When we volunteer—that is when we take the focus away from ourselves and place it on the needs of others—the time and activity leave us rich in spirit.
Pamela was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, before moving to New York in 1969 and then Washington, D.C. in 1970, where she's lived ever since. Pamela has worked for both the federal government and NGOs and her last professional stint was with the National Congress for Community Economic Development.
Pamela’s roots in giving time to others began as a child in Trinidad and Tobago. She was inspired by her parents and relatives who were compulsive about sharing just about everything with family, friends, neighbors and strangers. “Back then it was especially food items, delivered to family and neighbors since we enjoyed an abundance of produce from our gardens as well as meat from the animals we raised,” she said.
A long-time resident of Ward 4 in Washington, D.C., Pamela has been an advocate for senior citizens on behalf of the Office of Aging and was the ward representative on the Executive Council of DC-AARP from 2007 through 2011. She stepped down one year before the end of her tenure to fully engage in her biggest passion—working on political campaigns.
While Pamela has spent nearly 30 years in community economic development, she has always maintained a keen interest in issues of aging and gerontology. In 1977, she bought her home in a community where many seniors lived, and immediately got to work helping neighbors rake leaves, shovel snow, and get to where they needed to go. Today, she continues supporting these neighbors, which she calls "golden seniors," with crucial-information needs as well as securing birthday and condolence letters, from elected officials, to mark significant events in their lives.
“My volunteer service with AARP began in 2007 and focuses on the issues and concerns that impact the well-being of individuals 50 years of age and older, she said. “The organization lobbies at the state and federal levels addressing legislative issues around Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the Affordable Care Act, care giving, financial literacy, access-to-work opportunities, fraud and scams against seniors, and voter education,” Pamela said.
“I’m also very proud of the volunteer services I provide feeding the homeless with Martha’s Table,” Pamela said. “My volunteer relationship with Martha’s Table began in 1986, shortly after my mother’s passing. Historically, Martha’s Table mission focused on providing meals for the homeless and after-school education services for children and youth. Several years ago, the organization added clothing and the alleviation of food deserts, in certain communities, so that parents and children can have good-quality, fresh, food choices.”
On September 17, 2018, Pamela was sworn in, for a three-year term, as a public member of the Mayor’s Advisory Commission on Caribbean Cultural Affairs (MACCA)—a new volunteer challenge! According to the Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Office, “Members of the District’s boards and commissions serve and lead in a wide range of capacities within the Bowser Administration and help shape and influence critical decisions and services for District residents.”
“My favorite parts of volunteering include showing up for others whether it’s in person or on Tell-Townhall meetings with AARP or in the park with my sandwiches, water, fruit, and hygiene items for the homeless,” she said. “And on some occasions, the sandwiches are delivered to Martha’s Table.
“Giving back or sharing—whatever we call the value—is very important for our lives and the health of our communities,” Pamela said. “When we volunteer—that is when we take the focus away from ourselves and place it on the needs of others—the time and activity leave us rich in spirit.”
A big fan of Cabot White Oak Cheddar, fellow Cabot Celebrities may be surprised to learn that there is an interpretative dancer hiding within Pamela, who freely admits dancing joyfully around the house whenever she can.
“When I’m not volunteering, I reach for my other great balm—gardening,” Pamela said. “Once I cut my flowers and bring them into the house, I cannot wait to greet them in the bedroom or living room in the mornings. Ah, the beauty and scent of fresh flowers! It’s pure joy that is ranked in front of my other hobby—hugging large trees on my walking meditations.”
In addition to McKee, Cabot has honored 34 other AARP volunteers with Cabot Community Celebrity Cruises since 2010.
Having been honored as a 2011 Community Celebrity, Pamela will join us as a 2019 Alumnus. Joining her on the cruise will be her former colleague turned cruise buddy, Evelyn Frazier.