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Umoja Sakhu: Educating the Whole Student, Mind, Body, and Spirit

Umoja is a Kiswahili word meaning unity and focuses on the importance of togetherness among family and among members of a community.

Sakhu is a Kemetic or Egyptian term that describes the study of or the illumination of the human spirit.

Umoja Sakhu at ARC is a community of learners seeking to illuminate and touch the spirit of our students.

Why join the Umoja Sakhu Community?

The Umoja Sakhu Learning Community (USLC) at American River College is open to all students and is specifically designed to increase the retention and success rate as well as the graduation and transfer rates of African ancestry students.

With an emphasis on topics relevant to the African American experience, the curriculum focuses on improving reading, writing, self-discipline and critical thinking skills. Program counselors also provide assistance with the personal issues that often hinder African American students in an educational setting.

The Umoja Sakhu motto is to be "intentional and deliberate" in providing students with a variety of tools and resources which help them in achieving their goals. Instructors, counselors and program staff also use community building strategies to enhance students' learning potential.

Umoja Sakhu Learning Community

A community of learners seeking to illuminate and touch the spirit.

Umoja Sakhu Learning Community

Our Vision and Goals

Umoja Sakhu is a powerful learning community experience that transforms and touches students’ lives by providing a supportive and safe environment where every voice is heard and acknowledged.

The Goals of Umoja Sakhu:

  • To enhance the cultural and educational experience of ARC students through exposing them to knowledge and ideas with an African/African American emphasis.
  • To increase student success in achieving their educational goals.

Prospective Students

Success in Umoja Sakhu requires:

  • High level of motivation and dedication from the student
  • Participation in Umoja Sakhu activities and support services
  • Meeting with your Umoja Sakhu counselor each semester

 What are the benefits of participating in Umoja Sakhu?

  • Strong support system and personal attention
  • Culturally relevant instruction from caring faculty
  • Peer tutoring
  • Motivational/cultural workshops
  • Participation in Umoja Community statewide events

Umoja Sakhu Courses

Students participating in the Umoja Sakhu Learning Community choose from the following courses and academic enrichment opportunities for the Spring 2021 semester:

Fall 2021 Umoja Sakhu Learning Community Courses:

ENGWR 94/300 - College Composition with Support
ENGWR 300 - College Composition
ENGWR 302 - College Composition and Critical Thinking
ENGWR 480 – Honors College Composition and Critical Thinking
HCD 310 – College Success
PSYC 300 – General Principles of Psychology
PSYC 330 – Introductory Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences
STAT 300 & 10 – Introduction to Statistics with Support

Fall 2021 Umoja Sakhu Supported or Recommended Classes:

BIOL 300 – Foundations of Biology (Topinka)
BIOL 310 – General Biology + Lab (Topinka)
ECE 314 & ECE 430 – Child, Family & Community; Culture & Diversity (A. Cervantes)
PHYS 310 – Conceptual Physics (Zarate)
SOC 301 – Social Problems (Sacha)
SOC 320 - Minorities in America (Chao)

Umoja Sakhu Village Time

What is Village Time?

Village Time is a time for ARC's Umoja Sakhu Learning Community, Umoja Sakhu friends and family members and community elders to come together to be in community. It is a time to support one another, learn from one another, enlighten one another and most importantly, love on one another. It is also a time for Umoja Sakhu students to be engaged and to feel supported in their academic pursuits. Some examples of Village Time activities include porchtalk, workshops, tutoring, peer mentoring and study time. Join us in our Village space.

Without a community you cannot be yourself.  The community is where we draw the strength needed to effect changes inside of us.  Community is formed each time more than one person meets for a purpose.  Development of community depends on what the people involved consent to.  What one acknowledges in the formation of the community is the possibility of doing together what is impossible to do alone.

A true community begins in the hearts of the people involved.  It is not a place of distraction but a place of being.  It is not a place where you reform, but a place you go home to.  Finding a home is what people in community try and accomplish.  In community it is possible to restore a supportive presence for one another, rather than distrust of one another or competitiveness with one another.

Quotes by Malidoma Patrice Somè

Contact Umoja Sakhu

For more information or to join Umoja Sakhu, please contact us.

We welcome interested students who stand to benefit from a culturally relevant program focused on students of the African diaspora.  Please complete the following steps:

  1. Submit an online application to American River College.
  2. Attend an informational meeting to learn more about the Umoja Sakhu Learning Community and what is expected of students.  Email for a schedule of upcoming information meetings or contact any of the community elders below and provide your contact information:

Dr. Judy Mays, Umoja Sakhu Counselor/Coordinator
(916) 484-8287

Kim Herrell, Umoja Sakhu Counselor/Coordinator
(916) 484-8387

Jeri Marshall, Outreach Specialist
(916) 484-8095

Tanisha Jenkins, Umoja Sakhu Student Personnel Assistant
(916) 877-5014

Donate to Umoja Sakhu through the ARC Office of Philanthropy

As the Umoja Sakhu Learning Community continues to expand to reach more students, we are growing while state resources are drying up and our students cannot wait.  We must be proactive in seeking additional resources to sustain the level of service that our students need and deserve.  Your investment in our students will go a long way in helping to affirm the value of getting a college education and will also support the idea of building stronger and better communities by giving back.

Los Rios employees may donate to Umoja Sakhu through monthly payroll deductions by completing a payroll deduction form and submitting it to our Office of Philanthropy.

You may also make contributions to the ARC Umoja Sakhu Go Fund Me account, or contribute through the Office of Philanthropy by following the instructions below:

  1. Click on "Donate Today" on the red toolbar.
  2. Scroll down to Designation and select "Other."
  3. Type Umoja Sakhu in the box provided.
  4. Complete the billing information.

We are eternally grateful to you for taking the time to visit our site and most importantly, for your generous contribution!

Please feel free to contact any member of the Umoja Sakhu fundraising team below for any additional information:

Judy Mays, PhD


Umoja Sakhu Learning Community

(916) 484-8287 (Office)


Kim Herrell, MA


Umoja Sakhu Learning Community

(916) 484-8387 (Office)


Martha McClellan-Morehouse, MA, LMFT

Fundraising Committee Co-Chair

Umoja Sakhu Learning Community

Umoja Sakhu Program

Umoja Sakhu is open to all students and increases the success, graduation, and transfer rates of African ancestry students. For more information, email Umoja Sakhu.

Umoja Sakhu
Virtual Village

To Be Announced
Via ConferZoom
See Umoja Sakhu Canvas site for link to join the sessions.