In Temple, Texas, female leaders are working hard to make a difference in their community. From business owners to non-profit directors, these women are making their voices heard and their impact felt. Their stories are inspiring, and they prove that anything is possible with determination and courage. If you’re looking for role models to help you achieve your own goals, look no further than the ladies of Temple, Texas.
Rachel Edelbrock: Director of Programs LDC
Rachel Edelbrock is a choreographer, performer, and entrepreneur that has been dancing and teaching in the Temple/Central Texas area her whole life. She started dancing at Lisa’s Dance Connection (LDC) at 18 months old. She began dancing competitively and eventually pre-professionally from ages 4 to 18 as well as training vocally through The Academie Musique of Central Texas. After high school, she attended Temple College as a Phi Theta Kappa Honor Graduate, Texas A&M University-Central Texas with a BBA in Marketing, and New York University with a Performing Arts Industry Certification.
Rachel often travels the country for dance conventions and has studied with world-renowned choreographers. Her combined understanding of music, dance, and teaching allow her to change the lives of young dancers as the Director of Programs at Lisa’s Dance Connection. She encourages her dancers to connect with the music by incorporating “Rhythm Reading” into her tap curriculum. Dance has been a part of her life from the start, and now she encourages others to find their passion in dancing.
Candace Cartwright: Foster Love Bell County
A Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) advocate and active community member, Candace Cartwright, is changing the lives of foster children. She is the founder of Foster Love Bell County, based in Belton, Texas. The organization is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children in the Bell County Child Welfare System. The Foster Love home, located near the courthouse, has room for up to nine children who may need to spend the night. There is also a game room, sensory nook, and resource closet.
Candace and her husband Tim, have three biological children, and one adopted son. The seed for Foster Love was planted when a foster placement arrived with his few belongings in a trash bag. She had no idea how common it was for foster children to be sent with their possessions in a trash bag, or sometimes with nothing at all. She put together a project called “My Very Own Bag” and received a great amount of interest from the community.
From here, Candace started a Facebook group to raise awareness. It wasn’t long before the group grew into a non-profit organization in the summer of 2017. However, she quickly got overwhelmed with the amount of work that she had to do on her own and enlisted the help of other organizations and professionals in the area. The organization helps other people in the community find ways to contribute by volunteering, donating funds, and donating necessary resources. Now, thanks to Candace, children’s lives in the foster care system of Bell County will be forever changed.
Kim White: The 411 House
Kim White, a long-time friend of Candace, does very similar work. She and her husband, Jeff, founded the 411 House in Temple, Texas. The 411 House is a non-profit organization that assists young boys in the Temple area who need guidance and mentorship.
The idea for the 411 House started when Kim was mentoring a teen mom at Temple High School whose daughter was close in age to Kim’s daughter. They would meet at the park on Thursday – soon, several other kids in the community joined. They built a community bond by helping kids with homework, throwing around a football, and eating pizza at the park.
Kim soon noticed how some of the boys in the area were having trouble finding themselves and taking the wrong path. Kim and Jeff wanted to make a change. They bought a run-down house in Temple, and with a grant from Chip and Joanna Gaines (from the HGTV show “Fixer Upper”), created a place that kids in the community could feel at home. The goal is to guide young boys in East Temple to grow into strong men by teaching them what strong, supportive relationships look like, and providing opportunities they wouldn’t have had otherwise.
Christine Parks: Temple ISD Chief of Communications
Christine Parks is the Chief of Communications and Community Relations for Temple Independent School District. Through her twenty-year career with TISD, Christine has played her role as Teacher, Literacy Coordinator, Assistant Principal, Principal, and Executive Director of Elementary Education. She received her Bachelor of Science in Education from Baylor University, a Master of Educational Administration from Tarleton State University, and Superintendent Certification through Texas A&M University– Central Texas.
This year, Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA) held its 60th annual conference, recognizing the communications departments and projects of participating school districts across the state. The Temple Independent School District’s Communications Department, led by Christine Parks, was honored with three Gold Star Awards; one for its production of the district’s 2020 Annual Report, another for its Healthy Habits poster, and a third for its Black History Month campaign.
As Vice-Chair of the Main Street Advisory Board, Christine and other board members help to transform downtown Temple’s economy, maintain historic buildings, and enhance the overall appearance and community aspects of Temple.
In her spare time, Christine also serves on the Board of Directors for Ralph Wilson Youth Club, the Cultural Activities Center and the Temple College Foundation.
Michelle DiGaetano: President of Temple Machine Shop, Inc.
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Michelle DiGaetano and her late husband, Stewart, began Temple Machine Shop, Inc. in 1980. She now runs the business with her son, Lester Fettig. Not only do they deliver the needs of hydraulic cylinder customers throughout the United States, but they also make an impact on their community through their business. They played a crucial role in developing the welding and manufacturing curriculum for Temple Independent School District.
When she’s not helping the community through her business, shes busy serving many organizations in Temple which include:
- Temple Community Clinic– former president and current board member
- Temple Founder Lions Club– former president
- McLane Children’s Medical Center Visionaries’– board member
- Altrusa International of Temple– club president
- American Heart Association’s Bell County Heart Ball– committee member
- Temple Reinvestment Zone #1– board member
She was also named Woman of Distinction in 2019 by the Girl Scouts of Central Texas.
When she’s not busy working and volunteering, Michelle loves to travel, listen to music, help her community, and of course, spoil her grandchildren with love and fresh baked goods.
Join Temple’s Female Leaders
Temple is home to some of the most amazing female leaders. These women are paving the road to success and building a stronger community in the process. Look no further than Temple, Texas, if you want to make a difference of your own. Join the Temple community as we empower each other to reach new goals and make the world a better place!
Visit our website to see the numerous ways that Temple fosters a culture of caring.