Tamara is the seventh daughter of a family of seven children from Ecuador. Her parents strongly believed in education for their children. She came to the United States, the Boston area, before college to learn English and entered college there. From Boston she went to New York to get an MBA in Nonprofit Management. “I was motivated to make a difference – not in making money.” She is doing just that by being very involved in the Sandy Springs community as Executive Director with the Community Assistance Center on Roswell Road.
How long have you lived and or worked in Sandy Springs? I moved to Atlanta and volunteered to work with the Cuban Olympic team in 1996. After the Olympics, I discovered the Community Assistance Center (CAC) as a volunteer. I felt strongly about their mission to serve the local community in order to prevent hunger and homelessness. In 1996 after the Olympics, I began a part-time job as Director of the CAC. This non-profit was growing fast to meet the needs of the community and it quickly took full time hours to keep up. Many don’t realize the number of people in Sandy Springs and Dunwoody that need help. Poverty has moved to the suburbs. Now we even see more middle class and young people coming in who need food and help to stay in their homes.
What inspired you or led to your current career? Even as a child and a teenager I felt the need to help people in my country. There were many children in small towns who had never seen a doctor. I helped organize doctors to go to these places to give immunizations and health exams. In my senior year in high school a few of us talked the school into giving us access to classrooms after hours to teach literacy. I have always wanted to be involved.
What advice would you give to people? The advice I give is based on the ancient Toltec philosophy which is comprised of 4 agreements which are: Agreement #1 – Be impeccable with your word. Agreement #2 – Don’t take anything personally Agreement #3 – Don’t make assumptions Agreement #4 –Always do your best and I also believe it is better to be kind than to be right!
What words come to mind when you think of the word home? Being with family – it doesn’t matter where the location – home is where the love is.