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Student Spotlight: Serving Local Communities in Big Ways

Shahnee Haire Headshot
Image copyright: Fayetteville Observer

By Deidra Craig, Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences

Youth, Family, and Community Sciences graduate certificate student and Durham native Shahnee Haire exemplifies hard work in her roles as a regional public educator with the Robeson County Department of Public Health and founder of the mobile youth development organization Workshops on Wheels (WOW).

Haire is enrolled in the Youth Development and Leadership graduate certificate program and credits her experience in the program as one of the reasons for her success.

“The program has really impacted me: It gave me a better understanding about millennials, the baby boomer generation, and multi-generational homes and how to use that information when I go into the multi-generational workforce, working with a variety of backgrounds,” she says.

With three years of experience as a regional public educator, Haire serves a total of nine counties by connecting, encouraging and speaking with local stakeholders – school administrators, medical professionals, public health educators, etc. – about increasing and promoting physical activity among local youth.

That’s not all. As the leader of WOW, her mission is to educate, empower and expose youth to topics of self-esteem, educational opportunities, college preparation, bullying prevention and more.

“It’s a very broad organization that really develops great citizens of tomorrow,” she says.

While Haire is making an impact as a student in her program at NC State, and in many of the state’s communities as a regional public educator, she has also worked hard to support Hurricane Matthew relief efforts, working about 40-50 hours at the Red Cross, Saint Paul’s Shelter with the Robeson County Department of Public Health and the Department of Social Services.

“We all came together and worked night shifts,” she says. “The majority of the residents were bused in from Lumberton to have a safe location. I volunteered because I really wanted to make sure that the people I just met … who became close friends … were being treated right and that they had all the things they needed, which a majority of the time they did. The community came out in full force with clothes and toiletry items.”

Through her work with Robeson County, Haire put in eight-hour shifts at the shelter, and once less help was needed, she then decided to volunteer her personal time assisting at the shelter.

“A lot of those residents lost everything, I mean their whole apartment or their home was flooded, water was over the roofs, or they lost their entire car, so it really just made me think, ‘I’m so thankful for the little things,’” Haire says. “Some people are still in hotels trying to figure out their next step.”

In addition to supporting local residents affected by Hurricane Matthew, Haire hopes to expand on the knowledge she has received from her graduate certificate program and has plans to enroll in the master’s degree program in Youth, Family, and Community Sciences. She hopes to gain more valuable knowledge on how best to serve her local communities.

This post was originally published in College of Agriculture and Life Sciences News.

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