Welcome back to our VISTA Spotlight series in which we’re spotlighting our AmeriCorps VISTAs and our member organizations who host our VISTAs during their year of service. Our host sites are the backbone of our VISTA program. Host site supervisors commit to guiding and mentoring members through their service year and are an instrumental asset for our VISTA’s professional development.
Today’s spotlight is on Demetrice Sheard, the NC Hunger Corps AmeriCorps VISTA serving at East Carolina University in their Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement. In this role, he serves in ECU’s Purple Pantry, and works closely with two of the Center’s partners: the Greenville Community Garden and the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. Demetrice earned a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from Coastal Carolina University, and he is passionate about healthy living and nutrition.
The Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement provides opportunities for the campus community to learn, serve, and lead the community as active citizens and advocates for positive social change. Their partnerships with local, regional, and international communities foster an environment of service and advocacy.
Katy Locke is Demetrice’s primary supervisor. She is the Assistant Director of the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, and she oversees several programs including the Chancellor’s Student Leadership Academy – a program designed to help emerging leaders develop valuable skills to inspire, empower, and influence positive change, ECU Leads – a program that integrates co-curricular learning, curricular learning, and experiential learning, and the Purple Pantry – decreasing food insecurity among students at ECU.
Chad Carwein, the Sustainability Manager at ECU, serves as Demetrice’s supervisor in the Greenville Community Garden. His role is to provide opportunities for both community members and students to get involved with nature and the environment both on and off campus.
At the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, Demetrice works closely with Lekisha Pittman, who served in our AmeriCorps VISTA NC Hunger Corps before being offered a position as the Network Engagement Coordinator at the food bank. Demetrice has learned a lot from all of his supervisors, and we are very grateful for their leadership and guidance.
Demetrice’s service has impacted the ECU Community in many ways. In the Greenville Community Garden, he has recruited and trained volunteers, lead garden workdays, and organized a Youth Nutrition Program where students from Wintergreen Elementary School came to the garden to learn about nutrition and garden practices, including weeding and composting. Through this work, the garden has donated produce to local organizations including JOY Soup Kitchen and Hope of Glory Ministries. At the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, Demetrice is part of several committees, and has put together a virtual “Listen and Learn” series where guest speakers come to talk to the food bank’s community partners about various topics such as Food Safety and Storage, Nutrition, and Mental Health. In the Purple Pantry, he has raised awareness of the resources available to the campus community, organized the pantry, and launched a Nutritional Workshop Series where students learned from a registered dietician about effective ways to read food labels, and determine serving and portion sizes. Demetrice has also partnered with faculty on campus in the Nutrition Science Department to host cooking demos with items easily accessible in the Purple Pantry.
After service, Demetrice is interested in attending graduate school to pursue a Master’s degree Public Health and Nutrition. We wish him the best of luck! Follow @ecupantry, @greenvillecommunitygarden, and @foodbankcenc to stay up to date with Demetrice’s service!