Who: Judy Combs
Location: Santa Ana, CA
Contributions: Longtime Volunteer & Mentor
1) Project Hope Alliance: When and how did you first hear about Project Hope Alliance?
Judy Combs: Many ways, but primarily through several chance occasions with Jennifer Friend, since we are both members of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church. When "214 Sq. Ft." went to St. Andrew's, I was unavailable to see it, so asked to go to Second Harvest Food Bank and learn more about the motel room and PHA.
2) Why did you choose to get involved and take action?
My nature is to give. Having been an executive director of a nonprofit, I know how difficult it can be to raise funds. I started my involvement that way, then when Jennifer spoke at a gathering at St. Andrew's regarding Every Monday Matters, my heart literally jumped into my throat and I was on my feet to serve!
3) In what ways do you help fuel our mission?
Fueling your mission is easy because every child does matter so much. I have donated and am presently mentoring the most delightful 8-year-old little girl through PHA's Bright Start Program. Each time I meet with her I come away from our time so blessed. I, also donate food and toiletries through St. Andrew's. PHA is the first organization I have served in this mentoring capacity, so I find myself learning so much and thanking the family constantly. My inclination is to give too much, so I have had to temper that and realize that they do not want their capabilities to be taken away from them.
Judy's heartfelt summary of her time so far with her Bright Start mentee:
4) Who are you when you're not changing the lives of the kids and families we serve?
After my retirement from being the executive director for the California Academic Decathlon in 2002, I became more involved in St. Andrew's. I attend Bible Studies and other events that keep me busy. I am also a coach for Executive Coaches of Orange County and enjoy working with the men and women in nonprofits. In addition, I enjoy gardening, walking, and pilates.
5) What gives you hope, and why?
God first! He is in charge, and that certainly makes life more hopeful. Also, having worked with high school students and seeing them in action for over 15 years, I see that so many want to make things better and assist others in the process. This gives me hope for the future. Organizations like PHA and the major role they play in Orange County and beyond are having an impact, and that makes me extremely hopeful.
Thank you, Judy, for giving the gift of hope.