By Donna Parker
Deborah Fuller Jung ’75, who earned her bachelor of arts in speech and drama, was an actor in the Dallas/Fort Worth area doing commercials and stage work in a children’s playhouse when she decided to leave commercial ventures to look after the “souls of the kids becoming artists.”
“If I were in charge of the world, I’d create a theater where children could thrive. Actually, this happened to me in reverse. When the Kids Who Care pilot summer camp was held the first year, there was such an overwhelming response from parents that we decided to carry it into a year-round project.”
Kids Who Care (KWC) is a theater company open to children not only from the Fort Worth area, but internationally. It is a place where kids not only hone their acting craft, but practice leadership skills, as well.
“We’re structured for children to learn how to be an entrepreneur. Our performances become mini-corporate events, of sorts. Last summer, there were 246 children involved in producing the show, which meant they were not only staging the event, but driving ticket sales and learning the basic components of becoming great business leaders.”
“It actually mirrors my experience at Trinity,” Deborah says fondly. “I was an RA under the wing of Coleen Grissom, department of English, who created in me a sense of being responsible for more than just making money. I left college wondering how I could give back to the world. These kids will leave with confidence that adults have molded them, just as I felt while attending Trinity.”
Deborah’s life is full and busy, but she did find time to have two children of her own, one of whom is the production manager for KWC. Deborah and her husband, Dexter, also delight in spending time with their 5-month-old grandson, Riley. However, even in leisure, she’s always thinking about Kids Who Care’s next act.
“Even in my down time, I’m sitting on my front porch reading the next leadership book and collaborating with my group of writers who work year-round on the next KWC performance,” laughs Deborah, who says it all began during her own campus days.
“Eugene McKinney, department of speech and drama, taught me how to write. Paul Baker, department of speech and drama, was instrumental in teaching me how to create a thought, and Frances Swinny, also from the department of speech and drama, passed along her knowledge of voice and diction that I’m still teaching to the kids.”
“Trinity was invaluable because we learned how to give back, rather than just make money. It was all about what you had to offer. Now, we’re offering KWC campers the chance to be stars in their own lives.”