On March 3, Charlene Desha starts a new job. The Blount County resident is the new coordinator for Keep Blount Beautiful.
Desha currently works as the community coordinator at EarthFare in Turkey Creek, but came to Blount County years ago as a buyer for Proffitts. The Greenville, S.C., native has been in Blount County seven years. “I’ve been in retail most of my career. I wanted a change in career and have always been involved with the environment,” she said.
Working at EarthFare has enabled her to get on the board of the Tennessee Valley Earth Partnership. The organization puts on Earthfest events annually.
“I’ve been a board member since august of 2007, so I’m fairly new to them,” she said. “I’ve been with EarthFare two years and nine months. I left a year before they closed Proffitts.”
Desha said the opportunity with Keep Blount Beautiful was a perfect fit because it gives her the opportunity to make a difference where she lives, especially with the landfill education center. “You get kids interested in the environment and the fun things they can do, and you can make recycling a game,” she said. “If you give kids ownership of something, they’ll do it for the rest of their lives.”
Desha said she plans to work hard recruiting volunteers to help at the education center. “Currently the coordinator does all the tours. If we get volunteers to help, we could get more kids through there than we do now,” she said.
Desha and her husband, Tommy, have been married four years. They have one son, Eli, who is 20 months old.
Tim Self, chairman of the board of directors for Keep Blount Beautiful, said he was excited about Desha working as coordinator. “Charlene comes with a business background,” he said.
Self said that from her position with EarthFare, Desha gained experience partnering with other nonprofits to produce large community events that engage people. Desha has a “gentle” enthusiasm that attracts others, Self said.
“I think people are drawn to her. That will make her a great coordinator as far as marketing and P.R. and as far as our organization, and people wanting to be involved with us,” he said.