Deanna Hendricks is an ardent advocate for social justice with over seven years of social service and community engagement experience. In her recent position as a social worker for the Mercer County Board of Social Services in New Jersey, she was selected to participate in an $11 million federally funded Emergency Rental Assistance Program. This specialized eviction prevention program was designed to assist those who experienced hardship due to COVID-19 with rent and utility relief. Her dedication to ensuring her clients obtain and maintain safe, sanitary and affordable housing afforded her this opportunity in addition to her commitment to sharing resources that provide tools and skills that embolden long-term self-sufficiency. Prior to this appointment, she worked in the WorkFirst New Jersey Unit where she provided intensive case management services to individuals seeking employment, training and educational opportunities. She was essential to ensuring every client received equitable treatment and advocated for the implementation of site visits to foster trusting client to vendor relationships. While working with the Mercer County Board of Social Services, she was also appointed Communications Chair where she was directly responsible for developing marketing materials, producing the annual report and curating content for agency digital displays that provide resources to employees and clients.
Deanna has a passion for volunteerism and has dedicated much of her time to efforts including mentorship, civic engagement, housing, animal and human rights. Most recently, she served as Social Media and Communications Chair of the Eggerts Crossing Civic League, Inc. (ECCL). Based in Lawrenceville, NJ, the ECCL is an community based organization that strives to enrich and improve education, housing, economic development, health and transportation for its members. From 2020-2022, she worked with the ECCL to implement the first Black Authors Book Drive in celebration of Black History Month. She was also responsible for successfully rebranding the organization, helping them to develop a new logo and website, and creating and maintaining their social media channels.
Additionally, from 2015-2020, Deanna participated in the Big Brother Big Sister program where she served as a mentor, helping to guide her little sister’s path through high school graduation. During her frequent travels to Puerto Rico, to visit family, she volunteers with grassroot organizations Our Big Fat Caribbean Rescue and Hope Builders through direct community engagement, producing promotional videos and education. Her experiences continue to teach her compassion and humility which fuel her desire to assist others through service.
Deanna is an alumna of Rutgers University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Media Studies from the School of Communication and Information in 2014. As a student, she was actively involved on campus, specifically working with campus media outlets as a contributing writer for The Daily Targum, a student-led newspaper, and the RU-tv Network where she covered local news, campus events and pop culture. Alongside her co-curricular activities, Deanna also had the privilege to participate in a University program that gave her the opportunity to experience culture and study social justice in the Dominican Republic with the Center for Latino Arts and Culture in 2012.
In her free time she enjoys hiking, gardening and cooking. As a National Urban Fellow, Deanna seeks to better understand policy and how it shapes our country, develop skills to combat civil and human rights issues, expand her network, and acquire knowledge overall. She aspires to become an impactful leader who advocates for equity not only in her community, but worldwide.