Member’s Corner takes a closer look at D.I.S.S Alumni’s 204 members. This week features Shalonda Ofoegbu from Class of 2000.
How would you describe yourself?
I’m a God-fearing, kind and loving person. I am also creative, innovative, resourceful, ambitious and authentic. A natural leader and problem solver.
What are your academic qualifications?
I have a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in Social Work, with a minor in Gerontology. I have completed three and a half years of postgraduate course work in forensic clinical psychology. This is currently on hold. I hope to complete it next year.
Are you a member of any association?
Yes. I am a member of the National Association of Social Workers.
What is your job experience and what do you do presently?
I have a variety of job experience but I would focus on what I do presently. I investigate child abuse for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. I am an Emergency Response Children’s Social Worker. I have worked in this position for 8 years. Although it is a risky, challenging and emotionally draining job, I love what I do. The rewards – ensuring that children are safe, either at home or in protective custody, makes it all worth the effort.
What keeps you busy outside your regular work?
I love to help and assist people. I spend my free time assisting others in whatever capacity I can. I am currently mentoring an individual who is in a graduate program right now. I also spend my free time shopping, catching up on sleep or watching my favorite TV programs. I love to spend time with my family, friends and loved ones. I also spend a lot of time seeking spiritual matters.
What projects have you handled?
I have not participated in any projects in recent times apart from work-related projects.
What are the most challenging projects you’ve ever done?
All my work-related projects are very challenging because I make important decisions that impact child safety and change people’s lives forever.
What motivates you?
My motivation comes from within and it’s not necessarily physical. The passion to be extraordinary and the desire to be the best in what I do and accomplish great things is a motivating factor for me.
What do you remember most about your time as a student at Dority International Secondary School?
Even though I got into a lot of trouble back then for being mischievous, I remember the fun times I shared with my classmates and teachers, including the excursions. The experiences I had at D.I.S.S taught me a lot. I cherish the relationships I created and nurtured during those formative years. Surprisingly, most of my closest friends are my high school classmates from D.I.S.S.
Have you been to Dority since you graduated?
Unfortunately, I have not visited D.I.S.S since I graduated in 2000. I would make it a goal to visit during my next trip to Nigeria.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
My long-term goals include marriage, starting a family and jump-starting a second line of income. Having multiple streams of income is a factor in building long term wealth.
Which of your achievements are you most proud of?
My personal relationship with God is something I am very proud of because, without Him, I am nothing. All the things I have–life, basic necessities and a good measure of health, are because of Him and for this, I’m forever grateful.
Which issues or topics are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about social problems–poverty, homelessness, unequal distribution of wealth, crime and mass incarceration to mention just a few.
If you had the chance to mentor a D.I.S.S student today, what advice would you give him/her?
I would tell him/her to try to find his or her passion early on in life. Although sometimes you figure this out later on in early adulthood, whenever you find this passion, don’t take shortcuts. Taking shortcuts is shortchanging yourself. The more shortcuts you take, the less you’ll learn and grow as a person. Nurture a desire to educate yourself on things you don’t know. Ignorance is not bliss. Don’t feel bad if you don’t have it all figured out. Don’t forget that life is a journey of learning and maturing. Relax and enjoy the endless journey of learning.
Where do you see D.I.S.S Alumni in the next 5 years?
The alumni can only progress if we (all members of the alumni) collectively participate, volunteer our time and support this wonderful association that has been set up. My hope for the alumni association is constant progress and to continue to live up to our school motto–“Sursum ad Summum”.