Deborah Marengo leaves an indelible mark on Promises2Kids
Some goodbyes are tougher than others. And in the case of Deborah Marengo’s departure from Promises2Kids, this one is especially hard. For the past six years, Marengo has served on the board — including two as chairwoman — of the local nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of children living in foster care. Due to term limits, Marengo will step down this September. “It’s definitely going to be a big void,” says Tonya Torosian, CEO of P2K. “Under her leadership, we have grown by leaps and bounds.”
Marengo says she and her husband, Claude-Anthony, have always been impressed by the organization’s commitment to its programs and the kids they serve. “Creating a brighter future for foster youth and breaking the cycle of child abuse has become a real passion for us. Having the opportunity to personally know many of our youth, and witnessing the life-changing success, has been a wonderful experience,” says Marengo.
She describes her work with P2K’s Guardian Scholars program as especially meaningful. “A couple of years ago, we started the program, which helps prepare high school students for exploring, applying, and acceptance into college,” she says. “I had the opportunity to meet a young man who had become a foster youth of a family member. He was lost and his grades were failing. I brought him into the program and his life turned around. As a result, he was accepted into several colleges and is on his way to a very successful future.” In fact, Torosian says that during Marengo’s tenure, the Guardian Scholars program nearly doubled the number of participating foster youth sent to college.
The dedicated volunteer was easy to identify as a prime candidate for the P2K board, and longtime friend Joan Waitt seized the opportunity to draw her in. “I asked her what my commitment would be, and she said a couple of hours a month. Well as you can see, that was not the case,” laughs Marengo, whose commitment goes far beyond simply attaching her name to the cause. Says Torosian, “She’s the first one to say ‘I’ll come down and volunteer,’ and she’s always up for asking her friends to support the cause.”
Though she won’t be on the board, her dedication remains unwavering. “I will continue stay involved with P2K — I am committed to making sure that our programs continue to grow,” she says. This includes serving on the scholarship committee, as well as her work on P2K’s signature fundraiser, the annual Dream On concert gala, which will take place on June 6 at Waitt’s private La Jolla estate, and will feature Cheap Trick as the entertainment headliner.
Marengo’s value to the group regardless of her role isn’t lost on Torosian. “It’s truly a gift to have the opportunity to work with her. She’ll move mountains, basically.” 858.278.4400, promises2kids.org Deanna Murphy
Rapid Fire With Deborah Marengo
On a typical Saturday, you’ll find me: spending time with Claude-Anthony
My favorite place for date night is: Eddie V’s
If I had to live anywhere other than La Jolla, it would be: Paris
The last book I read is: Steve Jobs
The one thing I can’t live without is: my husband
When I was young, I wanted to be a: fashion designer
My go-to designer is: my stylist, Summer Albertsen
Photo by Vincent Knakal