A Woman of Many Stories
"Which story to you want to hear?" is Nadine Araji's laughing response when asked to share her background story- A very appropriate response for a woman that has lived many lives!
Nadine currently lives in Maryland, although she is originally from Lebanon, born to an Iraqi father and Lebanese Mother. She speaks an impressive number of languages: English, Arabic, French, and Spanish.
She learned Spanish through her former marriage to a Guatemalan man. Through that relationship, Nadine came to know the country and people of Guatemala very well. She has visited the country over 50 times- especially to rural communities where her in-laws lived.
Seeing the crippling poverty in which many families live in Guatemala inspired her to find solutions. During her time in Guatemala, Nadine got involved in many charity projects, specifically in projects supporting senior citizens, people with disabilities, and families affected by alcoholism in very poor communities. She was struck by the level of poverty she witnessed in Guatemala and realized how much people in the US take their lifestyle for granted.
"If I had a way of helping, why wouldn't I help?"
Ever since she was a teenager, Nadine has had a desire to make a positive difference in the world, and that passion has only increased with time. She studied engineering and worked in the corporate world of IT for over 20 years which she left after feeling unfulfilled, wanting to do more to help others.
After experiencing her own struggle in a relationship with an alcoholic partner and going through a subsequent spiritual awakening, Nadine became even more passionate to support women in similar situations. She is an active member of Al Anon , a support organization for families of alcoholics and is a sponsor to many women.
She decided to join the Board of UPAVIM Community Development Foundation (UCDF) after reading about the gang violence, poverty, alcoholism, and domestic violence that affects young people and women in La Esperanza, where UPAVIM is located. She believes that the key to helping youth avoid gangs is by empowering and supporting their mothers- offering women sustainable job opportunities and education. If the parents are supported, their kids are more likely to succeed. Nadine is passionate about helping people build businesses that allow them to be self-sufficient, which is why she wants to contribute to supporting the families of UPAVIM through her work on the UCDF Board.
Nadine is currently the owner of an award-winning wedding event and design business in Maryland, where she donates 3% of sales to UPAVIM. Check out her work at https://nadinedeleon.com/.
Welcome to the UCDF team Nadine!