Education, income and mental health disparities within the Asian Pacific American (APA) community continue to impact their higher education journey. To help address the needs of APA students, McDonald’s is launching APA Next, an education program aimed at empowering and uplifting students throughout their academic journey – both in the classroom and beyond with financial and personal development resources. Both the distribution of income among APAs being the most unequal among all racial and ethnic groups, paired with a higher level of unmet mental health needs and lower level of mental health service engagement among APA youth, showcase the need for programs like APA Next.
As part of its commitment to feeding and fostering communities, McDonald’s is building on 14 years of providing support and advancement opportunities for APA students with APA Next. Via a series of content that offers career advice from leading APA voices to online mental health resources through Shine, a self-care app founded by two women of color, this diverse toolbox of resources is designed to help students and families prepare for “what’s next” in modern academia.
“The ongoing social disruptions have not only reshaped the education landscape, but also student priorities and needs,” says Willie Cho, Seattle, WA-based McDonald's USA Owner/Operator and National Diversity Marketing Committee Lead. “We’re listening, and through APA Next, we are honored to extend our support of students by providing inspiration and resources they need to succeed, which we know go beyond scholarships.”
Starting today, a dedicated website, APAnext.com, will house the program’s student and family-focused developmental resources, which include:
APA Next Content Series – A new episodic series led by notable APA thought leaders to provide feel-good inspiration and advice to students. In the first episode, available today, actress and activist Ally Maki shares how to seek out spaces and communities that enable students to become their most authentic self. Upcoming episodes, released monthly, will feature Teen Vogue Editor-in-Chief Versha Sharma, RISE founder and activist Amanda Nguyen, and content creator Nick Cho (@YourKoreanDad).
Shine App Partnership – A collaboration developed to offer mental health resources to APA students who are tackling education stress and social pressures. The resources include a custom meditation session and a playlist of additional meditations and storytelling sessions curated with the modern APA student in mind, available to listen in the Shine app today. McDonald’s is also offering free Shine Premium memberships* that can be redeemed through APAnext.com.
“Being a student has always been hard, but heightened pressures and challenges make it increasingly more difficult for today’s students. We want students to know it’s okay, and vital, to prioritize their mental health needs,” said Naomi Hirabayashi, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Shine, who set out to create a more inclusive mental health resource in the world of wellness. “We’re proud to work with McDonald’s to address the role self-care plays in helping students prioritize themselves, throughout the journey of being a student.
APA Next will also encompass previous education initiatives that McDonald’s offers:
The McDonald’s/APIA Scholarship – A $500,000 scholarship program to help provide financial support to students through APIA Scholars, the nation's largest non-profit organization devoted to providing higher education access for APA students. Both four-year and one-year scholarship applications for the 2022-2023 academic year will be available in September 2021.
Education Workshops – Now in its 14th year, the annual summer workshop series features seminars and talks led by education professionals to help students and families navigate the college admissions process from the comfort of their own home. The livestreamed workshops will start later this summer.