Meet Jocelin Rosas
New United Way Community School Coordinator for Erwin Middle School
Jocelin (pronounced Jo and Celine as in Celine Dionne, she says) or JoRo for short, as her teacher’s at UNC Asheville called her...
Born in Venezuela, Jocelin spent her youth in Miami and Jacksonville, Florida before taking off to travel around the U.S. on a Greyhound bus. “I knew the world was big and I wanted to see more of it. Traveling really helped me listen to my intuition at an early age,” she says. With an interest in sustainable living, Jocelin discovered the WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) program, which led her to a cooperative living urban farm in West Asheville. After several experiences exploring green and off-grid living Jocelin began taking classes at A.B. Tech. This later led her to the YWCA where she took the reigns in managing Salsa, Sabor y Salud during the summer, a Latino Health Outreach program providing health education and activities for Latino families in Buncombe County. Her service in that program inspired her to continue her education at UNC Asheville in the Health and Wellness program, which she recently graduated from in the spring of 2019.
“Throughout my studies at UNCA one of the recurring themes when we talked about health promotion in certain populations and neighborhoods is that there’s always a careful thing in making sure that you don’t just come in and try to implement a program without really talking to that community specifically,” Jocelin shares. “That‘s really important. When I walked into the interview for the Community School Coordinator position and saw the students there, that’s when I knew and felt this moment of ‘Wow. This organization is really taking this seriously. Not only did United Way staff interview me, so did the Principal, an assistant principal, faculty, several teachers, a parent, a counselor, a community partner, and two students. It was a great sign to see everyone there investing that time and it made me really want to be a part of this work, this movement.”
Jocelin is stepping into the shoes of former Erwin Middle Community School Coordinator Linnea Burgevin, who created a tremendous and lasting impact with students, parents, and faculty. During her time, she co-created student welcoming committees, welcomed parents to co-lead weekly Homework Diners, and created an ongoing Resource Team, which included families, faculty, community partners and more to discuss issues of importance. You can take a look at some of Linnea’s work in a feature we shared on her and the school last year. Jocelin says her first order of business is of course in relationship building. “I want to keep supporting the things the Erwin team already set in place and everyone who built these amazing partnerships and programs. I’ve been talking to people and listening to them and taking notes, hugging, taking more notes...that’s what I’ve been doing and will continue to do.”