A reflection by StepUp Durham's intern Herb Brown, MSW student at NC State
As a second-year Master of Social Work student at North Carolina State University last fall, I wanted to find an internship that would value my skills and experience, but--more importantly--one that operated from a racial equity perspective, while encouraging staff to be innovative and to think outside of the box. I wanted to be a part of an agency that regarded participants as the most valuable and important stakeholders. From working with Syretta Hill, StepUp Durham's Executive Director, on past community organizing projects, I knew that any organization led by her would have these components built into the DNA; and I was right.
I have been privileged to be a part of StepUp Durham’s birth and growth over the last eight months, and elated to be a part of the synergetic problem-solving process of this team. The time I was able to share in workshops with our amazing participants has been highly rewarding. I am thankful for the opportunity to support their visions, their goals, their success, and their growth. I truly believe there is something special about Durham that gives this program an advantage. The people of Durham are hungry for growth and opportunity, willing to put in the time and effort to achieve that growth, and willing to push back against injustice, oppression, and racial disparities of all kinds. The rich history of Durham is like a fertile soil, able to produce an abundance if we simply plant the seeds, tend the crops, and prepare for the harvest. I believe the spirit of StepUp Durham is to treat people in terms of their potential and not their position. This is a forward thinking, visionary group that dedicates time to synergetic deliberation around complex problems and tough participant situations.
I look forward to continuing my relationship with StepUp Durham after I graduate next month by applying to the Board of Directors. No matter what though, I will remain a part of the StepUp family for life! This was an amazing year and this program has definitely helped me grow just as much as any of our participants. Thank you to the entire team for a great year, and keep fighting the good fight! We will prevail!