Deasia Brown (pictured above with Mrs. Bailey) is originally from Historic Brookland Park and joined our Young Leaders program in August of 2017. Her motivation for becoming a Young Leader was personal and professional development – quite forward-thinking at age 15! We encourage each Young Leader to share their dreams for their community. Deasia’s dream was to decrease homelessness in her neighborhood. The compassion and concern she has for others is truly awesome!
Deasia impressed us from the beginning with her capacity for self-reflection. This is a skill many teenagers, let alone adults, lack and it will take her far. She outlined goals for herself at the start of the program based upon this self-knowledge. These included improving her ability to communicate with others on a personal level, being more optimistic and increasing her work ethic. The Young Leaders program enabled Deasia to adopt community listening responsibilities with the potential for monetary outcomes.
In September of 2017, Deasia was the first Young Leader to complete the 10 required Community Listening interviews. She worked diligently daily to balance her school assignments, pick her younger sibling up from their school and meet with the Young Leader’s engagement coach every Wednesdays from 4:40 –6:00pm. Deasia completed 7 Neighborhood Strengths Surveys (NSS) in September and 3 in October.
Additionally, Deasia decided to join another project designed by Embrace Richmond called “Unsung Heroes“. During the Young Leaders program, Deasia shared that she enjoys the friendliness of her neighbors and the sense of unity in Brookland Park. But she noted that this image of Brookland Park often goes unnoticed or untold. Through Unsung Heroes, Deasia is empowered to change that narrative. She is partnering with a senior resident who has resided in the Historic Brookland Park area for 40 years or longer and is in the process of drafting a detailed narrative of their experiences in the community over time.
Deasia will also be the first youth in Young Leaders to progress to the next phase of the program known as “apprenticeship”. She will choose an existing Brookland Park Collective Action Team and learn the teams purpose, interventions, networking, target population and area of desired change.
She says that she has enjoyed her time with the Young Leader’s staff and community residents. Deasia reported that she feels more confident in her social skills as it relates to opening up, communicating with others and developing relationships, Furthermore, she stated her level of determination and her ability to complete tasks from start to finish have greatly improved and increased. When someone pictures a “Young Leader,” they should think of Deasia. She is an individual that we can all believe in and learn from. Deasia accepts and excels at all her duties and defines what it means to be a Young Leader. Go Deasia!