Rapper Anthony “Dappa” Samuels of West Philadelphia co-founded the Young With Options Academic Center, which mostly assists low-income families in the neighborhood. He hopes to open more daycares in the future, though the center has operated for many years.
The 30-year-old artist helped launch the company in 2017 after quitting his job as an accountant. During an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, he said, “I love being able to be there and be hands-on. I take a lot of pride in that, and it actually helps me with music and in life.”
According to its website, the academic center “seeks to provide high-quality, safe, and engaging education to our young scholars.”
In addition, the group says that the daycare accepts all families and offers opportunities “that some children may not be able to experience outside of our center” in an effort to develop “the leaders of tomorrow.”
The rapper collaborates with his assistant director, Dinnelle Jordan, to plan numerous workshops at YWO that are aimed toward creativity, such as poetry, music, and acting exercises. He takes delight in leading by example for the children enrolled in the daycare.
“We believe that it is important to introduce and assist children with performing at their highest potential while growing with us,” a statement on YWO’s website read.
Samuels is also no stranger to the circumstances from which many of the children come, having grown up in the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood of North Philadelphia. He aims to open more daycares and make a greater impact on the lives of youngsters. “It’s all about me making a difference,” he explained.
Janelle Walls, the mother of a 7-year-old YWO student, attested to the academy’s effectiveness. She stated that Samuels has been preaching positivism since her daughter joined the school six years ago. He even helped her family when they couldn’t afford the childcare expenses, she said.
“Everything about him and what he does is consistent with the ‘Young With Options brand’,” Walls told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “To me, it’s a message to kids that you can be yourself and still be successful.”