During the summer of eighth grade, Ricky joined Advantage Lancaster, a non-profit mentoring program that extends learning opportunities for Lancaster County students throughout the school year and into the summer.
Over the next five years, Ricky became more and more involved in the Advantage Lancaster community. He spent most of his time with Advantage Lancaster attending community service activities, as well as after-school and summer programs.
Through Advantage Lancaster’s 5 principles—education, community service, wellness, small business opportunities, and art appreciation—Ricky learned life lessons which he still holds with him today. “The program taught me a lot of things, but the most important thing I learned was to take every opportunity you have,” Ricky explains.
Ricky remembers Jenn Meadows—High School Director for Advantage Lancaster—helping him make the decision to push himself academically. With the help of Jenn and Advantage Lancaster, Ricky made the decision to pursue a dual enrollment at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology to achieve his high school diploma. Since his academic decision, Ricky appreciates the opportunities placed in front of him and jumps at a chance to pursue them, refusing to leave any room for regret.
“Advantage Lancaster is one of the reasons I strive for success because I want people to see how they raise their kids to be successful. If I can reach success, it is the same as Advantage Lancaster reaching success, because people will see it as something Advantage Lancaster had a hand in. They would then want to give their kids the same success Advantage Lancaster helped me reach, and in the long run it’ll help improve our youth,” Ricky says.
Today, Ricky looks back on his time with Advantage Lancaster as a positive experience, stating, “Without Advantage Lancaster, I wouldn’t be in my second year of college at 18, I wouldn’t have had the drive to succeed at everything I do, and, most importantly, I wouldn’t have learned how to present myself properly when meeting new people.”
Advantage Lancaster strives to prepare students for higher education and ultimately a future career through various opportunities. Our “Just A Kid” Campaign is designed to recognize past and present Advantage Lancaster students and their successes. Help us provide opportunities for students like Ricky by getting involved!