Debra Bond Dear
Debra Bond Dear is the Founder and Executive Director of Vanguard Landing. Dear, a parent of four daughters, one of whom has an Intellectual Disability made the decision to form an initial group that formed the non-profit to develop this Intentional Community. after learning about the severe shortage of opportunities in Virginia for our fellow citizens with ID/DD challenges.
While still serving as an Administrator for the Virginia Beach Public Schools, she researched what other communities were doing to address this shortage of opportunities. Once it became apparent that this effort would require a full-time commitment, Dear left her career to devote her time to Vanguard Landing Originally from Jackson, Mississippi, Dear, a graduate from Jackson Preparatory School, received a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Mississippi State University before moving to Virginia Beach in 1982.
She earned a Master’s Degree from Old Dominion University in Administration while serving as a teacher and raising her children.
During the years that her four daughters were growing up, Dear was actively involved in the community, their schools and their activities. Dear was an active member of the Virginia Beach Junior Woman’s Club serving on several committees including Chair of the Largest Fundraiser and President. She cherished the opportunities and friendships made via this organization, a member of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. They were involved with the beginning of The Marine Science Museum, Sugar Plum Bakery, Redwing Park and many other worthwhile projects. She served as a member of the Va Beach City Public School’s Special Education Advisory Board and several PTA Boards. She served on the boards for Very Special Arts and Equi-Kids which she was most honored to learn from with their Founder, Barbara S. Ford. In turn, Barbe assisted with the formation of Vanguard Landing and now is the Founder of Untamed Spirit Therapeutic and Educational Program. Dear currently serves on the Board of another new non-profit, Daniels’ Grace founded by her close friend Jodi Moore Newland.
Dear was the impetus and General Coordinator for the original KIDS COVE playground project over a two year period which resulted in the building of a 14,000 square foot accessible playground (Robert Leathers & Assoc.) over a five day period in May of 1993 with over 5,128 volunteers! She was honored to receive an award from the VB Jaycees for Outstanding Young Citizen of Virginia Beach.
Dear served a ten-year term on the VB Community Services Board. and treasures the relationships made there as well as the educational opportunities about the needs of adults with disabilities.
Vanguard Landing is the culmination of her long- held dream to create an Extraordinary option for people with intellectual disabilities. The hours may be long but the efforts of all involved will be realized when they see the vibrant interactive community thriving!