When D'quayvion Cloud started as a volunteer intern at ImaginOn in 2011, he was in high school and expected to go to trade school or join the military after graduation as many of his classmates were doing. Last May, he earned a master's degree in social work from Howard University and he believes Charlotte Mecklenburg Library made all the difference.
"Volunteering at the Library inspired me. I remember helping with the Prom Project, and the idea of people donating materials others needed really resonated with me. I began to think about career paths that help others," he recalls.
Jimmeka Anderson was a Teen Services Specialist when D'quayvion was an intern. She remembers meeting a teenager with limitless potential. "He was so bright eyed and eager. I encouraged him to seek out people who were where he wanted to go, and ask them to mentor him." She and the rest of the ImaginOn staff thought D'quayvion was exactly the type of student who would thrive in college, and they knew how to chart a course to help him get there.
"The Library kept me on track. They encouraged me to take the College 101 course, and gave me an SAT prep book and information about scholarships. They gave me deadlines and every week I had to tell them a few schools I was interested in, and what I was doing to prepare. Looking back, I'm so grateful they saw something in me and pushed me."
Today, D'quayvion works for Student Success Agency, an organization that prepares high school students for college, and he's planning to pursue a PhD. Jimmeka Anderson recognizes their relationship has changed. She now works in the Library's Outreach Services, and D'quayvion visits whenever he's in town. "He always comes to the Library to look for us, and he still considers me a mentor, but I see him as a peer. We talk about higher education and compare our plans. I think it's pretty amazing - he gives me professional advice now. He's grown up, and I'm so proud our Library had a part in that."