• Mariana Sierra

A Start of A Resilient Journey (Episode 1)


The launch of our podcast is finally here. All of us at El Paso United Family Resiliency Center (FRC) hope this type of outreach serves to unite and support a community deeply touched by the events of August 3rd.

I’m honored to start the conversations that will take us on a journey to recovery. I’ve always been in love with our beautiful frontera and I truly hope these conversations serves you and your loved ones.

During our first United & Resilient episode, “A Start of a Resilient Journey,” we invite Deborah Zuloaga, President & CEO of the United Way of El Paso County and Christina Lamour, Vice-President of Community Impact to walk us through the development of the FRC.

These two leaders within United Way and the community share with us not only about their roles in leading this program but also their personal thoughts on finding the confidence and strength to undertake such a meaningful task. In listening to them, you can hear how committed they are to the community and the participants of the FRC.

A Commitment to our Borderland- Deborah Zuloaga, President & CEO of United Way of El Paso County

Our distinguished guest, Deborah Zuloaga has dedicated most of her professional career to our community by providing strategic leadership throughout the nonprofit sector for decades

She was honored as a 2019 recipient of El Paso Inc. Women of Impact. She served deputy associate director of presidential personnel at the White House and director, Federal Advisory Committee Office at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Also, Zuloaga, was a past executive director of the Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest. The Sun Bowl Parade is among a long list of accomplishments for Zuloaga which include the Amigo Airshow and Executive Forum.

A Strong Leader for our Community- Christina Lamour, Vice-Presidents of Community Impact at United Way of El Paso County

Christina Lamour likes to describe herself as a military spouse and mother of two beautiful children. However, since she started her time at United Way, she has been a fierce leader for our community and El Paso is ready to call her one of our own.

Lamour has been a key player in our FRC, she is the rock that holds our team together. She serves as Human Services Officer liaison with the Office of Emergency Management. Therefore, when United Way of El Paso County was asked to lead efforts for long-term recovery, Lamour, did not think twice on how she was going to lead these efforts. She just did. “When you’re called to duty, you respond,” Lamour said during our conversation.

Lamour has more than 13 years of experience in the non-profit sector combatting issues of poverty, sustainable agriculture and education. Her favorite mental health activities include hiking, bike riding, coloring books, baking and sitting in her backyard.

An Organization Ready to Lead

The United Way of El Paso County, with corporate partners, organizations, donors and volunteers, stands up for the education, health, basic needs and financial stability of every person in our community.

Our United Way in that last year was entrusted by local governments to lead major efforts in response to series of unforeseen events – a migrant influx, a mass casualty event, and a global pandemic. It’s only through the generosity of our donors and collaborations of community partners that we have been able to push forward with our endeavors and creative solutions.

About the FRC

In the wake of the mass casualty event that took place on August 3, 2019, local, state and community agencies identified the need to stand up a resiliency center for long-term community recovery. In collaboration with the County of El Paso and the City of El Paso and funding through the Office of the Governor, United Way of El Paso County was entrusted to be the backbone agency to host the center and lead efforts in long-term recovery.

The El Paso United Family Resiliency Center (FRC) opened its doors on December 19, 2019 offering a place of healing and support dedicated to serving those directly and indirectly impacted by the tragedy. The main focus of the FRC is to disseminate information and assist community members in navigating the variety of services available.

The Road to Long-term Recovery

You’ll hear a lot about long-term recovery in this episode and future ones as well as on our social media platforms, website and outreach material. It’s a term that in some sense defines the work of the FRC. Christina and Deb both in this episode share their thought behind this phrase, what it means to them and what factors helped define it.

At the El Paso United FRC, we understand that every individual responds to trauma in different ways and that every community is unique. Which is why it’s so important to us to listen to our community members. We want to know their unique needs, which will shape everything we do at the FRC and in this podcast.

We all have our journey to recovery; my journey is different from yours but that doesn’t mean we can’t support each other in our process. As El Pasoans and Juarenses we’ll continue to unite and heal together.

A Community Searching for Resiliency


Through this episode we explore the meaning of resiliency, especially resiliency in our community. Everyone can have their own definition, or their own experience of what resiliency is. Resiliency can be the ability to overcome challenges to any type of trauma by bouncing back stronger, wiser and after all more human. However, it is okay if we don’t feel strong all the time, but we can feel united. We have each other and we will heal together.

Through this podcast we’d love to get the conversation going. Share with us what does resiliency mean to you? Ask your family members or friends what resiliency means to them. It is important to recognize the meaning of these terms in our lives and how they have impacted us.

Press play and take a listen to learn more.

Our guests

Deborah Zuloaga, United Way of El Paso County President & CEO


Christina Lamour, United Way of El Paso County Vice President of Community Impact

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The El Paso United Family Resiliency Center has been partially funded by a grant from the American Red Cross.

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