my university and participated in various research projects with professors. I even applied to study abroad and was awarded a scholarship to complete my internship in Ghana. I also pursued joining Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated where I gained sisters for a lifetime! All of these experience have enhanced my education because I took chances and tried new things. Without these experiences, my educational attainment would not have been the same. I am grateful for all of my experiences, good or bad!
RFTS New 2017 Video
Speakers Shine at the Annual Reach for the Stars Gala!
The 2017 Reach for the Stars Gala inspired guests as they heard from GRASP students, a GRASP advisor, the Virginia Secretary of Education Dr. Dietra Trent (pictured), and the GRASP Young Professionals Committee co-chairs about the passionate and caring assistance GRASP provides to students in Virginia in their quest for education beyond high school. Guests also enjoyed delicious food, jazz music, and a silent auction benefiting GRASP programs that featured more than 90 items! Current Franklin Military Academy students, whose school is served by GRASP, provided a polished touch to the evening as they helped with checking guests in and closing out the silent auction. The GRASP Reach for the Stars Gala continues to be the capstone of the year for celebrating GRASP successes.
FAFSA season has started
GRASP advisors are now back at work in their schools helping students/families complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) which became available on October 1 for students attending school in the fall 2018 academic year. FAFSA assistance is GRASP's first priority with students, as the FAFSA is the basis for the financial aid package a student may receive from a school. In addition to FAFSA assistance, GRASP advisors help students with looking for scholarships for which they can apply as well as explaining financial aid award letters that they receive from the schools to which they have applied. All aspects of the financial aid process are important, and GRASP advisors are ready to help students all the way through the process!