Year Joined MKLM: 2011
City: Phnom Penh
Focus: Education, Civil & Human Rights, Health, Pastoral Care
Project(s): Maryknoll Anlong Kngan Resettlement and Social Development Center
People Served: Vulnerable youth, abandoned elderly, nursing mothers, and migrant workers
Project Goal(s): STEM Curriculum, Elder Care Project, Work-Smart Program
In the city of Phnom Penh, Dee develops 136 students’ creative and critical thinking skills, training them to imagine new ideas, clarify concepts, and think broadly and deeply, while studying within a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum. In her Elder Care Project, she meets with seniors to discuss issues facing them. She helps organize social activities designed to empower and entertain, such as picnics at the beach and visits to waterfalls, to ward off loneliness and depression. Dee guides seniors through the process to obtain health benefits while assisting those unable to take care of their own hygiene. She also negotiates adult foster care situations and helps to provide nutritional meals. At her Work-Smart Program and Resource Center, Dee teaches coping skills to young men and women who are migrating to work abroad in another country. She emphasizes personal awareness, and informs people of their rights and how they can protect themselves when they are applying for domestic jobs or work in the fishing industry.
Dee shares: “Cambodian national treasures are not the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat or the Royal Palace, but are the valuable living treasures – the youth and the elderly.”
Before becoming a Maryknoll lay missioner, Dee resided in the Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Florida, areas. She graduated from Indiana University, Bloomington IN, with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing Research, studied Graphic Design at Purdue University, and has a Florida Property & Casualty Insurance License.
Dee was the Small Business Unit Property & Casualty Team Leader at an insurance company and a Project Manager at a check printing company.
An active church and community member, she was on the St. Vincent de Paul Board and worked with Church Without Walls, Homeless Outreach, StandUp for Kids Street Children, and organizations that served people with disabilities, such as Joni and Friends and Search Beyond Adventures. Dee participated in Cursillo and is a JustFaith graduate. She served three years in missions in Jamaica and San Juan, PR.