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  Meet our Richmond Promise Summer Associates, Adriana, Asya, Kennedy, and Matthew
August 4, 2020

Richmond Promise is a program of the City of Richmond funded by the Chevron Environmental and Community Investment Agreement (ECIA). As of the fall of 2019, Richmond Promise had 1,200 scholars attending 90 colleges and universities.   

Hello Everyone!
It has been a summer like no other and over the past three months, we at Richmond Promise have been laser-focused on welcoming and supporting our largest incoming class of 500+ Scholars to a successful college transition.

One of the most special and impactful parts of our summer programming is our near-peer approach to student support. This summer, we had the opportunity to work with 21 of our very own Richmond Promise college student leaders, employed through Americorps VISTA, to provide critical support to rising RP Scholars. Over the past 8 weeks, under the guidance of RP Staff, Summer Associates assisted with hosting 30+ College Success Workshops, and providing one-on-one coaching for rising Scholars as they navigate the critical milestones to enrollment.  

As summer winds down, we will be taking a moment each week to introduce you to each of our awesome 21 Summer Associates. We will be featuring three to four Summer Associates each week. Read on to meet Adriana, Asya, Kennedy, and Matthew and learn more about the schools they are attending, their majors, their interests, and their “why” for college. 

We feel lucky for the opportunity to work with and learn from our Scholars on a daily basis, and we are excited for you, our community, to get to know them.

Thank you so much for your continued and ongoing support of the Richmond Promise!


Jessie and the Richmond Promise Team


Adriana Mendoza 


University of California, Davis

Hello, my name is Adriana Mendoza I am currently an upcoming junior at UC Davis. I attended Contra Costa College for three years. My major is cell biology. Hardships I deal with to this day are having a little sister who is Autistic and she constantly needs support from my whole family. At the same time, I am super grateful that she was put into our lives because it has expanded me mentally. I feel that without her I would not be the woman I am today, she has impacted me positively to where I see the world differently. Anna is one of my main motivations to continue with my education because due to her disability she will not be able to attend a university. I want to be able to accomplish that for her. Another motivation I have is that my parents were unable to continue their education because they were supporting my sisters and me throughout our lives. Getting my B.S. I will be able to show my parents that it was all worth it. 

Richmond Promise has played a major role in my success in transferring into a four-year university. Since the Richmond Promise cover my community college tuition, I was able to cut back on some hours at work so I could continue my studies and participate in activities at school. Especially during my last two semesters at community college, I ended up taking three STEM science course all with labs. This took a big toll on me mentally and physically to the point where I had to leave my job, my only source of income so I could apply myself more to my courses. Luckily, the Richmond Promise gave me the support I needed to not have to worry about how I was going to pay for my courses. Without them, I would have probably ended up dropping one of the courses and not being able to transfer in the fall.


Asya Saechao


University of California, Berkeley


I’m Asya Saechao, an incoming third year at UC Berkeley. I am currently studying Ethnic Studies and Education. Throughout my college journey, I have shuffled through numerous majors because I felt like I wanted to do everything. There were also a lot of factors that I was facing when determining what I wanted to study, for example, a stable job, family, etc. At the end of the day, I’ve decided to commit my studies to something I felt very passionately about whether it led to a “stable” job or not. I want to dedicate my studies/passion to something that mattered to me. Studying Ethnic Studies and Education is the best fit for me because I want to use the knowledge I learn and help support youth in my community to achieve higher education. I may not know what my future career is, but I know I’m on the right path.

Richmond Promise has helped me discover my passion and what I may want to do in the future. As an incoming Freshman in 2018, Richmond Promise was the extra financial support I needed in order to go to college because it is really expensive. After being a Summer Associate in 2019, it opened my eyes to the different opportunities I could pursue. Back then I was juggling between the majors Public Health and Political Economy. Being in the internship has allowed me to get a taste of what it means to work for a non-profit in education, and I really enjoyed it. Soon after the program ended, I decided to study Ethnic Studies and Education, and I am committed to continuing with this field. I am excited to be a summer associate again for summer 2020.



Kennedy Williams


 University of California, Berkeley


My name is Kennedy Kaye Williams, I am an incoming senior at the University of California, Berkeley majoring in Business Administration and my dream is to diversify the finance industry by increasing financial literacy in marginalized, African American communities. As an African American, Filipino, Spanish, Native American woman living in a low-income household, one can imagine how difficult it was growing up in a predominantly White affluent community. I was often socially excluded due to my ethnicity and my socioeconomic status further alienated me from my peers. It was uncomfortable, it was painful, but it has positively made me who I am today. Living paycheck to paycheck, being evicted from multiple homes and watching financial struggles inevitably tear my family apart, instilled in me a burning desire to never struggle with finances again in my own adult life. During my freshman year of college, I was exposed to finance. As I began to expand my juvenile understanding of the industry, I realized that I did not even know what the stock market was or how it operated. Meanwhile, my White peers had already begun investing and accumulating wealth in high school. This sparked my desire to empower young Black women and men with self-reliance to accumulate wealth through financial literacy. I am ambitious, I am determined, and I am eager to uplift others to recognize their own potential through finance.


Matthew Pizano


San Jose State University


Growing up as a first-generation Mexican-American, education and family support was always emphasized by my parents as the key to success. With limited opportunities in Mexico, both my parents immigrated to the United States in search of a better future for their family. Although hardworking, both my parents found it difficult to assimilate to a new culture, due to a limited grasp of English and minimal education. Although it was not easy for my parents, they stretched every penny so we didn’t have to worry about food, clothing, or shelter. They are the reason for my pursuit of higher education. For this reason, I am fortunate to be able to have the opportunity to be an incoming sophomore at San Jose State University and major in Kinesiology.
I find Kinesiology interesting because as a former soccer player and gym fanatic, I enjoy learning about the physicality of our bodies and the rehabilitation of injuries. I have already gained some insight on the type of treatment and science that is involved in Kinesiology, but I want the opportunity to learn more. Majoring in Kinesiology with a concentration on exercise science will help me acquire the knowledge to pursue a Doctorate in physical therapy. I want to work one-on-one with patients who come from underprivileged neighborhoods like me and need care providers who can understand their cultural, economic, and physical background. I can contribute my experiences as the son of immigrant parents who prioritize work over their health and as an athlete who couldn’t stand the idea of taking a break from the gym to recover from my bodily injuries. By playing soccer and seeing my dad and other family members work labor-intensive jobs, I can relate and empathize with people who have also gone through physical damages to their bodies. My goal is to one day help improve their physical injuries and overall well-being. My Latino culture has instilled in me a desire to work and help those in my community as if they were also part of my family. I think that will help me excel as I pursue a career toward becoming a physical therapist.

The Richmond Promise has become a significant support system for my pursuit of higher education. Since graduating from high school, they have helped with my transition to college with workshops and 1-on-1 meetings to make sure I was aware of the necessary steps to enroll in colleges and the many resources provided by our educational institutions. Besides the great academic support they provide, the scholarship's financial support has also given me a helping hand to pay the expenses of living in on-campus dorms. With the support of the Richmond Promise, I was able to adapt to and overcome the many obstacles students face in their transition from high school to college.


Our Summer Associates are preparing to continue college this Fall. You can support them and our community of 1000+ Scholars on their path through higher education by Giving Today.





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