Meet Christelle Ndong, StepUp MSW Intern from NC Central University


As a northern transplant, I never thought I’d come to enjoy living and studying in The Triangle.  After being here for a year without working, I decided it was time to kick myself into gear. Once I found employment, I began to feel as if I was part of the community. Work provided an income and something to do, but it still didn’t fulfill my desire to help others. You see, I am a helper. I have loved helping people since I was a youngster on the playground who gave away her lunch to kids who didn’t have anything to eat. I am passionate about helping people whom society seems to have forgotten about, cast aside, or just simply mistreated. So yes, my job gave me a chance to help others but I wanted to do more! One day, a casual conversation with a friend changed how I saw my passion. My friend had recently completed her masters in social work and mentioned that she thought I would enjoy learning about social work and different ways to help individuals in society.

Though I was skeptical about returning to school, support from my friends and family bolstered my confidence. I was accepted into the Masters of Social Work program at North Carolina Central University, and am now entering my second year in the program. The social work curriculum requires students to have an internship each year, and that’s where StepUp Durham comes in!

Though I had a wonderful internship experience in my first year, I wanted to try something completely different. Luckily for me, amazing field placement advisors took the time to listen to my wants, and encouraged me to look into StepUp Durham. This was another life changing experience! Quickly after reading about the work StepUp was doing, I knew this was where I wanted to be.

StepUp Durham’s mission to transform lives through job and life skills training is no different than many other organizations. Yet their approach and model is what sets them far apart. After meeting current and past participants and seeing the tremendous changes in their lives, I am even more drawn to the work we do. I am so excited to grow with them and change the lives of job seekers in Durham, one Employment Readiness Workshop at a time.

Christelle is a New Jersey native who suddenly found herself enjoying some ‘southern hospitality.' After getting her B.S. in Psychology from Delaware State University, she moved to North Carolina and enrolled in NCCU’s rigorous masters of social work program. Christelle has worked with a variety of clients with mental health and developmental challenges, and is passionate about supporting those who cannot yet support themselves. Christelle has also lived abroad and has interests international social work, as well as supporting those in her local community.

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