Year Joined MKLM: 2011
Focus: Education, Civil & Human Rights, Health, Pastoral Care
People Served: Vulnerable youth, abandoned elderly, nursing mothers, and migrant workers
Project Goal(s): TBD
Dee has recently transferred from Cambodia to Kenya and is currently in language school learning Kiswahili. She says, “I am afforded such a beautiful opportunity to learn not only about the language and the influences of other cultures that enrich the language, but the passion of the Swahili culture and the excitement of being able to converse. Kiswahili is as colorful as the African’s bright, vibrant cloths and as pronounced as a drum’s heartbeat.”
Her last ministry in Cambodia was with the Maryknoll Anlong Kngan Resettlement and Social Development Center in Phnom Penh:
Dee developed 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 met with seniors to discuss issues facing them. She helped 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 guided seniors through the process of obtaining health benefits while assisting those unable to take care of their own hygiene. She also negotiated adult foster care situations and helped to provide nutritional meals. At her Work-Smart Program and Resource Center, Dee taught coping skills to young men and women who were migrating to work abroad in another country. She emphasized personal awareness, and informed people of their rights and how they could protect themselves when they were applying for domestic jobs or work in the fishing industry.
Dee said, “Cambodian national treasures are not the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat or the Royal Palace, but they 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, 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 and 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, Puerto Rico.