Getting to Know You - part 3

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Release Date: 
Tuesday, December 11, 2018

I met my friend Cece at the very beginning of our AmeriCorps journey. We attended pre-service orientation in Philly together, and I was immediately struck by her vibrant style and laid back personality. After some conversation, we realized we had many  hared experiences (and live pretty close to each other in New Jersey!). As she took some time to catch up with me recently, I was deeply impressed with the wealth of knowledge she shared about persistence and being true to one's self.

What made you interested in AmeriCorps? 

I felt out of tune with myself and my surroundings. Have you heard the saying “the nest is too small”? Well that is exactly how I felt. Not just living at my parents’ house - I felt dry and useless back at New Jersey too.

Somewhere out there my soul cries out to serve. At the same time, I wanted my volunteering to serve a double purpose in my quest. I recently graduated from Seton Hall University and my next step was law school. My instinct wasn’t pleased with the idea of jumping into law school straight from undergrad. Knowing about Peace Corps drew me to AmeriCorps - I did not want to be too far away from my family. AmeriCorps is the best option as I get to help communities in areas I am passionate about, while at the  same time it allows me to figure out if this is something I can see myself doing for a career.

I know you're currently in Montana working with Native American communities. What are the biggest issues that you feel this community faces within the criminal justice system?

This is just my personal view on the tribal Justice system: “Discretionary implicit bias and failure to exercise discretionary power in cases that needed it the most.”

I read in your bio that you grew up with 8 siblings. I can't even imagine what that was like growing up! How did growing up in such a large family shape your personal outlook? 

I dealt with all the personalities under one roof that you can imagine! From the type that make you want to pull your hair out to the type that will give you the sweetest hugs ever. No matter which type they are, I learned one or two good values from each of them. Today, I can honestly live anywhere with anyone and get along great with them, and vice versa. That is the power of coming from a big family.

You have such a lively, fun personality! This struck me as soon as I met you - I imagine your coworkers adored you immediately. How have you incorporated your personality into the legal workplace?

My two big pieces of advice that work for me are acknowledgment and spreading happiness. Every morning before I have my breakfast, I make sure I say good morning to everyone in the office to acknowledge their presence.

Being happy and letting people know you acknowledge them goes a long way. For example, when I host my own meetings or do community outreach, I try to have the people engaged as much as I can. Ice breakers are always fun and the best way to do it.

However, always be mindful of the four personality types of performers: 1. ) The yes; 2.) The maybe (“as long I don’t have to speak up”); 3.) The “I'll do it if there is prize(s)”; 4.) The too shy

I come from a family of immigrants myself, and am so proud to see you working hard and making a positive impact on the world. I can't wait to see what you continue to accomplish - I'll be cheering you on all along your journey!

What do you wish Americans knew about Haitian people and your culture?

We are rich not by money, gold, oil, or fine clothes but by the synthesis of our love for our nation.  I want everyone to know that no matter how culturally mixed we become, Haitian people will forever love eating our Haitian food.

Last question - What is your favorite phrase in French?

“C'est la vie” - This is life and “Je choisis d'avancer” - I choose to move forward. I find myself constantly having to remind myself that sometimes in life I cannot control what goes around me, but I can control how it affects me.