MOHAVE COUNTY – Ricarda DeAnda is now a Mohave Community College alumna and is on the road to better her community by utilizing her degree.
DeAnda completed her Associates of Arts in Substance Abuse and Counseling. She decided to go into this program because she knew there was a need for it in the workforce and from personal experience.
“Nowadays substance abuse really affects almost everybody in some way or another so I really wanted to find a pathway that could help others in the most affecting way,” DeAnda said.
DeAnda chose MCC because it was close to home and its affordability. At the beginning she was paying for her tuition out of pocket because she wasn’t eligible for financial aid. But that changed one day when she was called into her advisor’s office.
“I got granted the Future Fund Award, so from that point forward it started to get my college paid for,” DeAnda said. “It’s specifically from MCC for students that don’t qualify for financial aid but shouldn’t be paying for their schooling at the same time.”
The Future Fund is a last dollar scholarship for Mohave County residents to help cover tuition and standard fees. Last dollar scholarships pay remaining tuition and standard fees after all other sources of grant and scholarship aid have paid.
DeAnda took the time to finish her schooling because she had a family and a job that she was also responsible for. She finished her degree at her own pace by taking classes that would fit her schedule.
Some advice she would give to other non-traditional students that haven’t taken the first step into continuing their education is to do it at your own pace.
“If you can only go for one class a semester or two classes a semester just get your foot in the door and go at your own pace,” DeAnda said.
DeAnda was involved in different MCC student organizations. She was treasurer of the Phi Theta Kappa-Lake Havasu chapter and Student Activities Council president. She was also in the MCC Strategic Planning Committee. After school she was involved with Young Adult Development Association of Havasu, where she worked on drug prevention for the youth in Lake Havasu.
DeAnda said her favorite part of student life was working on a food and clothing pantry for students MCC Lake Havasu students.
“I wanted to do something that was going to have a lasting effect on campus right before COVID happened a student and myself were putting together a food and clothing pantry because food insecurity is do high among college students,” DeAnda said.
The project has been put on hold but will hopefully resume when campuses open back up.
Before completed her degree, she was able to start a new job back in October 2019 with Arizona Youth Partnership as a prevention coordinator where she focuses on substance abuse prevention with the youth in the community.
For more information on the college Substance Abuse Counseling program, including contact information for the program director, head to https://www.mohave.edu/academics/certificates/substance-abuse-counseling.
The college is currently enrolling students for fall semester. Classes start August 24. Apply for free at https://apply.mohave.edu call 866-MOHAVECC (866-664-2832) for more information.