Deborah has always been a hard worker. Despite having a full-time job in finance, she knew her heart was tugging her to do something more. “I was looking for a way to help somebody without necessarily becoming a social worker,” she explains. So, seventeen years ago, she started working weekends at the Salvation Army Center of Hope.
Two years ago, she joined Roof Above to manage one of the motels accommodating former residents of Tent City. This summer, she became a Tenant Services Specialist at SECU The Rise on Clanton.
Where does she possibly find that much energy? “Everybody asks that,” she laughs. “I guess it’s just the way God is working in me.”
Her father is a preacher, and her son is a motivational speaker. Deborah’s job with Roof Above lets her spread inspiration herself. Tenants can count on her being at the front desk most weeknights. That steady presence allows her to create relationships and help tenants think about how they can rebuild their lives now that they’ve found a safe place to call home. “I try to connect with people, help them do better,” she says. “You’ve got to know your audience. But once you can build trust and respect, they’ll come to you.”
Beyond conversations, she also shows she cares by sharing her cooking with tenants. Whether it’s simply chili and cornbread or a complete Thanksgiving dinner, Deborah is passionate about the connection between full hearts and full bellies: “If you can cook with love, someone can feel that by eating.”