Debbie Dahlstrom Connell, of Eastman, was appointed in 2002 by House Speaker Terry Coleman to serve the Georgia Commission on Women. Representing the middle Georgia area, Debbie has been active on Health and Education initiatives.
Debbie was involved in the Commission’s Childhood Health & Over Weight Initiative–C.H.O.W. programs–implementing and directing the pilot programs at both South Dodge and North Dodge, elementary schools in Eastman, GA through the use of the “Organwise Guys.” It is still used today. Debbie has served as Executive Director of Dodge Connection-Communities in Schools of Dodge County, Inc. since its inception in 1998.
Debbie has a passion to improve the quality of life for the children and families of Dodge County. She has been instrumental in leveraging resources of over $16 million in grants and fundraising to support programs such as Family Connection, Communities in Schools, Prevent Child Abuse, The Boys and Girls Club, Dodge County Certified Literate Community Program, Even Start, Parental Information and Resource Center, the 21st Century Learning Center, Mentoring, Telemedicine, Performance Learning Center, etc. She has been able to reach children and families and share invaluable resources throughout her community. Moreover, Debbie employs Americorps and Vista volunteers in order to further ensure the youth in her community have opportunities to give back and gain priceless experiences.
Debbie was raised in Atlanta, GA and graduated from Lakeside High School. She received a Journalism Degree from the University of Georgia. After marrying David Connell, a native of Eastman, GA, she moved there, working for many years at the newspaper. She quickly made Eastman her home, becoming passionate about the wellbeing of the children and families in Dodge County. Debbie, David, and their three sons, Tyler, Dylan, and Ryan, are members of Eastman First United Methodist Church. Lover of all animals, Debbie has horses, two dogs, Abby and Gracie, and an African Grey parrot, Ozzie, whom she raised from a chick. Debbie is an avid reader and volunteer. She enjoys yoga, being with friends, cooking, traveling, and spending time with her sons and their families, including four grandchildren.