by Janeal Downs
Because of her own personal experiences, Ashanti Alford was inspired to make a difference as a counselor who works with troubled teens and married couples. “I have seen situations where children tend to act out as result of parents divorcing, ” Ashanti stated in an essay. “Simply, this becomes a call for help which most families do not understand.” Going through her own situations when she was younger, Ashanti knows the feeling of not having someone to confide in. She wants to be that person for adolescents in the future.
In order to accomplish her goal of becoming a counselor, Ashanti plans to attend Old Dominion University and major in psychology. At first she wanted to go to a school in North Carolina, but she decided to instead stay in Virginia. One of the reasons why she chose ODU over other universities is because of the school’s popularity and its science program. The program even has a science community with mostly students in majors such as psychology and biology. “College will be the catalyst to turning my dream into a reality,” Ashanti stated. “The 15 page research papers, 2-3 hours of homework and late nights of studying all helped me get this far.”
While she is still in high school, she maintains a 3.8 GPA. One lesson she will take with her to college is to make sure she takes studying seriously. In the past she played Volleyball and she is in her school’s choir and show choir. She enjoys singing so much; in fact, it is one of her favorite activities. She sings modern day music and she used to sing opera. Her other favorite activity is working. Ashanti currently works at City Hall for Richmond Public Schools. With this job she has been able to improve her customer service skills and “really learned how to be professional, especially with answering the calls.”
Outside of extracurricular, working and school she also volunteers. She volunteers for Parks & Recreation where she is a homework tutor and supervises the children when they go outside to play. She has also helped with Pocahontas State Park Clean Up, Camp Diva Makeover Day and THINKPINK Organization. In the past, she worked with the Mayors Youth
Academy Life Stage Program in their culinary arts and cosmetology programs.
Going to college will offer Ashanti a way to not only find a career but also a way to provide for her family. Because she works hard to take care of her children, Ashanti’s mom is one of her biggest inspirations in life. Not only does she have goals of providing for her family but also giving back to those who need assistance. “I’m very determined and I won’t let anybody knock my dreams,” Ashanti said. “I make strides to be the best that I can at all times.”