Austin is well-known for both its live music and its spirit of community service. Combining the two is so Austin. Perhaps no one embodies Austin’s spirit better than Deidre Gott, who’s been serving dinner to Austinites experiencing homelessness through the ARCH for over a decade – and amping up her support with a musical flair Dolly Parton would be proud of.
Deidre began volunteering at The Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH) in 2009. ARCH serves as the first point of entry into the homeless social service system for many adults experiencing homelessness, providing them with a place to sleep for the night and access to resources. Deidre has been a faithful volunteer for more than a decade since, coming in regularly to serve dinner to clients.
Deidre’s other passion lies within live music – Dolly Parton specifically. After working at Dollywood when she was young, she has only advanced her music career and passion into her adult years, now working at KUTX and singing in a cover band for over 12 years. When Deidre has come to volunteer over the years, she has brought one individual from the local music industry to join her each time and spread awareness through her advocacy.
Her worlds were officially combined within the last two years, as she created the sold-out event “Cup of Ambition: A Dolly Parton Birthday Bash.” Local artists covered classic Dolly songs, along with a costume contest and karaoke. All proceeds raised during the event went towards Front Steps and the ARCH. Deidre even got on the mic herself during the event to bring the needs of the homeless to the forefront in between songs, making sure ARCH’s cause was front and center for the day.
“To all of us who work at the ARCH at 7th and Neches – it seems like a miracle to have someone celebrate our clients with such gusto and grace. Too often our clients are regarded as ‘less than human’ and yet Deidre reminds everyone that people helping people is how we solve our problems,” says Amy Price, Director of Development and Communications at Front Steps.
Deidre’s imagination, creativity, and joy have allowed Austin to create a new event for locals to look forward to that benefits our community. Her problem-solving skills and ability to “make it Austin” has resulted in thousands of dollars in support to Front Steps and touched countless lives in the process.