Antoinetta Royster makes decisions that positively impact Personians everyday as the program manager of the Person County DSS Service Units. She graduated from Person High School in 1994 and continued her education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and North Carolina Central University, earning Bachelor’s Degrees in Biology and Criminal Justice. From there she earned a Master of Social Work Degree from the University of North Carolina. Her story proves that we can make the world better by starting here at home.
Q) What was your upbringing like in Person County?
A) It was mostly positive. Everybody knew everybody. I was raised in the church and you would often see your friends at church functions. There really were not many places to hang out but we made it work. I come from a supportive, loving and involved family so life was pretty good.
Q) What is your career path and what are your proudest achievements?
A) I am the program manager of the Services Units at Person County DSS. These units consist of 5 supervisors and about 35 workers. The programs in the Services Units include Child Protective Services, Foster Care, Adoptions, Foster Home Licensing, Adult Services (Adult Protective Services, CAP, Guardianship, Representative Payee, and other programs) and the Self-Sufficiency Unit (Work First, Child Care Subsidy, Service Intake and other programs).
Q) What organizations or community endeavors do you participate in?
A) I am an active member of Greater Clegg’s Chapel Community Missionary Baptist Church. I am also the Young Adult Director of the East Cedar Grove Missionary Baptist Association’s Women’s Auxiliary. This ministry needs to grow and I welcome others within the ECGMBA to join me!
In the past I have served on the Person Family Medical and Dental Center Board, Earl Bradsher Policy Council, Substance Abuse Sub-Committee of Healthy Personians, Person County Human Trafficking Committee, Roxboro Community School, Telamon Corporation, and others. I was the Roxboro-Person NCCU Alumni Chapter President in 2005 when our charter was re-established. All of these organizations, agencies and institutions are vital to promoting positive change in the community whether it is through education, health, safety, self-sufficiency or service.
Q) Why is it important that women be recognized for their foundational work in our community and our nation?
A) Women have made so many accomplishments and broken so many barriers that have shaped our lives tremendously. Women today, especially minority women, would not have the opportunities that we have now if not for the sacrifices of activists like Ida B. Wells and Sojourner Truth, the courage of civil rights leaders like Ruby Bridges, the leadership of politicians like Shirley Chisholm, Carol Moseley Braun and Maxine Waters, the business mind of entrepreneurs like Madame CJ Walker, or the cultural impact of writers like Maya Angelou and performers like Misty Copeland. I believe we must show our appreciation and acknowledge the work of women. We are vital to society.
Q) What do you envision for the future of Person County?
A) Person County can lead progressive positive change for all citizens if we take advantage of opportunities that will promote growth in this community. It can happen but we must be innovative and creative during the process.
Q) What is your advice for girls and young women who look to you as motivation?
A) Do not give up on your dreams and do not allow others to make you give up. I was pregnant at 18. I think back on how my life may have been different if I would have listened to the people telling me not to go to college and just work. It was challenging going to college as a young mother and leaving my baby behind for a while. I was fortunate to have parents, a brother, family and church family who offered me the support and encouragement to keep at it and that baby of mine is now a college graduate herself.
My career and community involvement can be very demanding at times and occasionally require me to be away from home. God blessed me with a supportive husband and mother who makes sure our five-year-old daughter and 18 month old son are taken care of. As girls, young women, or women in general, you must be mindful of your relationships when working toward your goals. Your relationships should include people that will help you build instead of tear down. Take advantage of your support systems with your spouse, family, church, friends and community.
Life brings challenges and stumbling blocks, but be prayerful and determined to reach the goals you have set. You need to have confidence as well as humility. If you remain faithful to God, His blessings will come in some ways you would have never imagined! I am a witness!