1. Tell us about yourself.
I am new to El Paso, originally from Maryland. I am also a military spouse with two young kids. I love to be active outdoors: hiking, biking, running, yardwork – as long as I’m soaking up the sunshine, I’m happy!
2. Give us a description of what you do for United Way.
I am the Director of Community Impact. Basically what that means is that I oversee all the programs implemented by United Way such as Parents as Teachers, VolunteerElPaso.org, Young Leaders Society, and VELLO, the 3rd Grade Reading Initiative. I do my best to make sure that these programs meet impact goals, report deadlines, foster healthy relationships with partners, and continue to be a positive force within the community.
3. Why is this work so important to our community?
United Way focuses on education, basic needs, health, and financial stability as the pillars of our community. What is special about United Way programs is that they find links between these focus areas and strive to facilitate change across the spectrum. As an organization, we realize that these areas are interconnected and partner with other nonprofits, agencies, and programs across El Paso to help bridge the gap.
4. What is the most surprising thing you have learned about the community and yourself in your time at United Way?
When I moved to El Paso a short time ago, I was impressed by the vastness of the city – not only the physical space and expansion, but also the unique convergence of many different cultures. Since working at United Way, I’ve learned that this city really isn’t as vast as it seems, but instead, everyone is connected in some way. As a military spouse, I’ve grown accustomed to making friends with strangers and leaving just as quickly but as I’ve talked to people from El Paso, there aren’t many strangers such as myself. Instead, families stick together, and communities support each other for the long haul. I look forward to making my way into that community as part of the “extended family”.
5. Share a quote that motivates you as a person and as a member of the United Way team.
“Happiness is not real unless it is shared.”
I don’t know where that quote came from or when I came across it (a long time ago), but it seems to hold true for almost any situation. I hear some good news, I pass beautiful scenery, my child walks for the first time – the first thing I want to do is share my happiness with someone, to contribute to the positivity in the community. Having someone, anyone to share in your happiness and joy, no matter how small, is one of the greatest gifts.