My parents migrated from Jamaica to the United States when I was 16. While my family was adjusting to the new environment, they were introduced to TCAH to utilize their services, including the food pantry. TCAH was a boon to my family and I wanted to be a part of the organization’s mission and vision, and give back to the community. I did so by volunteering and joining TCAH’s Green Teens program, which trains vulnerable youth in urban farming and market management. Looking back at my time in the program, and its influence on my life, I credit it for making me feel more connected to my community, teaching me to appreciate healthy eating, and making me more job ready. Filled with dreams of becoming an accountant, little did I know that the Green Teens would just be the first step of my journey with TCAH.
Despite graduating college with an accounting degree, it was a struggle to transition into the corporate field. Fortunately, TCAH’s CEO and Founder Dr. Melony Samuels had stayed in touch with me during my transition from a Green Teen leader to job seeker. She offered me an internship as a junior accountant. From there, I continued my personal and professional journey marked by enormous growth within the company. I was ultimately hired as an HR and Contracts Specialist, which transitioned me from something I was passionate about to a newfound love.
I have been fortunate enough to see the organization grow from ten to fifty-five employees, and have witnessed how TCAH keeps expanding its programming to provide for the community on a larger scale. It is heartening that TCAH is run by a black woman who has succeeded against societal odds and who always looks out for the wellbeing of her staff by helping and encouraging them to reach new heights. Dr. Samuels shows me that if you are willing to put yourself out there and fight for what you believe in, nothing can stop you in life.
I have since been promoted and am currently pursuing my Master’s in Business Administration, which will help me to more effectively perform my role at TCAH. I would like to spend my life doing something great without continuously switching jobs. There is so much that I can do here at TCAH for the future. Even though I am in HR, I have the ability to make an impact throughout the organization. When we are at 200-1000+ employees, it will be great to say I was a part of everything.
While there have certainly been speed bumps along the road, I feel like I have truly persevered and am at a good place. When walking along TCAH’s campus, I can’t help but notice the fall season’s new cohort of Green Teens and be reminded of my start at TCAH and how I learned to overcome my fears and become the person I am today.