Starting something new is always hard, whether it’s a new job, new school, or even a new restaurant. It’s different from what is normal to you. When I started as the 4-H Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program Assistant in Robeson County seven years ago, I was nervous, scared, anxious, and excited about the new opportunity I had been given.
Born and raised in Robeson County, I thought I knew everything I could possibly know about the county I called home. Boy was I fooled. I have learned more about this county in the past seven years than I had in my entire life; not only about the county but also the heart of the county — its “people.” I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly, and if I had to choose one word to describe this county and the people I have served, it would be determined.
Growing up in a place called Lumbee Homes, I watched my mother and grandmother take a little and make a lot because they were determined to give me and my brother a better life. After leaving and going off to college, I came back because I was determined to make a difference in the place I grew up. Through this job, I was able to go into the community and teach children about food and nutrition while also encouraging them along the way. When Matthew struck this county, I saw how determined people were to help one another and come together as a community in love.
Although I love this place I’ve called home for over 30 years, I have chosen to move on to serve another part of this great state. As I transition to Hoke County to serve as an Expanded Food and Nutrition educator, I would like to thank all my great teachers of the Public Schools of Robeson County. You are a group of awesome educators. Thank you to our County Manager Ricky Harris, my direct supervisor Christy Strickland, as well as my Extension family. You all will forever be in my heart.
I could not have been the best at what I do without all my babies. Thank you to all the children of Robeson County whom I had the pleasure of teaching these past seven years. You guys are truly the wind beneath my wings. I pray you have learned something from me as I have learned so much from you, and please, always remember my favorite quote: “When you know better, you do better.”
For more information from North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, visit our website at http://robeson.ces.ncsu.edu/. Tamika McLean, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program associate, can be reached at Tamika_McLean@ncsu.edu.
Tamika McLean is the Youth Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program associate for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center.