Declon Friday started at MCC in the fall of 2013. He was making friends, enjoying his classes in criminal justice and earning a 3.99 grade point average. But something was missing. He didn’t feel complete.
“I just didn’t feel fulfilled, ” he said. “I wanted to do something that would make me a well-rounded student. I saw the Democracy House program and it looked like exactly what I was looking for. It fit. It absolutely turned out to be the best thing I’ve done. Because now I feel complete as a student – well rounded; I feel like I’m giving back to the community. And I’m making a difference.”
Democracy House began in the mid-1990s as a way for students to engage in service and understand the needs of the community. Students perform hundreds of hours of service working with children and adults in local nonprofit organizations. Declon has volunteered with Elijah’s Promise, the New Brunswick soup kitchen, Better World Cafe in Highland Park, and the EMPOWER program, run by MCC’s New Brunswick Center, in which he mentors students from New Brunswick high school.
“I think Democracy House is awesome,” he said. “It’s almost like a a family. You become very close. I love it. I absolutely love it.”
Declon came to the United States in 2000 soon after graduating high school in his native Trinidad. He was joining his mother who lived here; eventually his siblings would come as well. He worked constructions jobs for 10 years and then enrolled at MCC in the fall of 2013. He will be a United States citizen in 2015.
Declon will graduate in May of 2015 and will most likely accept a full scholarship to enter the homeland security program offered on the MCC campus by New Jersey City University. He hopes to become a New Jersey State Trooper.
“Coming to Middlesex County College was the best decision ever,” he said. “And I really don’t want to leave.”