Denshauna White, Bronx NY USA, Teaching Assistant
You are enough and worthy of love and belonging
Tell me anything about yourself
I am 23 years old. I was born in Trinidad, came to Montserrat but due to the volcanic activity at the time, I went back to Trinidad and was raised by my grandparents.
After immigrating to New York for tertiary education at the age of 18, I obtained my Bachelor of Social Work in 2019 and my Masters in Social Work in 2020 from the University of Albany.
In college, I was very active and recognized for my academics, leadership, and community service. I love travelling, site seeing and enjoy hanging out with friends and watching Netflix.
I love being by myself and enjoying my own company and often a different person around different people. Recently, I have started reading as a hobby.
How would you describe your immediate family
My immediate family is loving, hardworking, helpful, laid-back, and some are more outgoing and religious than others.
What does your name mean, and do you feel you live up to it
My mother combined her name and my father’s together (Denzil + Sharon) and I can say I have qualities from both.
Tell me something that made you smile or laugh recently
I am a social media addict.
I love watching memes and videos. Recently, there was this ‘Trini Alphabet Series’ shared on Facebook.
What is your favourite colour and what does it represent
My favourite colour is pink. Growing up I have always loved pink and it makes me happy when I see it. Pink represents love and is often seen as a representation of youth and innocence as it is the common colour for little girls.
Tell me something that scares you (we won’t tell anyone ssssshhh)
Heights, cockroaches, some spiders, and mice.
When do you normally feel your happiest
I feel happiest when I am on a plane going on vacation and at the beach.
I love the views from the sky and the calming sounds of waves.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety
I tend not to stress because it truly does not solve anything. However would listen to music, talk to myself or talk with a friend.
How do you celebrate your achievements
This question made me realize that I often do not celebrate my accomplishments but when I do, I go out for drinks.
What made you decide to start your profession
My profession is social work. However, I am currently in a service program as I believe in service above self and during this pandemic, giving back is needed more than ever.
I decided to do social work as I was applying to university. I had always wanted to be a teacher but never had a passion for one subject.
After researching social work, it seemed like a good fit. My passion is helping others. However, children hold a special place in my heart. I want to educate them, care for them, and allow them the capability to see their true potential.
This is cliché, but kids are the future. We have to train them to become the best versions of themselves.
We must be there for them and show them that someone truly cares.
It is our responsibility to instill in their minds that no matter your circumstance, you can overcome anything and be great. Currently, I am working with kids ages eleven through fourteen as a teacher’s assistant and after-school coordinator.
What do you love about your role
During my past internships, I enjoyed running lunch and after-school groups with kids about different life skills such as self-esteem, positivity etc.
I loved hearing their different experiences and knowing that they were comfortable coming to me for guidance. As a substance use counsellor, I enjoyed creating goals with my client and watching them achieve it when I did monthly updates to their treatment plan.
Currently as an Americorps Member, I enjoy hosting virtual after school groups. My favourite group to manage is Leadership as I believe it is important to instill leadership qualities in kids from a young age . This way they can be their own person and not be peer pressured in wrongdoings.
It makes me happy to see that although everything is virtual right now, the kids are engaged and participate in activities and love joining our sessions.
What are the typical challenges you face in your role
With everything being virtual, there is a lot of technological or internet issues . At times, it is hard to build relationships with the kids and keep them engaged with cameras on. In my former roles, a lot of paperwork was a challenge.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years
I want to be truly happy wherever I am and know that I am making a positive impact in my clients’ lives. Hopefully as a school social worker or counsellor or at an organization which focuses on the wellbeing of youth.
I would like to be in the Caribbean. However, if I have to be in the US, I will be a licensed social worker in the aforementioned work setting but in a warmer state.
Would you have done anything differently in your career path
I would have gotten a mentor because they play a pivotal role in your development,
can share their experiences with you and lead you to make better decisions that can advance your personal wellbeing and career.
Do you have any pearls of wisdom you wish to share
“If you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life”.
Master the art of positive thinking. Comparison is the thief of happiness.
Everyone has their own path, and you will get to your goals on your own time. Enjoy the journey and trust the process.
You are enough and worthy of love and belonging.
Finally, this is the moment to shout out to a few people who have really encouraged, supported, or even taking a gamble on you to allow your current success
First, thank you to God for life, health and strength. Shout out to my family, friends, teachers, co-workers, and clients.
A special mention to my parents for affording me the opportunity to pursue tertiary education abroad, my sister, Sharlene, who is my biggest fan and my cousin Kei-Retta, who truly inspires me and gives me amazing advice.
What can we look forward to next from you
At the moment, a lot of things are up in the air but definitely a new workplace in 2021. I gave myself an unintentional gap year but now I am ready to dive into my social work career and continue growing personally and professionally.
Also,I am on the journey of mastering positive thinking and living a wholehearted life.
What’s the best thing about Montserrat in your eyes
The best thing about Montserrat in my eyes is its peacefulness. The low level of crime is amazing. Everyone is happy and helpful. I love the scenery and being able to see the beach from almost any point.
What do you look forward to when going to Montserrat
I look forward to seeing my family and friends. I look forward to the beach, food, hanging out at Marine Village and seeing the volcano.
What’s your favourite place to eat/ favourite thing to eat when you are in Montserrat
I have a newfound love of goat water. I finally tried it in July 2020 from Hilltop. However, I tend to dine at Summer Breeze. I love their crispy chicken paninis.
I also love the roti from Deion and fish burger from Drive By Bar & Grill.
What would you love to see for Montserrat in 10 years
I would love to see a rise in tourism, not just at St. Patrick’s.
I used to love visiting during Festival season, but it has not been the same for a while as focus has been shifted to St. Patricks.
I would love to see more development, such as a ferry we can call our own, better/bigger aircrafts, advancement in medical facilities and maybe even a movie theatre.
What one thing would you do to maintain our culture
Keep finding new ways to boost festivities and participation which will attract others to come to the island. We have a unique culture and heritage, and it should always be embraced.
I love seeing the masquerade and live bands.
What one behaviour would you wish for us to leave in the past
Small-mindedness. Oftentimes, I have heard complaints about the older generation being stuck in their ways and doing things how it has always been done.
While this may work for some, youth should be given the room to grow and explore their ideas. They are the future generation and should be given opportunities to educate themselves and have jobs within their field.
They should be given a platform to share their ideas, have them heard and incorporated for the positive development of the island.
Give me your aspirational date of if and when you think Montserrat will be independent
Tell me one thing Montserrat can do to encourage you to return
Pay for my flight lol. If I could book a ticket for tomorrow, trust me I would. I spent half of 2020 there and was sad to leave.
Finally, when you think of Montserrat, how does it make you feel
Happy. I enjoy visiting and reflecting on my memories there. I do not think I have ever had a truly negative experience while being there.
You can follow Denshauna on IG – denlovesu