Thursday, November 8, 2012

VISTA Profile: Derald "Banjo" Dryman

Alma Mater: Western Carolina University
Hometown: Asheville, NC
Service Site: Western Carolina University
Previous Service Site: UNC-Pembroke

Okay, we have to know: Where did you get the nickname "Banjo?"
Well, I don't actually play the banjo. The nickname came from my uncle. I was named for him, and everyone called him Banjo. He got it from a race car driver. It just wouldn't seem like I was taking his full name without taking the nickname too.

Why did you decide to become a VISTA?
I chose to become a VISTA in order to give back to my community while discovering what type of career I would like to have. I thought VISTA was an excellent way to better understand issues surrounding poverty and to see first-hand its affects.

Why did you choose to sign on for another term of service?
As an alumnus of WCU, I have been, and continue to be, very involved with community partners and the campus community as a whole. I wanted to continue to deepen relationships with a few key partners, while at the same time continue to grow partnerships with other departments on campus. I am also highly involved with planning alternative break trips and days of service and I am very excited about seeing those programs grow.

What has your biggest accomplishment been as a VISTA?
 My biggest accomplishment has been working with two different universities and helping to grow their programming and relationships with the community.

What has challenged or surprised you about being a VISTA?
 Limited income has been a huge challenge. I knew coming in that I would be living in a low-income situation, but it's hard to realize until you're actually doing it!

What are you most looking forward to this year?
 Most looking forward to working with new and returning students and seeing programs grow.

What do you have coming up with your community partner, the Sylva Community Table? Right now I'm working on volunteer recruitment and resource development. The economic downturn has brought a lot more people into the community table than usual, so they're straining to meet the needs of their clients.

Share something unique about yourself!
Big NASCAR (Jeff Gordon) and NFL Fan (Go Packers!)...also very involved as an alumnus in my fraternity, Kappa Sigma.