Alumna Honored for Community Outreach and Impact in Orange County

by University Relations

Recently named 2018 Woman of Distinction by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-65), Debra Stout, Psy.D. ’05, deftly juggles a variety of professional and personal endeavors as an advocate for those in need. Inspired by the clear edict in Matthew 22:39, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (NRSV), she left behind a lucrative career in retail management to specialize in community outreach work—from hands-on involvement with philanthropic organizations such as Moms Club of Fullerton, Women’s Club of Fullerton, and OC United Way, to her nonprofit consulting business and university teaching positions. Each day, throughout Orange County and beyond, Stout helps to create healthy communities, where not only her 9-year-old daughter can thrive, but also her neighbors.

“Everything I do in my community is part of who I am in one way or another. I don’t draw many distinctions between my personal and professional roles when it comes to service,” said Stout, a part-time faculty member at California State University, Fullerton, teaching in the Departments of Counseling and Child and Adolescent Studies, and an instructor for online doctoral courses at the University of the Rockies, Colorado Springs. “I grew up serving my community with my local church, and my desire to help others has never waned.”

A natural synergy exists among the many hats Stout sports, including her work as the executive director of the Fullerton Collaborative, a cooperative of executive directors, educators, activists, community service leaders, and volunteers dedicated to building and supporting a healthy cohesive community. “As an alliance of nonprofit organizations and individuals who enjoy making good things happen for the community, we are able to provide assistance where we are needed most,” said Stout. Part of her role includes coordinating the collaborative’s programs, projects, grants, and events, like this year’s “Our City, Our Home,” Faces of Fullerton annual event that encourages neighbors to interact with each other while learning about available community resources.

Despite a full schedule, Stout added a passion project to her plate. In 2004, she and her husband, Dallas, Psy.D. ’05, cofounded DoctorS Nonprofit Consulting, which provides a broad array of consultation services to nonprofit and grassroots groups, coalitions, and agencies. The Stouts specialize in all aspects of research, such as program evaluation, grant writing, as well as staff training. “Our nonprofit clients range from substance-abuse programs to senior assistance organizations like SeniorServ, Orange County’s largest provider of senior meals and services,” said Stout. “We helped show that their program makes a huge difference in the community that goes well beyond nutrition. Seniors receiving their home-delivered meals go into the hospital less frequently and get discharged sooner than their peers who don’t participate in the program.”

Stout spent a lifetime preparing for these service roles. While working for the Orange County Department of Education’s alcohol, tobacco, drug use, and violence prevention programs, she coordinated a nationally acclaimed gang prevention and intervention program with the Boys and Girls Club of Westminster. As a former cochair of the Violence Prevention Coalition of Orange County and trainer for the Orange County Department of Education, she developed curricula for the Safe from the Start coalition, educating thousands about the impact of violence on the brain and how to support awareness of early childhood prevention.

While Stout’s calendar may seem confounding, the answer she gives when her community comes calling is simple—“As Christians we are called to serve, so that’s what I do.”