Meet Desiree Deville. Her classmates crowned her the campus’ official Ms. Social Work, and her college professor describes her as “the face of foster care at Johnson C. Smith University.” How exactly did Desiree earn her reputation? Oh, just a few exceptional ways…
As a student at Johnson C. Smith University, Desiree plans to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. After graduation, she hopes to pursue her Masters. “I plan to open my own safe haven for children who are aging out of foster care, or who come from broken homes and don ‘t have the basic support to go on in life,” says Desiree. In the meantime, Desiree serves as the Lead Ambassador for her University’s Foster Care Initiative.
As the Ambassador, Desiree serves as a mentor to a young person, attends board meetings concerning child welfare with officials from Mecklenburg County’s Department of Social Services, and participates as a member of the steering committee for Johnson C. Smith University’s Inaugural Foster Care Conference. Desiree takes advantage of every opportunity she has to speak out on behalf of foster youth.
“Desiree is always willing to attend events, advocate, and represent the university and foster children with pride, excitement, and the belief that growing up in foster care is not the end of a person’s world,” says one of Desiree’s Professors. Last year, she had the opportunity to appear on local television to discuss the foster care initiative on her campus. She is frequently requested to speak at local events.
As a child that comes from a broken home, Desiree knows she is in a unique position to reach out to others in similar situations.
She works in the University’s Admissions Department as a spokesperson for recruiting foster care youth to attend Johnson C. Smith University. “As an child that comes from a broken home, I understand that children have various needs and they are often overlooked,” says Desiree. “I now know if I can make it out of my situation, other kids in foster care, and others that have been through similar situations can too!” In her spare time, Desiree enjoys reading and writing in a journal. She is known for cracking jokes and making others smile.
She also works as a Clerical Assistant Prince Georges County Public School Systems. Her job allows her to mentor youth by helping them with their homework. Despite the many challenges she faced, Desiree is determined to turn her negative experiences into positive ones. “My worse moments are my strongest moments,” she says. Now, she is focused on the future and motivating foster youth by letting them know that the sky is the limit!

Team(s) or Cohort(s)
2011 Outstanding Young Leaders