When you think about a typical Real Housewife, the first attribute that comes to mind isn’t necessarily all the ways this person gives back. But Real Housewives of Dallas star Cary Deuber—also a registered nurse—truly defies stereotypes. Not only is she down to earth but she considers giving back to be the most important part of her celebrity status.
“I enjoy helping people,” Deuber says. “It makes me happy to help others—it’s in my personality and DNA.”
For Deuber, this means actively engaging as a Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor—she’s spent the year being a “Big” to her “Little,” Leslie—a Dallas third grader, with whom she was paired after a rigorous application process.
Courtesy Peter Svenson Photography
“I’ll go to her school and have lunch with her and play games,” she says. “We make each other cards, and we have a little box where we keep all of our memories.”
Deuber will return to her every-other-week meetings with Leslie once school starts again in the fall.
“Leslie wants to be a dentist when she grows up, and it’s my dream to help her achieve her goals,” she says. “I love talking to her about her future goals and Leslie has changed my life just much as I have changed hers She teaches me a lot.”
This mom of a 4-year-old daughter and stepmother to a 17-year-old and 20-year-old, has also spent the past decade traveling abroad with her husband, a plastic surgeon, to countries including Belize and India, on overseas medical aid missions.
Her cause: Helping those with cleft palate and those in need of craniofacial reconstruction.
“I’ll never forget helping this one in girl in India who had a cleft lip and palate,” she says of a surgery performed about 11 years ago. “She had been sold to a husband for her dowry and was beaten every day by him. Once we fixed it, her whole family was so happy.”
Recently, Deuber began partnering with Amanda Gosman, a plastic surgeon in San Diego and founder of ConnectMed International, a non-profit that Gosman founded in 2010 to provide free reconstructive surgery and education to underserved communities worldwide. Most days, you’ll find Deuber in the operating room with Gosman.
“When I do missions, I’ll help sew—I sew a lot,” she says. “I can operate with my husband in the OR. I love medicine. It’s fun for me—I love working with my hands!”
Lately, Deuber and Gosman have been traveling to Tijuana to help provide services to needy people there. If you’re interested in volunteer opportunities in exotic locales, here’s what you need to know about “voluntourism.”
“Amanda and I are both moms of young girls, so it’s easier to go somewhere close to home to make a difference.”
Deuber hopes her daughter will one day help out too. “My stepkids love it—they all want to go with me, and they’re currently very involved with church mission trips,” she says. “I always say to Amanda that one day our daughters will go with us and will be able to help out—even if it’s just doing the translating.”
And while Deuber says she’s “blessed” to have what she has, she wants to give as much as she can to better other people’s lives.
Courtesy Stephanie Rose Photography
“We live in a bubble, and I want to do all that I can to raise my daughter to be down to earth and learn that what we have isn’t something everyone else shares,” she says. “That’s a really important educational lesson I want to impart to her.”
Deuber says that while there’s a lot of drama on the Real Housewives, there’s also good will that’s coming out of the show.
“The majority of the housewives do a lot of good,” she says. “A lot of us use it as a platform to provide aid for other people. It’s nice to have this platform and to give back.”
For Deuber, being a nurse has informed everything in her life.
“I will never not be a nurse,” she says. “I will always work even though at times I’ll work more and other times I’ll work less. I’m figuring out my balance but I will always have my foot in the medical door.”
And in the end, Deuber knows what matters.
“I guess it’s simple,” she says. “It’s so important in life to put as much positivity out there as you can and to give as much as you can to others.” Here are some creative ways to volunteer and really make a difference for others.