Deborah Arango, Leadership Society member

Why is it important for you to give back to your community?
My journey into community service and volunteerism began as a way to “pay it forward” for the generosity of others when I was growing up and was considered “at risk.” Because of others’ efforts I never felt different – I knew I counted. Everyone deserves to feel like they matter!

I give back to our community to strengthen it and empower the people who live in it by making sure they know they matter. When our people know they count, it promotes personal growth and self-esteem, and a brighter future – a future that breaks the cycles of dropouts, poverty, and poor health.

What is your dream for Dallas?
Dallas is one of the most diverse cities in the nation. Uniting people from diverse backgrounds to work toward a common goal to break the cycles of dropouts, poverty, and poor health, strengthens our community and makes it more inclusive. My dream for Dallas is for it to harness the power of its diverse people and create an inclusive community.

What is your most memorable volunteer or impact moment with United Way?
My most memorable impact moment with United Way was during the day of service at the MLK Child Care Group Center. The reason this event stood out was because we were able to personally witness the impact of the outreach that extended to the entire family unit. Parents were able to move freely in the center as if it was their home. The children viewed their classmates as extended family. And, the faculty ensured the center resembled a home in terms of how it felt (community areas for meals, reading, and art & craft projects) and smelled (like home cooking). The center felt like the hub of the community.