Rev. Dr. Demetrius S. Carolina Sr. Honored for his Accomplishments
- Michael Anderson
The Rev. Dr. Demetrius S. Carolina Sr., executive director of the Central Family Life Center and pastor/CEO of First Central Baptist Church in Stapleton, is being honored with a Louis R. Miller Award. (Photo courtesy of the Chamber of Commerce/Steve White)
Republished with permission of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce
By Michael Anderson
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- When the Rev. Dr. Demetrius S. Carolina Sr. arrived at the North Shore in 2005, he understood what one of his priorities should be to help the youth in Stapleton.
“Education is the greatest equalizer in the world. When people know better, they can do better,” he said. “I’m a lifelong learner. It is my belief that whenever I’m learning something that will benefit me, it will benefit everyone else around me.”
Judging by his accomplishments in the last several years, the executive director of the Central Family Life Center and pastor/CEO of First Central Baptist Church, in Stapleton, has demonstrated he’s true to his word.
A current adjunct professor at St. John’s University in Grymes Hill and the Unification Theological Seminary in Manhattan, Carolina helped secure a YouthBUILD program called Impact. The program’s mission is to assist teens and young adults (ages 14-24) to earn a GED or high school equivalency diploma before training them in trades in response to the ongoing development on Staten Island.
He was also one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Eagle Academy for Young Men of Staten Island, which is co-located within Dreyfus Intermediate School (I.S. 49) in Stapleton. The school opened in 2014 and is an intimate, specialized, all-male public school with a rigorous curriculum that emphasizes character-building and leadership development.
“The Eagle Academy is so successful because no matter the ethnicity of the Eagle teacher – black, white, male, or female – they have a sense of cultural competency. That is, they look at these students like their own children. They want for these students what they would want for their own children,” he said.
His emphasis on education directly correlates to his background as a spiritual leader. He received a bachelor’s degree in history of education in social science from Richard Stockton University, a master’s of educational administration from Temple University, a doctorate of educational leadership from the University of Phoenix, and completed post-master’s research at New York University.
For his accomplishments, Carolina is being honored with a Louis R. Miller Leadership Award, which he will receive in the Not-for-Profit Businessperson category. The awards -- sponsored by M&T Bank and presented by the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce and the Staten Island Advance -- honor the memory of Louis R. Miller, a businessman and West Brighton resident who was also a community leader.
While youth is certainly served at the Central Family Life Center, which currently boasts 27 different programs, the Grymes Hill resident wants all involved members to feel welcome. With that in mind, Carolina ensures seniors are also embraced through a program in which they work with students after school.
“Children who may not have grandparents at home now get that warmth and love from a senior. And seniors who may not have their children or grandchildren with them, get to support and nurture some young people. There’s a whole inter-generational component that takes place,” he said.
In 2013, to curtail violence, the center subscribed to the Cure Violence Epidemic Control (Health) Model which is located in over 20 cities across the United States. Operation SNUG (guns spelled backward) is a statewide implementation of the Cure Violence model in New York and available in 30 sites over nine cities, but Stapleton is the only site on Staten Island.
This unique model, which is called “49 Strong Savings Lives,” allows at-risk young people to connect and learn from individuals who have been through the same struggles and have paid the price for taking the wrong path.
“As we all know, combatting violence is incredibly challenging to tackle. Rev. Dr. Carolina and his staff have been at the forefront of building an anti-violence community,” said Tatiana M. Arguello, program director for the Summer Youth Employment Program at United Activities Unlimited, who nominated Carolina for the Louis Miller award.
Carolina, who was appointed a commissioner with the city’s Commission on Human Rights in 2015, recognizes his council district is one of the most diverse and boasts one of the largest Liberian populations outside of Africa. That’s why he has traveled to Liberia and built schools and churches in the Paynesville Provence.
Bolstered by these efforts, Carolina has continually demonstrated his dedication to improving the quality of life in Stapleton for all its residents.
Recipients of the Louis R. Miller Awards are recognized as effective business leaders, and for their outstanding contributions to the local community. Awards are given out in four categories: Emerging, Established, Master, and Not-For-Profit. The honorees will be recognized during the annual Louis R. Miller Business Leadership Awards Breakfast on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at the Hilton Garden Inn. For tickets, visit www.sichamber.com or call the Chamber at 718-727-1900.
Below, Carolina shares more about his goals, job and life:
Past occupations and titles: Former pastor at Tried Stone Baptist Church; former pastor at St. James Christian Church; vice president of Operations & Community Relations at M.B.D. Community Housing Corporation.
Community involvement: Staten Island Community Public Television Executive Board of Directors; Delta Sigma Theta panelist at the College of Staten Island; chief coordinator on Staten Island for the Small Business Incubator; senior adviser for Staten Island Black Heritage Day; Clergy with A Purpose community leadership chair in Harlem; Staten Island Community Educational Forum; Partnership with Staten Island OutLoud; Staten Island Legislative Breakfast; Financial Awareness community forums; Partnership with Celebrating Real Family Life; Men’s Community Leadership Counsel; Staten Island Black History Town Hall Meeting; Staten Island Everybody Birthday Celebrations; Community Thanksgiving Dinner Staten Island North Shore; Community Christmas Toy Drive Staten Island North Shore; Community Peace Rally Staten Island/Brooklyn.
Some of my life goals include: Empowering underserved communities. To build bridges amongst various communities. To build a sustainable partnership that may not exist. Taking youth and exposing them to the larger global realities and opportunities.
The best part of my job: Meeting new people. Connecting people to resources. Helping various groups of goodwill to bring about positive change.
The most difficult part of my job: Dealing with old mindsets. Traditional realities. Breaking through bureaucracies.
My life philosophy: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Do the right thing when no one is watching and even when they are.
I am most proud of: My children (Dior, Delisa and Demetrius Jr.)
Something that no one knows about me: I love Broadway shows.
The quality I like best about myself: I listen to all sides before making a decision.
Personal interests and hobbies: Dancing.
I laugh at: The TV show “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”
I am really good at: Eating.
I admire: Servant leaders. Experiential leaders. The minds of children.
Some important things I would like you to know about me: I love my mother. I have overcome some health challenges. I serve at the will of my community. I am the oldest of four children.
FALL 2018, Dr Carolina with members of his Principles of Marketing class.
In the Spring semester, Dr Carolina will be teaching MGT 5331 Human Resource Management at UTS.
This course covers the knowledge and practical skills necessary to manage the staff of a non-profit organization. Primary focus will be the impact of human resource management on the effectiveness of organizational and individual performance. The course studies the interactions between managers, organizational staff, and specialists. It covers planning, compensation, job analysis and design, recruitment, selection, and performance evaluation. Key concepts will be illustrated and applied via case studies, as well as personal experience.