general manager of community services for the American Red Cross
of Greater Chicago, Deborah daBalos 91 knows the value
volunteers bring to not-for-profits. That's whyeven with a
full-time job, even as her husband is setting up his medical practice,
even with a new babydaBalos takes time to volunteer.
I enjoy it, plus I think volunteering is really important,
she says. These days her free time is spent serving the AIDS Memorial
Quilt, providing food and nutrition counseling for people with HIV
and AIDS through Open Hand Chicago, and on the board of Rape Victim
A Hawaii native, daBalos applied to colleges across the country
and selected Cornell, sight-unseen.
I flew to O'Hare and then to Cedar Rapids and took a cab
to campus, she recalls. The driver asked where he should
drop me, and I didn't know what to tell him. I'd never seen so much
flat land and all I could think was, What have I done?
DaBalos fears were soon alleviated.
I was a great fit for the block plan. In fact, it's still
how I work, she says. She worked summers in Massachusetts,
Minnesota, and Iowa. Her first post-graduation job was working with
victims of sexual and domestic violence at the Cedar Rapids YWCA.
She later moved to Denver to work for Planned Parenthood and then
to Chicago to work for the National Runaway Switchboard.
At the Red Cross since 1999, daBalos oversees a staff of 22 who
train and supervise volunteer instructors in programs ranging from
water safety for children to HIV prevention.
She and her husband, ophthalmologist Greg Halperin, live in Chicago
with their 5-month-old son, Griffin.