HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Kyla Mack, a former Henrico High School IB student who now studies at Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma, knows the daunting task students face while juggling heavy workloads, the stresses of a global pandemic, and keeping their mental health in check. Now she's doing something to help high school students like Tamorah Johnson.
Johnson knows exactly how she plans to make her mark once her school days are over.
"I’m looking into education," she said. "I want to be a teacher, an elementary school teacher."
But the high school student believes pandemic-related stress and the complexities of getting through the college planning process have weighed heavy on students.
"It’s so stressful and this is a new chapter in your life," she said.
That daunting process spurred Mack to create a solution to a problem she too faced as a student at Henrico High School.
"We didn’t know what we needed for applications, scholarships, and things like that," Mack said. "So there was a real need for some guidance."
The Oral Roberts University senior started Journey For Growth LLC.
The organization helps to guide high school students.
Mack finds scholarships that match their interests, helps get them organized, and sharpens their essay writing skills.
She also encourages students to stay on top of their mental health.
"These kids are at school all day long and they’re struggling with so many things," Mack said. "If I can take the load off of worrying about what you’re doing after school, that’s really important to me."
"I was struggling so much," Johnson said. "I’m a person who can easily get overwhelmed if there are lots of things on my plate, so this was a really big help to me."
Mack said the key for parents and students was to start this process early — sometime in 9th grade.
As an adolescent life coach, Mack said she's able to walk through the entire process with students and offers support through college and beyond.