The people you called neighbors, friends, family—they now live 20 minutes away when they used to be right next door. It’s times like these when individuals look to community leaders to keep them together. If you are from the Iberville community in New Orleans, Louisiana, people look to Sharon Campbell.
Like many of her neighbors, Sharon has seen plenty of crime and violence living in Iberville.
“I’ve been living in this part of New Orleans since 1991 and I’ve seen lots of people lose their kids to violence.”
In addition to strife going on around her, she also experienced great personal loss. Her daughter died during childbirth 13 years ago, leaving behind a toddler and a newborn. For Sharon, it wasn’t even a question who would take over caring for them, but it wasn’t easy.
“I had to start all over. I am the only person my grandchildren have. They totally depend on me.”
Sharon works hard to send them to a private school and raise them right. They have participated in many of the educational offerings that Urban Strategies has in place for young people and Sharon takes tremendous pride in their success. Her grandson, Montel, is getting ready to graduate from high school and will go on to serve in the National Guard.
“I just wanted them to get what they are supposed to out of life. It’s been a hard struggle, but when I see my grandkids, I think: I’m doing my job.”
That same passion drives Sharon to support the community at-large. She is particularly passionate about providing opportunities for young people. She works in the cafeteria of a local school and is the vice president of the resident board. She volunteers for everything from serving breakfast and working in the garden to helping people clean their homes or organizing a coat drive.
“I love my community and I love helping people. I want my community to have the strongest pride in the world and I want to go back to a place where people don’t have to worry about their safety.”
Fellow residents seek out Sharon for her support and advice. She is incredibly respected and people value her opinion greatly. Change happens one person at a time, but with Sharon Campbell by your side, New Orleans is seeing an exponential force of positive change at work.