We will be inviting Johnson Service Corps alums to write about their experiences with and after their time with us. Debbie Vu, 16-17, shares her story below.
My name is Debbie Vu, and I am a documentary and narrative filmmaker based out of the Triangle area. North Carolina has been home to me since I was 12, but after I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2012, I was determined to get out and explore. That summer, I was the lead filmmaker for a multimedia team of college students. We traveled to Malawi, also known as the “Warm Heart of Africa,” and captured documentary content for P&G’s Children’s Safe Drinking Water program. Since then, I’ve continued to work with nonprofit organizations on their video content.
Johnson Service Corps came into my life just at the right time. I call it fondly “divine alignment.” Intentional community, spiritual formation, social justice, and servant leadership were all things that I wanted in my life. So JSC just made sense. During my time at JSC, my home life and my work life were finally harmonious. I had a loving environment both at home and at work. I was placed at StepUp Durham which provides jobs readiness workshops to help community members gain and maintain employment. Because of my year of service there, I took a leap of faith and started my first business, IronWorx Media.
Every step I took during my time at JSC prepared me for the future. JSC really helped me see what made me happy and what didn’t. It also brought out an entrepreneurial side of me that I didn’t realize was there. Along with running my own business, I am still working at StepUp Durham as an Employment Specialist. I am also JSC’s first-ever Diversity Coach and, currently, I am in pre-production for my second short film called “Roll Pin Punch.” Now, work doesn’t feel like work because I get to do exactly what I love. The support system I found in JSC made all this happen.