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Introducing Aspire’s 2023 Don Shalvey Award Winners!

We are thrilled to introduce our 2023 Don Shalvey: Changing the Odds Award Winners!

Created in 2009 to honor Aspire’s founder, Don Shalvey, the award recognizes alumni who are the first in their families to graduate from college, tenacious in pursuit of their post-secondary goals, and who demonstrate Aspire’s Core Value of Community Partnership by giving back. Each year, one winner is selected from each of Aspire’s three regions.

This year’s award recipients are Dariana Lopez, Belen Naranjo, and Eunique Tucker! Read on to learn more about these outstanding, service-oriented alumni, all of whom are pursuing careers in helping professions.

Dariana Lopez
Dariana is part of Aspire Ollin University Preparatory Academy‘s graduating class of 2018. After graduating high school, she attended California State University Los Angeles, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in rehabilitation services in 2022. She has always had a passion for helping others and giving back to her community, so while in college, she started volunteering at Ollin. Her dream has always been to be an academic counselor and help students fulfill their educational goals. She then eventually became an employee at Ollin. She was honored to inspire and work with students who come from communities like herself and provide opportunities to help them succeed, which she did by working alongside academic counselors as an assistant. Now, she is excited to move forward to obtain her master’s degree of science in school counseling at California State University Northridge, to pursue an ultimate goal of becoming a school counselor.

Belen Naranjo
After graduating from Aspire Benjamin Holt College Preparatory Academy in 2019, Belen went to California State University Northridge where she entered as a criminology major. Thanks to the curriculum at Ben Holt, she already had most of her general education credit completed and began college with sophomore standing. She is grateful for her time at Aspire as she felt better prepared than those around her to be in the college setting. After her first few months, she decided to pursue studying child and adolescent development with applied developmental sciences, receiving her bachelor’s in May 2022. She is now preparing to attend Sacramento State in fall 2023, where she looks forward to obtaining a master’s in social work in order to give back to the community.

Eunique Tucker
After Eunique graduated from Aspire Richmond California College Preparatory Academy in 2015, she attended UC Davis where she received her bachelor’s in psychology. She then took a gap year and worked in Applied Behavior Analytics and the California Highway Patrol. In 2020, she began her doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Loma Linda University. She is very proud to say that she has persisted to the end of her third year. She is currently completing practicum hours working with teens at Jurupa Hills High School and serving the San Bernardino County community at the SBH Resiliency Clinic. During her time at Loma Linda, she has also had the chance to work in vaccine advocacy through a couple of churches in the community with the goal of increasing vaccine rates within the Black community, as well as giving presentations about mental health to the families of J.O. Ford Elementary in Richmond, CA.