I’m DeShauna Hollie and I am excited to be joining Grassroots as a Community Organizer in the North Waco area. I grew up in Waco and have lived in neighborhoods in East, South and North Waco. I moved away to attend college in Illinois at Greenville College where I studied History and Political Science. After college I spent some time volunteering and living in an intentional Christian Community in Comer, GA called Jubilee Partners. At Jubilee I had the opportunity to work with refugees, teaching English. This experience really taught me a lot about offering hospitality and creating welcoming spaces.
After leaving Jubilee, I moved to Philadelphia to attend graduate school at Eastern University’s Tony Campolo School for Social Change where I studied Urban Economic Development. Eastern is where I really began to learn how to look for the different effects of Community Organizing on communities, especially within urban communities. I saw neighbors, churches and organizations working together to build gardens, start small businesses and bring farmers markets/fresh food access to their neighborhoods. It altered my perception of what both community development and community organizing could be.
I moved back to Waco to be closer to family. I have spent the last 10 years working in the Early Childhood Education sector and learning a lot about the connection between mental health and education. Over the past 10 years I have tried to stay connected with what is happening in the Waco Community by attending community meetings and serving on community boards and committees that focus on a range of issues including education, immigration, leadership development and performing and theater arts. I am excited to join the Grassroots team as a community organizer and see it as a great opportunity to mix my previous education and experience with my desire to stay engaged with my community.