Ara Grimaldo Saintus
Ara Grimaldo SaintusMy Dallas Story
“I made it the mission of my life to ensure that all kids have access, all kids have a level playing field.”
“My parents — they emigrated here from Mexico and because of their sacrifice, their willpower to do that, my siblings and I have a different life. And so now I made it the mission of my life to ensure that all kids have access, all kids have a level playing field. There’s so many of us that want that.”
Part of a community of first-generation college graduates, Ara Grimaldo continues to say yes to Dallas. She grew up in Oak Cliff and attended Texas A&M in College Station. She came back to the Dallas Region after graduation and now serves as executive director of After8toEducate — a nonprofit aimed at homeless youth ages 14 to 21. Located in a former elementary school, the building is divided into two sections. Resources like food, computers, a kitchen, and washer/dryers are on one side, where youth in need can drop in. The other side of the building is set up for emergency and transitional housing. On the weekends Ana likes visiting the Perot Museum with her daughters, going to the Dallas Arboretum, or shopping around Half Priced Books. When it’s time for self-care, she heads to Hiatus Spa. The words she thinks of to describe Dallas are: grit, community, pioneer, and family.
- Favorite local restaurant: Flower Child in downtown or Cava in Lakewood, Jordan Cafe or Veracruz in Oak Cliff/Cedar Hill
- Favorite festival: State Fair of Texas!
- Favorite local hero: Tina Robertson — my mentor and the Director of Innovation and Impact at Momentous Institute. I met her while I was interning in college, and she was my entry into the nonprofit world. Tina continues to be a guiding light on my journey through this sector. And I’m not the only one — she has paved the way for many young women.
Want to know more about Ara’s work and how to get involved? Check out this CBS Dallas feature on After8toEducate and this video highlighting the organization as a 2022-23 Mavs Foundation Grant Application winner. Food, cleaning supplies, and clothing donations are always welcome and can be brought directly to After8toEducate’s facility. You can also donate through the After8toEducate homepage. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook to stay connected with news and events.