Meet Our Summer Associates: Ryen Amirah Reed
Ryen Amirah Reed currently attends Howard University and is a member of the class of 2026. A 2022 graduate of Berkeley High School, Ryen plans to major in Political Science at Howard.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Is there anything in particular that motivates you as you go through college and prepare yourself for a career?
A: I have lived in Richmond for significant portions of my life even though I graduated from a high school in another school district for personal reasons. I completed elementary and middle school in Richmond, as well as participated in activities that greatly contributed to my present successes. This includes being an a Member of the Diploma Program at East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, being a Summer Volunteer with the City of Richmond Community Services Department and getting my first job through the City of Richmond YouthWorks Summer Intern Program. These and other opportunities here in Richmond provided inspiration for my desire to do well in college and be able to come back home and give back to the community that raised me. Through my educational, extracurricular and volunteer experiences, I have seen firsthand how great Richmond is, but also that there is a need for more resources and support for many. With my aspiration of being an attorney, I plan to advocate for the rights of children, youth and families while also being the voice of the voiceless.
Q: How has Richmond Promise played a role in your education?
A: Richmond Promise has amplified my confidence in knowing I can do anything I put my mind to and that I belong everywhere my life journey may bring me. The encouraging words, guidance and information provided by Richmond Promise mentors have helped me to make the decision to attend college on the East Coast, far away from my family and other natural supports. Even with the distance, I have received consistent support from Richmond Promise via email, telephone calls, video meetings and even in person in Washington, D.C. where I attend college.
Q: Why did you choose to be a Richmond Promise Summer Associate and what are you hoping to take from the experience?
A: I chose to be a Richmond Promise Summer Associate in hopes of being able to give back to other youth in Richmond, especially those making plans for their future. I wanted to hopefully be a role model or mentor to show that “you too can make it because I did.” Being in Richmond Promise and having mentors with real lived experiences helped make things I was unfamiliar with seem more achievable.
Q: What do you want to contribute to Richmond and/or the world?
A: My future contributions to Richmond and the world after completing my higher education would be to not only advocate but also create changes with my actions so everyone has fair access and opportunities regardless of their differences. I want to make changes so that there are more opportunities for children, youth and families to have all of their basic needs met and to be able to pursue their dreams like I have. I want to represent the underrepresented and to do my part to see children from the communities that raised me be safe and have good educational opportunities so that they can live and be able to thrive.
Q: Can you tell us about your current college experience?
A: I have always dreamed of attending a HBCU before I even entered elementary school, so to now be attending Howard University has been a very rich and rewarding experience. I also always knew I wanted to go away for college but never imagined living so far away from my family. As an only child, I was a little nervous to leave home, but the encouragement, love and support from family, friends and mentors made the transition easier. I really enjoyed my first year of college and I am already looking forward to going back in the fall.
Q: What are you looking forward to after receiving your bachelor’s/transferring?
A: After completing my Bachelor’s degree I plan to pursue a Law degree. I recently added a minor of Criminology, which I believe will help me in figuring out what type of law practice I’m most interested in. Prior to wanting to be a lawyer, I planned to pursue a degree in Forensics, but then after taking Social Justice courses in high school, I knew that Social Justice for all was a true passion of mine.