We had the good fortune of connecting with Aarika Plunkett and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Aarika, as a parent, what have you done for you children that you feel has had the most significant impact?

As a parent, I believe and know the most important job I have as a parent is to give them God. I know my responsibilities are to provide, pour into them, nurture, and protect them. But all that means nothing if I do not give them God’s learning. My children attend a small Christian school and their education is priority for me. They excel in academics and all is that is great! But I love to see how they learn to serve others, be selfless, be a true friend, be kind to others, respect the thoughts and beliefs of other with no judgement. This is will be the greatest gift I can give my children because they are children for so long, so when they become adults they will be great women of God and their impact will be significant in this world because of their love of God and his people!

My belief is when children grow up knowing God, you give them the blueprint of life and they will trust and know that nothing in life is impossible.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
In 2013, I moved to Houston with my 2 little girls and their dad from California. I left family, friends, and my job behind in Los Angeles and moved to a new city and state. With no friends, no village, and little to no help, I decided while my children were still young, I would go back to school within a year of my move to Houston.  In December of 2016, I graduated from the University of Houston with my Bachelors in Public Communication. In Spring 2017, I entered into the Master’s Program at UHD and I graduated in 2019 with my M.A. in Non-Profit Management.

I embraced my journey and here I am…… As a Community Development Officer, I acts as a bridge between marginalized communities and government authorities at local, regional and national levels. I have the fortunate opportunity to partner with great local non-profits and community development organizations and help design and implement community programs, assist with strategies to maximize community outreach and immersion to achieve outcomes and oversee the bank’s philanthropic efforts.

As a Community Development Officer it is my responsibility to continuously situate myself and the bank to become an effective community partners in the Houston and Austin market and I love to see when my vision for a program comes to light because it just confirms that I know my career choice is my purpose.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?

When families comes to see me, I love going to the Menil Collection Museum and roaming the halls. It is something serene and majestic about sitting in a great space of art and silence. I love the wide spaces and the peek a boo of natural lighting throughout the museum. I also love to take people to Sugar Land Memorial Park. I love, love this park! The hidden trails and the walk along the river water is the best ever!

For a great dinner we may end up at Willie G’s, Maestro’s or Eddie V’s. For brunch, we may end up at Liberty Kitchen, Snooze in Memorial or Tiny Box No. 5 and for a spa day we may end up at The Houstonian.

Lastly, a visit to Wheeler Ave Baptist Church is a MUST. I have taken everyone to church on Sunday’s when they come to Houston! So if you ever visit me, please know we are going to look at art, take a walk in the park, have a spa day, eat good and praise God!!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mother Glenis Knight and my sister friend Ronda Damon deserves all the recognition in the world. Without their encouraging words, heartfelt prayers, their voices that calms me during storms, I would be lost at times. These women are my personal heroes!

Image Credits
My daughter Ava Collins

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