Friday, September 21, 2012

VISTA Profile: Tiara Pugh

First-year VISTA Tiara Pugh is already an AmeriCorps veteran, having served last year with NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) in the Pacific Region, a far cry from her hometown of Siler City, NC. She is now serving at Elizabeth City State University to build a strong partnership with the H.L. Trigg Community School, an alternative school for middle and high school students.

CC: What previous volunteer work or experience led you to
becoming a VISTA?
TP: I did AmeriCorps NCCC these last 9 months. I have worked in the rain, snow, and ice planting trees and chopping wood in the North West and worked in the blistering 100 degrees of Utah searching for beaver habitats while wading in waist deep water and closing roads. It was hard but all worth it in the end.

Tiara served last year with NCCC in the Pacific Region.
CC: What drew you to the project at ECSU with the H.L. Trigg Community School?

TP: At NC Central University, my alma mater, I majored in psychology with a minor in child development. I eventually want to end up in the education field but I don't know for sure if I want to teach just yet. I did an NCCC round in south central LA and saw first hand what a low income school is like. It was my favorite placement but also my most challenging. I served at an elementary school doing after school tutoring and the kids were both challenging and loveable. I worked with 2nd and 3rd graders. I wish I was super woman so I could help all children succeed in school! My VISTA project gives me a chance to know more about the NC education system and how I can help low income school systems succeed.

CC: Tell us a little more about your work with Trigg.

TP: Marion Hudson (another NC Campus Compact VISTA based at ECSU) and I are working to start a tutoring and mentoring program to support the school. We're recruiting ECSU student volunteers, training them, and setting up the program. We've also spent time in the school observing and talking with staff, and we've seen needs like new weight room equipment and grade-level reading material, so we are working with groups at ECSU to donate used equipment and put together a book drive.

CC: You're a North Carolina native, but you're new to Elizabeth City. How is it so far?
TP: They have a farmer's market here on Saturdays so I've been down there and it was nice. I also went to a football game that was fun. Everyone here has been really friendly.

CC: Tell us something about yourself that not many people know.
TP:  I want to travel as much as possible. India is a must see for me so I hope to get there one day. I'm a great dancer! No, just kidding, but I love to dance.