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RCC Alum Jesicove Jean seeks to make a difference in the international community

When Jesicove Jean first arrived in the United States at the age of 13, she could not speak any English. Born in Haiti, living conditions were hard and poverty was rampant, leaving her family no choice but to flee the country in pursuit of a better life

“Haiti is not a safe place for a young woman,” Jean said. “My Mom wanted a better future for me and I wanted a better future for myself.”

Jesicove lived in Florida for a short period of time with her mother before moving to Oregon to live with her father. She learned how to speak English while in high school, and she says, the “language barrier” was not easy to overcome.

“I had to start from zero again and learn my ABCs,” Jean said.

While she was in high school, her mother relocated to Lumberton. After graduating, she decided to move back East. Jean was pregnant, and with the thoughts of being a single parent, she wanted the love and support that only a mother could provide.  

“It was a struggle,” Jean said.

In 2017, Jean decided that she wanted to go back to school and get a degree.

“I googled “colleges” and found Robeson Community College was close by,” Jean said. “The staff were very welcoming and showed me what I needed to do, they gave me help with getting financial aid and walked me through all the steps.” 

Jean graduated from RCC in 2021 with an associate of arts.

“Doors started to open when I started at RCC,” Jean said. “I started to feel good about what I had accomplished, and that everything that I had done had been worth it.”

“I started to ask myself, what can I do to help my community?”

Her experience as an immigrant from Haiti, as a child and now as an adult, has shaped her views through a different lens, giving her a unique perspective on the issues facing those coming to America from other parts of the world.

“You know don’t know what people go through,” Jesicove Jean said. “People have no transportation, they do not know where to go for help, or that help is even available.”  

That is why Jean wants to dedicate her life to helping those in her community, so they can gain access to resources, learn how to speak English, and get an education if they so choose.

In December, Jean organized a ‘Haitian Community Day’ event in Lumberton. It was the first event of its kind in the county.

“Many people do not realize it, but there are a lot of Haitian people here in Robeson County,” Jean stated. “One issue right now is education and the need to learn English and many of them do not know where to go…. They want to know, where can we go to school?”  

RCC’s Vonda Graham spoke during the event and her message was well received.

“Mrs. Graham let them know that RCC can help you,” Jean said.

Her experience at Robeson Community College is part of what led her to invite Graham to the event and part of why she is so passionate about helping her community.

“My experience here was really welcoming, very close-knit,” Jean said. “I would get calls every week from staff members, asking me how I was doing… it left an impact on me where I want everyone to be able to experience that…. I want to have that kind of impact on others.”

“Sometimes everyone needs a little push, and that’s what RCC gave me,” Jean said. “RCC is the place to start.”

She continued in her praise of Robeson Community College, saying, “RCC is my foundation and my base, that no matter where I go, it will be the place that gave me my start. RCC has to be included, this is my start, my beginning and surely, I am going to keep going.”  

“Everybody wants an education, but it was about learning to me. If I keep learning, I am progressing my knowledge, knowing people, making connections,” Jean said. “I can see what I am capable of and how far I can go.” 

After graduating from Robeson Community College, Jean transferred to the University of North Carolina at Pembroke to major in International Studies. She is on track to graduate with her bachelor’s degree this May.

Jesicove Jean, center, stands with others from UNCP during the UN Model Conference held in Atlanta, Georgia in November 2023.

During her time at UNCP, she participated in the Model UN Conference held in Atlanta in 2023, and had the best position paper, winning an award for her report on Mexico.

“I’m not just trying to serve Haiti, but the international community,” Jean said. “I don’t want to exclude others who may benefit from my education.”

This March, Jean will be gaining hands-on experience on a global scale, as she heads to Mexico for a study abroad opportunity with UNCP.

“I think the experience will help me serve the immigrant community better,” Jean said. “I will be able to see things differently because once you get to learn from another’s culture, you can see what they are going through and understand someone’s perspective.”

As for the future?

It is Jean’s hope and desire to one day start a non-profit and open a center for Haitians, as well as other immigrants in Robeson County.  

“I want them to learn what I learned and keep teaching other people, so they can give back to the community,” Jean stated. “We need a place to reach out to them.”

“If I leave Lumberton, I want to know that I left something behind for my community that they can go to, if they need help, to make the transition to America better.”

With confidence and a passion to serve others, there’s no doubt that Jesicove will leave a positive mark on her community.

“My journey, I don’t know when it is going to stop, but I’m going to keep learning all that I can, so I can help as many people as I can. That’s all I ever want to do.”


Jesicove Jean holds her the winning certificate for an Outstanding Position Paper on Mexico, which she received during the Model UN Conference held in Atlanta, Georgia.





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