Debby Hampton, president and CEO of United Way of Central Oklahoma sees the “caring force of our people” as our greatest resource toward a future of humanitarianism in which many of society’s ills are cured.
Q: What will the biggest change be in the Oklahoma City metro area?
A: We hope the biggest change would be the true meaning of “LIVE UNITED” realized in our communities. We hope that we see a lifestyle shift for healthier citizens; the homeless would be homeless no more; the mentally ill would have a place where they could be properly cared for; our children would be able to learn better to secure a promising future; our citizens challenged by substance abuse would be able to fulfill their destinies of love and purpose — not based upon a communal fantasy, but upon the caring force of our people in central Oklahoma.
Q: Will there be physical changes? If so, what will they look like?
A: Oklahoma has been our nation’s best kept secret until now — the secret’s out! We are experiencing a migration of people into our wonderful state because of its caring citizens, pace of life and stable economy. Because of this, I foresee Oklahoma City becoming a bustling metropolis with a growing infrastructure. I believe we’ll see more people living downtown, an advanced public transportation system and a fortified safety net of social services for our most vulnerable citizens.
As our citizens come together to focus on solutions affecting positive change in our communities, we position ourselves as a model for other cities in the nation. We currently have the opportunity to demonstrate how to evolve into a stronger, healthier and more compassionate community. When we improve the health, education and economic well-being of individual families in need, it creates physical changes to our city that we can all see. You will see reduced obesity in our citizens. You will see higher standards of living for our next generation because of better education. You will see our elderly living out their lives with dignity. You will see our crime rates go down because of positive early intervention in the lives of our at-risk children. Social services would definitely change our “cityscape.”
Q: Where is the most potential?
A: Our potential lies within our people. We need to nurture and develop the talent and skills for our citizens to succeed. Early intervention in the educational process is vital to supporting successful outcomes for our citizens. To accomplish this, it takes everyone working together — legislators, churches, health and human services and our citizens. Overall, I believe we’ll see positive change and outcomes in Oklahoma City over the next 20 years because of its caring people.