Faith & ServiceVolunteer Spotlight
Gale Hackshaw has a long history of service in local nonprofit and volunteer organizations within our Valley. She has been involved with the Ophelia Project, which mentors teenage girls, since its founding 22 years ago, having served as one of the first mentors. She also served as vice chair and has been a board member of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Foundation, the Ophelia Project’s parent organization, for two decades.
Four years ago, Gale began volunteering at Mama’s House, a local Coachella Valley non-profit that is the only residential home in this community providing shelter for women in crisis pregnancies. Since opening its doors seven years ago, Mama's House has served more than 230 Mothers and Babies. Mama's House offers a once-in-alifetime opportunity for these mothers to conquer fears, face challenges, and get back on track for success.
Gale had heard so much about Jan Lupia, Founder and Executive Director of Mama’s House, and the hope she was providing for pregnant women who wanted to have their babies but who didn’t have the resources or the family support to care for them.
“When I met Jan that very first time, I was so inspired by her vision and her willingness to take on such a grand project,” stated Gale. “At that point, I wasn’t sure how I could be of help, but one thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to be part of this program. Shortly after that, a new mom came to Mama’s House and I got a call that she needed a mentor. This was my first opportunity to see how the program worked, and I was amazed at the comprehensive way in which lives were being transformed. I love working with girls and young women because it is the most rewarding thing I have ever done. Sometimes women shy away from mentoring because they don’t feel qualified. But, in truth, everyone has the capacity to mentor. These young women don’t need the whole world to believe in them. . . . sometimes it just takes one person to show up and do what they promised to do!”
After seeing that first young mom achieve her goals and depart Mama’s House, Gale decided that since she would be out-of-town for five months each spring and summer, she would help in other ways at Mama’s House. In addition to helping out with the annual Mama’s House HEARTbeat of Love Luncheon, Gale now helps these young women create meaningful Prayer Boards, which are decorative prayer boards to nurture the moms’ faith, hope, and relationship with God, as they work to overcome troubled pasts and create a brighter future for themselves and their babies. The idea for these Prayer Boards actually came from a Bible Study Gale attended, where each attendee got to design and create their own prayer boards based upon their own personal vision.
“For me, I chose a format which would help me to organize my own prayer life … a tool which I still use to make sure that I don’t forget anything during my prayers! This project was so effective and inspirational for me personally, that I decided to gather the needed supplies and share the idea with others. It is really very simple. I provide the materials and some guidance, while the moms provide the prayers, personal insight, and creativity.
“Having a visual boost to demonstrate growth and progress during life’s challenges is encouraging and hopeful,” Gale says. “I am so honored to be a part of Mama’s House, who creates such positive changes in the lives of these moms. When that happens, everyone around them is impacted in a positive way, especially the generations to follow.”
Gale is a believer in God and in personal growth. She went back to college starting at the age of 38, and has obtained her Associates Degree in Liberal Studies from College of the Desert, her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from California State University San Bernardino, and her Master of Science Degree in Clinical Psychology from California State University San Bernardino. She believes that women can go back and get their education at any age, and that it is never too late to turn your life around!
Gale Hackshaw is a role model of faith and service, and an amazing volunteer in our community!
Written by Madeline Zuckerman