By Claire Barham May 03, 2017
DN Cherry may be her name, but at the N2 Home Office she also answers to “the graphic designer who’s all about volunteering.” At the young age of 25, she’s already made it her life’s mission to help others, especially children, any chance she gets. In other words, the future would undoubtedly be brighter if there were more DNs around.
Raised in the Bronx along with her 11 – yes, eleven – siblings, DN’s life was out of the ordinary from the start. Now a graphic designer for N2 Publishing, she attributes her unique creativity, as well as her passion for helping others, to her upbringing.
“Growing up, the Bronx was a huge playground. With so many siblings, we were always doing crazy things.”
DN recounts swinging from the tops of bunk beds between the legs of her older siblings and putting baby powder on the floor to skate around on, “then getting in trouble later.” Her parents gave her a video camera when she was young, so she, along with her siblings, created plenty of “wild” movies. It’s easy to assume that in the Cherry household, imagination was limitless.
“I had a creative mind because of my environment,” she said. “But I’ve always been more into thinking of ideas and then delegating to the others how to make it come to life.”
DN (front left in pink shirt) pictured with family
DN’s home life fostered a valuable ability to work as part of a large team and allocate tasks effectively. Lucky for us, she’s brought these skills with her into the N2 Home Office.
“I’m used to dealing with chaos, going in and breaking it down,” said DN. “You can’t get anything done if you’re quiet around [my family]. I’ve learned that you have to say, ‘Alright guys, let’s all focus. Everyone read these emails, do this, do that’ in order to get the job done.”
And though inspiring creative action benefits her professionally, DN’s true passion is inspiring action in others to help those less fortunate than ourselves.
With such a full house, DN’s upbringing was less than luxurious. Think shared bedrooms and plenty of DIY. Though she loved growing up in the Bronx, she says she counts her blessings every day for the people who gave her the opportunity to get out and make something of herself. This, according to DN, is her main motivator – what drives her to help others as often as possible.
“As I got older, I realized how thankful I am for all of those people who were always there for me and my siblings,” she said. “Now I know I was put on this Earth to help others, so whenever I do, I feel fulfilled.”
No matter the nonprofit or mission, DN is most likely up for putting on her volunteer gloves. But she admits she has a special place in her heart for youth. When she spends time volunteering with children through organizations like the local Boys & Girls Club, she often sees herself and her siblings in those kids.
“To think about other children who are now in the same situation I was makes me want help them get out and better themselves. Now [my brothers and sisters] all love volunteering, and especially love kids,” DN said. “Because there were so many around us when we were young, always helping out children became a natural thing for all of us.”
She doesn’t just encourage others to volunteer by talking the talk, but finds ways to help make it happen. As a member of the track team for UNC-Wilmington, she organized an effort that would get all of UNCW’s college athletes together for a single cause – to build a Habitat for Humanity house for a family in need.
The effort not only resulted in making a dream of home ownership come true for residents in need, but encouraged camaraderie and connectedness across the UNCW athletics family. This example perfectly illustrates DN’s bigger dream for herself and the world at large.
“Everything starts with community,” said DN. “My vision is if you help your community, if you focus on that and help grow it, then that positive effort will spread and the whole world will get better.”
It’s not every day you meet such a community-minded early-twenties young professional. For N2, DN was a natural fit for our culture. In fact, she’s bettered it by helping to organize volunteer opportunities for our team. And according to DN, finding a place where she is free to express her passion and let it flourish was paramount to her happiness.
“As a company, I feel like N2 is a perfect fit for my personality,” she said. “Helping build communities is such a big focus for me. And the purpose of our [product] is uniting an entire community.”
DN (second from left) enjoying time spent with N2 co-workers
It’s easy to see that helping others is in DN’s roots, it’s a major part of who she is. N2 is grateful for her endless positive energy and dedication to bettering our community, as well as other communities for which she is most passionate.
“My ultimate dream is to help unite community centers in the Bronx to help kids get out and grow. At the end of the day, I can do anything I put my mind to. We all can,” said DN.
“My main thing will always be volunteering and community. So as long as I’m doing that, I’m happy and I’m good with life.”
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