Some people might consider Kathleen Leos a Super Volunteer, but she has a difficult time calling herself a volunteer.
“With a Hispanic husband and five children, I live in a bilingual, bi-cultural household,” says Leos, a neighborhood resident for more than 15 years.
“I live and work in the multi-cultural, very diverse community, and I just see my work as an extension of my life here.”
She is dedicated to bringing together the many cultural groups which make up her community. Her volunteer work includes serving in her third year as president of the James W. Fannin Elementary PTA and serving on the YWCA Administrative Council.
“Whatever she does, she does with a full heart. She has a vision for the community – to enrich this whole area, to unite the ethnic groups and to provide services for the families,” says Phyllis Newman, senior executive officer of the Dallas YWCA.
Leos’ most recent project as PTA president is setting up basic English classes for non-English speaking families. The classes, which started Sept. 14, meet two days each week for two hours at Ross Avenue Baptist Church. The program offers parents of Fannin students transportation to the classes, child care and books.
The classes – offered in Spanish, Cambodian, Laotian and Vietnamese – are taught by volunteers. The Altrusa Club is funding the program, and the church is providing the space, two vans and volunteers to teach and provide child care. It is a community-wide effort that will benefit parents and their children.
As a member of the YWCA’s administrative council, Leos’ goal is to match the YWCA’s resources with the needs of the community.
Last year, she assisted the YWCA as the group initiated an after-school program for Fannin students. Last year, 33 students participated in the program.
Her work within the community also is part of her full-time job. Leos is the director of day care for the Dallas Services for Visually Impaired Children, a neighborhood non-profit agency.