We’re so lucky at NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley to have a staff of hardworking, committed team-players who work tirelessly at our mission of building affordable housing and enriching community life.
In this series, you’ll get to know the people behind the work.
Tell us about yourself.
I have been working to take care of my family since I was 14 years old. My first job was at a youth summer camp. Since then, I’ve supported the growth and development of students from Kindergarten through Medical School.
There was a time, though, when the only work I could find was in a factory, and it changed my mindset forever. Since then, I’ve advocated for social, racial, economic and environmental justice in local, state and national meetings. My sights are set on international meetings. I have been an Instructor for the Rutgers School of Social Work since 2016. I taught the state child welfare workers who once cared for me when I was a foster child. And fun fact! I was hired by Rutgers to speak and to teach before I was accepted as an undergraduate student.
It took me a long time to get my Bachelor’s degree but I graduated Magna Cum Laude. How? Motivational Music. I went to Raritan Valley Community College and learned Business Administration. For my Master’s degree, I attended my dream school, the Columbia University School of Social Work. This was the school that helped write and implement the Social Security Act. I studied Policy Practice and Economics for International Affairs. I respect and appreciate people from all cultures, and I walk the walk.
What do you do at NWBRV?
I am the new Director of Community Building & Engagement and I do what I love!
I work with a great team to support our education programs, residential services, housing security through our Accessing Home AmeriCorps program, and economic development for small businesses through our work at Millrace.
I also have the privilege and honor of representing our organization and advocating for the people we serve.
My favorite thing to do is get the word out about our amazing opportunities! I do not want anyone to miss out.
How long have you been working with NWBRV, and how did you start working with the organization?
I joined NWBRV in July 2021. I studied and served Rhode Island during my time with the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Margaux Morriseau is the Chair of Rhode Island’s State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and she saw first-hand my commitment, discipline, and energy towards justice for all.
What are you most excited for in working with NWBRV? What are your goals, hopes and dreams for your job?
Like everyone else here, I’m excited to change lives, make dreams come true, and work with others to accomplish the impossible.
I have a goal to help adults go back to school and have fun, especially the adults who thought college was no longer possible! I dream of seeing our residents write and publish their own books. A hope I have is to create a club of self-starters, a group of people who learn things for ourselves, like how to patent and copyright our work, design and sell our own clothes and shoes, and write and direct our own music videos and movies. I dream of having a NWBRV community production studio.
As Dr. King said, “I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits!”
What inspires you to do this work?
I am inspired by the miracles and successes that I have witnessed. The people who have mentored me and the young people who I have mentored have given me inspiration to last for the rest of my life. I am inspired by strong and beautiful people who do the right thing even when it is hard. I am inspired by those who have faith against all odds. I want and LOVE to help.
There were days when the only resource I had was inspiration. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Courage breeds creativity”, and that quote encourages me a lot.