Dustin Chavis, a 24-year-old from Rowland NC, beat the odds when it came to graduating from a 4-year university. Dustin was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth. He has faced many barriers and challenges growing up, but has managed to overcome them and continues to stay positive regardless of the situation he may be facing.
While attending the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, he was always involved with campus activities. He was also a member of two fraternities, Phi Beta Sigma and Phi Mu Alpha. Many people knew Dustin and cherished him because of the wonderful personality he has.
Dustin uses a motorized wheelchair to assist him with his mobility. When he started having mobility issues, he knew he needed a new chair. UNCP's Accessibility Resource Center recommended him to reach out to the Lumbee Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation (LTVR) Program. The LTVR program provides vocational rehabilitation services to any tribal member with a disability living in the tribal service area of Cumberland, Hoke, Robeson, or Scotland Counties. Their goal is to improve the quality of life for tribal members with disabilities.
Once he reached out, the LTVR team worked immediately with him through the process to provide the services he needed to achieve a successful employment outcome. During the process, the program was able to assist him with a new motorized wheelchair. Dustin was able to become independent once again and continue his journey towards graduation.
At UNCP's 2018 Winter Commencement, Dustin lined up with classmates to receive what they've all been working towards. When it was Dustin's time to cross the stage, a stunning and inspirational moment occurred. With the assistance from Southeastern Health, Dustin was able to stand from his wheelchair and walk across the stage with an assistive technology device. The audience stood to their feet and gave him the standing ovation he deserved.
With the feeling of achievement, Dustin stated, "We may be different, but doesn't make us less. Don't let your disability hinder you".
Dustin Chavis graduated with his Bachelor's of Science in Psychology. He plans to continue his education by going to medical school to study psychiatry.
On behalf of the Lumbee Tribal Government, we would like to say congratulations Dustin on your accomplishments!
If you would like to learn about the Lumbee Tribe's Vocational Rehabilitation program, please visit our website at www.lumbeetribe.comor call the Vocational Rehabilitation Office at (910) 521-4220.