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Robeson County Department of Social Services


By Camryn Locklear

October 8, 2019

Picture this: a burnt-out and overwhelmed soon-to-be college graduate in desperate need of a post-graduate job. I was struggling to decide if I wanted to be an accountant or a lawyer – two career paths that couldn’t be further on both ends of the spectrum.

That was me before Lead for North Carolina came into my life.

I thought I wanted to be a lawyer when I first stepped on campus. Two years later, I thought I wanted to be an accountant. While I never changed my major, surely I was lost and didn’t know what I wanted to do post-graduation.

What I did know – was I had a compassionate heart and I liked to serve others. My fall semester of senior year I received an email from my school’s political science listserv from Lead for North Carolina. It sounded promising. So I applied. And I was accepted.

In the beginning of the placement process, I didn’t want to serve my home – Robeson County. I wanted to go to the beach, the city, or anywhere but home. Seeing how I lived in the same place for most of my life (and went to college there as well) the thought of moving away sounded new and exciting.

Soon after I realized that I wanted to be with my family, my people, my tribe.

I wanted to wake up every day and go to work and hear an “accent” that sounded like mine. I wanted to hear slang I was familiar with. I wanted to see faces I knew. So when I received an offer from Robeson County, I accepted immediately.

I knew this is where I was supposed to be, but it wasn’t always clear at first. There have been many times since where I experienced some anxiousness about being here. I questioned would there be enough work for me to do? With 1,000 county employees, there’s just about someone for every job. I was also faced with questions from the community about “who I knew” to get me into a suite working alongside the county administrators. In communities like mine, it’s hard for some to believe that hard work can help you excel versus who you know. Even when I was given my first assignment, I experienced some push back from the community, my community. They wanted to know who I was and what I was trying to do. Because it isn’t always true what they say about the small town life, everyone doesn’t know everyone.

The dust has settled and I’m going into the third month of my fellowship. If it wasn’t clear before, it surely is now that I am exactly where I’m meant to be. Every time I hear my peoples’ slang – or talk of the food we cook and the traditions we practice – I know there is no better fit for this placement than me.

If you’ve found this post because you’re unsure of whether or not to apply to LFNC, do it.

Take the leap. I can’t imagine a better place for me to be right out of college. It’s hard to secure a place in local government. And this program allows you to do that and helps you navigate once you get there.

If you love to serve, and truly care for others, this is the program for you.