Name: Chentell Parker
High School Attended: Hoke County High School
Home County: Hoke
College(s) Attended/ Years Attended: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2012-2016)/ Howard University (2017-2019)
Major(s): African American Studies/Sociology (UNC-CH) / Social Work (Howard)
Minor(s): Women and Gender Studies
County Now Living In: Cumberland
Employer: Greater Vision Counseling and Consulting in Hoke County
Title: Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Years Working for Current Employer: 8 months
What are some of your major accomplishments during college?
As a first-generation college student, graduating on time was a major accomplishment.
What would you tell someone interested in applying for the Golden LEAF Scholarship about being a recipient?
I would encourage people to apply. Not only does the scholarship help financially, but the Golden LEAF Scholarship Program also helps you grow personally and professionally with the leadership workshops that are held twice a year. That knowledge has proven to be very valuable to me. It has been almost 10 years and I still have the information from the leadership workshops. I would also let them know about the internship opportunities as well. I was able to figure out what fields I was interested in, or not interested in, with the support of Golden LEAF.
What helped you decide to live/ work in a rural area?
I knew that I grew up in a rural area and would love to help other people like myself. Also, urban areas have more resources than rural areas, so I just wanted to be able to provide good quality work to the community that helped shape who I am today.
What kind of leadership roles are you serving in currently?
Currently, I serve as a clinical therapist in my community. Minorities and children have a safe place where they can receive quality mental health services. Before the pandemic, I was also serving as a program director for youth programs as well. The youth programs were focused on academic, personal, and emotional development for the youth as well as serving as a safe alternative for free time in the summer.
What did you learn during your experience with the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program?
I learned how to be an effective leader. There are many leaders, but not all of them are effective. For the long-term goals that I have, I can’t afford to be ineffective.
What internship experiences did you have?
I interned at a doctor’s office in Raeford (Hoke County). That experience helped me narrow down what kind of work I would like to do. I realized I wanted to help people, but not in the general medical field. I am now helping people in the mental health field, and I am very happy with that choice. Without the internship experience, I would have found out this information much later, and that would not have been ideal for my long-term career goals.
Did your experiences help shape your decision to live/ work in rural areas?
My internship experiences allowed me a chance to be on the side of helping instead of receiving. It allowed me a chance to see how rural areas lacked certain resources, and that even though steps were being taken in the right directions, there was a lot more to be done. I still feel that way, and that is why I am still working towards my long-term goals of being a staple in my community for providing access to many different resources. I am learning as much as I can professionally to be able to give back more to my community.