Reflections from Jordan Pugh

ANTH 395 students reflect on their engagement with “Our State, Our Work”

by Jordan Pugh

September 18, 2023

Finding a Way to Reach Opportunity Youth

Over the last two semesters, my student partner Kendal and I were enrolled in a UNC course that allowed us to work closely with the Carolina Across 100 Our State, Our Work program. Specifically, we spent the academic year supporting a non-profit organization called Men of Destiny which serves low- and middle-income communities, throughout Cabarrus and Mecklenburg counties.  

Men of Destiny’s primary goal is to support and train Opportunity Youth – young people aged 16 to 24 who are not working and not in school – as well as students from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to earn certifications in various trades. Graduates of the program enter the workforce with certification in a skilled trade that can put them on a path to stable employment with livable wages. This can be life-changing for young people who may have struggled to find employment and financial security. 

Our main task with Men of Destiny was to help them identify the most effective strategies for connecting with Opportunity Youth. Our efforts included researching social media opportunities, crafting social media templates, as well as helping plan in-person events. We are hopeful that between these two main outreach methods, Men of Destiny is better positioned to reach and engage more young adults who can benefit from their services.  

We also developed a flyer for Men of Destiny to use for a wide range of purposes. This flyer thoroughly explains Men of Destiny’s mission in addition to the specific program offerings. One immediate use for the flyer is to identify participants for their year-long program, Levels of Leadership, and will hopefully attract the attention of Opportunity Youth throughout Cabarrus and Mecklenburg counties. The team plans on taking this flyer to various physical locations across their region to spread the word across their service area.  

My experience working with Men of Destiny through Carolina Across 100 has provided a great opportunity for me to put my professional skills into practice. My partner and I have practiced useful networking skills that will assist us in all future professional opportunities. We have learned how to navigate professional relationships and how to overcome setbacks that may come with it. Overall, this opportunity has given me a fantastic experience working alongside Men of Destiny. I feel that we have accomplished great things working with the team, and I believe we have provided them with a useful framework to continue outreach to the Opportunity Youth in their region. 

Jordan Pugh participated with “Our State, Our Work” during their junior year at UNC-Chapel Hill.