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Alum Spotlight: Deborah McClung

July 7, 2009

Each year AmeriCorps Alums gives out the Eli Segal Award to just ONE outstanding Alum… but the truth is that there are so many of you doing so many wonderful things that we were moved beyond words!  That’s why we’ve chosen to highlight you and your programs.  And so today begins, in no particular order, the alum spotlight on our Segal Award runners up!

Deborah McClung – Greenbelt, MD

Saving Our Sisters, Inc.

When I left my job of 3 ½ years in New York in 1997 to become an AmeriCorps member in South Carolina, I had no idea that year of service would not only help me pay off an old student loan, but would turn into a lifelong commitment to serve. That one year commitment led to a career in National Service. I was introduced to service in my younger days as a Girls Scout, but was really only in it for the badge competition. After trading an office, a salaried position, and the comforts of home for a dorm room, a living allowance, and BDU’s (Battle Dress Uniform), I knew this could only be God’s way of getting my attention.

Standing at attention, I must continue to “answer the call to serve”. I have a responsibility to give back what was freely given to me. From women who have changed the course of history generations ago to the woman who made sure I had every opportunity to fulfill my dreams, I owe a debt of gratitude and I have learned that my gratitude speaks when care and share with others.  — Deborah McClung, from ‘A Note from the Executive Director’ on the Saving Our Sisters website

It is estimated that over 40% of women have tried drugs and/or alcohol by the age of 12. Deborah McClung was one of those teenagers. Deborah grew up in Albany, New York in a small household of three where mother worked two jobs to take care of the kids. Daily reminders of poverty and heartache led to her experimentation and eventual addiction to drugs and alcohol.

At the age of 26, her mother could not take seeing her daughter in so much pain and created an intervention for her. The intervention worked! In order to commit herself to a life without drugs, Deborah moved back to New York with her mother and took the journey towards healing herself.

Despite being captivated by drugs and alcohol for over 8 years, Ms. McClung was able to overcome her problems and this in turn gave her a new lease on life. Today, Deborah McClung is an AmeriCorps Alum and the founder of Saving Our Sisters, Inc. which was developed in 2006 by a group of women with various experience with long term recovery, healthcare, residential services, and serving the disability community. Her vision towards community service embarks upon a life of service as an advocate for women who experience drug abuse.

The goal of Saving Our Sisters, Inc. is to empower the women who transition out of the organization so that they will be able to reach back and help another woman on her journey to recovery.

As a woman who has recovered from addition Deborah continues to teach, educate and empower women who want to recover from the life of addiction. As the years go by, Deborah is able to empower hundreds of women. To date Saving Our Sisters has housed and assisted over fifty women. These women have received referrals, gotten treatment, received financial assistance, and counseling services to say the very least!

Kudos Deborah! Your journey, your service and your work is amazing… and we salute you.

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