Ivanna Garza, with mom Ada in middle, and Josue Palma won MAP scholarships.

Ivanna Garza, with mom Ada in middle, and Josue Palma won MAP scholarships.

Students MAP their way to success with YMCA program

MARYSVILLE – When Trevaun Reeves came to Marysville in the eighth grade, she heard the racial slurs.

“Like why do I speak the way I do? That stuck with me,” she said.

So last year, she started the Black Student Union at Marysville Getchell High School.

Her goal as founder and president is to help create academic excellence, positive self image and equity for people who look like her.

“I found out who I could be for others,” she said, adding she plans to attend Central Washington University next year and become a motivational speaker.

Marysville-Pilchuck senior Ivanna Garza said the BSU is not only good for MG, but all of Marysville.

“People of color get together, support each other and get involved,” she said. “It’s something our community really, really needs.”

Reeves and Garza were speaking as part of the recent 19th annual Recognition and Scholarship Banquet for the YMCA’s My Achiever Program.

“We’re here to celebrate an amazing group of students,” said M-P grad Deborah Parker, director of Equity, Diversity and Indigenous Education at the Marysville School District.

She then sang and drummed a Native American song of protection, especially for the seniors.

“This is a great night,” superintendent Jason Thompson said, adding, It’s great to see “your families here to support you.”

Garza, the master of ceremonies, got an early start with MAP as her mom, Ada, has been a part of it for 11 years and is now coordinator.

“I was more prepared for college than middle school,” she joked, referring to how hard the program works to get students to go to college.

She said MAP connects people of color and gets them to focus on education with after-school help. “It’s life changing,” she said of the academic and emotional support of the staff. “I wish more people had access to it.”

Garza told her fellow MAP members: “Please don’t take it for granted – take advantage of it.”

JJ Frank, executive director of the YMCA, said he made some bad choices when he was young, but Ray Sievers, husband of his third-grade teacher, Mary, became his mentor and helped him become successful.

“I wanted to start a program like that,” he said.

So in 2001, he started the Minority Achievers Program, which has now changed its name to become more inclusive. He said many of the kids who started in that program are now directors with MAP.

“You can be anything you want to be,” he told the kids. “Your voice means something. You matter.”

Another speaker at the event was Kyle Yund, another M-P senior. When he joined MAP, he thought it would be a simple study hall.

“It was a lot more than that,” he said, adding he was the only white kid in the room.

He said it was a joy to be around people of different races. “I grew so much” in my appreciation of other people, he said. “It became more about them than me.”

Yund said it helped him decide to go to Boise State and get a degree in Human Resources. “Strength lies in our differences – not our similarities,” he said.

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Other news from the event

•Wells Fargo donated $25,000 to the program.

•Garza and Josue Palma of M-P each received $500 MAP scholarships.

•Reeves won the Sievers-Frank award.

•MAP needs more volunteers and mentors and wants to partner with other groups.

•The newest MAP site is at Tulalip Heritage High School.

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What’s MAP?

My Achievers Program motivates and advocates for disadvantaged and underrepresented youth to achieve higher education goals. Focused on social justice, MAP encourages students to have meaningful conversations about culture, identity, social responsibility and more. Homework assistance, preparation for transition to high school, and opportunities for college and career exploration are provided.

Deborah Parker sings and drums a Native American song.

Deborah Parker sings and drums a Native American song.

Award winners line up in front of the audience.

Award winners line up in front of the audience.

Crowd members applaud for an honoree.

Crowd members applaud for an honoree.

A diverse crowd attended the event.

A diverse crowd attended the event.

Guests were treated to a buffet dinner.

Guests were treated to a buffet dinner.

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