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Woman Inspired by Mother Teresa Helps Low-Income Families

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RALEIGH — For 35 years, Dorothy Allen worked to help low-income families turn theirlives around. At one time she was a single mother living in public housingand had no money or food. But people in Wake County helped her and shevowed to give back to the community.

Allen kept her promise and made it her life's work. All you have to do islook at Dorothy Allen's wall of fame to realize what she has meant topeople in Raleigh.

"I always said if anyone needed me I would try to be there for them," saidAllen.

In the early 60's Allen volunteered at Wake Opportunities, a program whichaids low income families. In 1969 she became the executive director andsince that time has touched thousands of lives.

Allen counts Mother Teresa and civil right's leaders as inspirations, butsays her best teachers were her parents.

This summer, at age 71, Allen retired. She has scrap books full of memories, but what she really hopes to leave behind is a legacy of giving which others can learn from.

"If you give that love to someone else it will make you whole and the greatest thing anybody can give is love, is to really love unconditionally," said Allen.

Allen helped Wake Opportunities grow from a small community action group to a large non-profit agency which spends more than $5 million a year to helppeople in the community. She is most proud of her efforts to expand thehead-start program and to develop public housing for their clients.