Deborah Muberarugo was in kindergarten when she arrived on our doorstep, having just arrived with her family from Rwanda. She spoke no English and was thrown headlong into American life and culture and, because of the language barrier, we communicated with lots of hugs and smiles, and Deborah was always smiling!

She quickly mastered the English language and began excelling, not only at school but in every Granny’s House group and program she attended: God’s Precious Jewels, The Princess Academy, Caleb-The Science Club… Always willing to help out wherever needed, she seemed to have the word “L-E-A-D-E-R-S-H-I-P” stamped on her forehead.

As a Hickman High School student, she lead God’s Precious Jewels group our K – 4th grade kids and co-lead The Princess Academy. When it was her time to teach a lesson on Honor, Strength, Dignity, Purity, or Courage, she arrived to the group with a PowerPoint lesson, handouts, and a craft project to help illustrate her lesson. Often, Service Learning volunteers from Mizzou and visitors to Granny’s House would asked her, “What’s your major?” assuming she was already in college.

When Granny’s House launched The Leadership Academy to help prepare Granny’s House kids for life after Granny’s House, Deborah had been modeling “Leadership” for years, and we immediately KNEW she would be a perfect fit for the brand-new position of Leadership Academy Intern – a paid position. As an intern for the past two years, she’s worked alongside Granny Pam, Poppi, and volunteers, assisting with administrative tasks, as well as continuing to help lead The Princess Academy and God’s Precious Jewels.

Deborah is graduating from Hickman High School and is headed to the University of Central Missouri in Warrenburg to pursue a nursing degree and was awarded a $5,000 scholarship from the Beacon of Hope Foundation that renewable annually. We often hear her saying, “I cannot imagine my life without Granny’s House!” And to that we say, “We cannot imagine a Granny’s House without Deborah Muberarugo!” -By Pamela Smith Ingram (aka “Granny Pam”)