“A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.”
Carla has always had an innate passion to address the ills socially neglected inner city communities face. She worked for the betterment of children in the Child Care Cluster at Skyline Career Development Center High School in Dallas, Texas. After obtaining her high school diploma, she then pursued a career in Health Care for over 18 years. At this time, Carla was a long time member of the CME church. Where she was constantly challenged “to move outside of her box.” Although, she was empowering staff and the senior community in Health Care, she declared “something was still missing.”
In pursuit of transferring her sense of purpose, in 2009, Carla became a member of Friendship West Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Frederick D. Haynes III and became a volunteer for Dallas Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). When asked about her experiences with CASA, Carla proclaims, “CASA is a bittersweet experience. These children are snatched out of their biological homes to be placed in a minimum of 5 different placement, Stranger danger means nothing to them and they have no clue who they are, and this is what drives me!” In May 2010, she attended training that addressed personal bias, and the importance of analyzing and unpacking the complexities of race and ethnicity issues in America, and how to adequately discuss ethnicity and the reality of white privilege. Unsurprisingly, Carla was excited about the “Knowing Who You Are” conversation, hosted by Texas CASA. She concludes by declaring, “For an organization to have this much needed conversation about the disproportionality of minorities, essentially African Americans, within the foster care system keeps me hopeful.” In November 2012, Carla completed the KWYA certification process, in accomplishment of becoming a conversational facilitator. Therefore, with much passion and in line with her purpose, Carla completed her Bachelors of Science degree in Human Service Management & Leadership (BS HSML) with a certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), founded Silverlining, which later became U-Nique Purpose, a faith-based 501(c)3) that is determine to eliminate child abuse in communities, families, and different systems.
Barbara Houston – Retired Foster Mom
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson selected the Dallas-area foster mom. “Ms. Barbara” retired in June after 21 years of foster parenting. She took in children who were considered the most demanding, behaviorally and emotionally. She also adopted one of her former foster children.
Dr. Kimberly Hill – Asst Prof. of U.S. History
An assistant professor of U.S. History at University of Texas at Dallas; Dr. Kimberly Hill does research on African American missionaries to Congo with a focus on how the missionaries’ work was inspired by historically black colleges. Dr. Hill teaches graduate and undergraduate courses which include Social History, African American History, U.S. History (from a global perspective), Race, and Southern Religion. Dr. Hill earned a B.A. in Plan II Interdisciplinary Honors from the University of Texas at Austin in 2002 and went on to earn a Ph.D. from the UNiversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2008.
The University of Cape Town hosted Dr. Hill as a study abroad student during college and she enjoys travelling to South Africa during occasional summer breaks. Since 2013, Educational Testing Services has appointed her to help train other educators on how to grade Advanced Placement U.S. History exams.