Judy VanderArk was part of My Friend’s House when City House’s emergency shelter initially opened in 2009. She was there every Wednesday, working with the children as a “Rock n Roller” – rocking babies and spending time with the youngsters in City House’s care. These days she comes in every Friday as an administration assistant, fondly referred to as “Admin Aces.”
“When I first heard of City House I was working as a full-time emergency room nurse,” she said. “I frequently came in contact with kids that were going to be referred to City House and I learned more about the cause. I’ve always loved being around children of all ages. I have three daughters and nine grandkids. My initial thoughts were to have my grandkids give back but they were too young. So I started volunteering with City House and have thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Judy and her husband Doug have been extremely active with the City House Gala each fall, especially around the silent auction in procuring items and keeping all of the data organized. Judy also is very active with the Collin Classic Bike Rally each June, one of City House’e primary fundraising events.
Former heads of the mission team at their church for over 10 years, Judy and Doug have also volunteered with Family Promise at the church, and have helped with the Austin Street Center, Samaritan Inn and Minnie’s Food Pantry.
“But the one I volunteer the most hours with has been City House,” Judy said. “I have a passion for children and I am especially sensitive to helping ones that have been abused or neglected.
“I’ve always felt like serving is engrained in me. It’s something I’ve always been taught; give back to your community. One of the things I love about City House is the staff – the case workers, the directors, the ones who are responsible for child care, they’ve had a direct impact on the great work the organization does. I feel an appreciation coming from them for all of the volunteers. It’s nice to be appreciated, especially when you do spend a lot of hours.”
This is a very busy time of year for everyone, and for the VanderArks, that is no exception. Judy and Doug are involved in “Plano Santas,” serving over 500 families at Christmas time. The families are identified by the Collin County Assistance Center. These families receive food for a month at this time of year as well as numerous Christmas gifts. So Judy & Doug and volunteers are busy at a warehouse collecting and sorting food from PISD school food drives and toys from various organizations.
“Doug and I volunteer with Plano Santas and have for over 20 years. It’s a busy three weeks prior to Christmas, but we love it.”
Judy and Doug VanderArk are two of the great volunteers at City House and in our community. City House salutes and thanks them for all they do for our kids and many other worthy organizations.