Volunteer Spotlight: Judy Darnell

Volunteer Spotlight: Judy Darnell
Judy Darnell

Our Volunteer Spotlight this month shines on Judy Darnell. Since 2005, Judy has been involved with Women’s Storybook Project in some way. After meeting Judy at a clothing show – Judith said, “Do you have a minute? I’d like to tell you about a special program.” Judy was drawn to the mission and she was hooked. She is a former schoolteacher and the library is one of her favorite places to be.

Judy became a volunteer and then a team leader. She led the team at Woodman with Liz Davis and then Kelly Finkel and Liz for 10 years. Judy took the lead with the mothers while Liz and Kelly handled the technology and prison relations. Judy credits her success with the mothers to her background in sales and in teaching. “Sometimes at first, especially years ago, the mothers came in shy and uncomfortable. I enjoyed helping them feel welcomed and comfortable in doing such a good thing for their children.”

Judy became a volunteer and then a team leader. She led the team at Woodman with Liz Davis and then Kelly Finkel and Liz for 10 years. Judy took the lead with the mothers while Liz and Kelly handled the technology and prison relations. Judy credits her success with the mothers to her background in sales and in teaching. “Sometimes at first, especially years ago, the mothers came in shy and uncomfortable. I enjoyed helping them feel welcomed and comfortable in doing such a good thing for their children.” 

Judy’s story would not be complete without mentioning her husband Andy. Dr. Andy became a volunteer in his own right, mailing packages each month after the prison visit. One month, Judy has a bit of a hard time with someone at the USPS. Andy suggested a mail store near the hospital where he practiced. They were very gracious and would allow Judy to drop off the packages in the morning. They would work on them during their slow times and she could come back later to settle up. Andy spoke up and said, “Well, I can take care of that!” and so he did – for years! Andy also graciously offered to treat the Woodman volunteers to Dairy Queen each month after volunteering, just because it was a nice treat.

Andy loves our mission and when Judith had the first video made Andy’s comment was “Watching that will bring a tear to a glass eye!”  Judy and Andy support WSP as Reader’s Circle donors. Though she has stepped down and handed over team leader duties to Shereen Vinke, she will still join the Woodman team as a volunteer.  Judy will always be a treasure to us at Women’s Storybook Project. We look forward to the end of the Covid-19 visitation ban so that we can all get back to prison visits together! 

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