For the Love & Service of BabiesVolunteer Spotlight
It was a simple tap on the shoulder at an Xavier Prep friday night football game that would change so many lives!
A resident of Palm Desert, Julie Orr has always been active over the years in many volunteer activities at Sacred Heart Church, Sacred Heart School, and Xavier Prep. She and her husband Brian have always given back to their community in many significant ways, instilling this attribute in their two daughters, Taylor and Cassidy.
Orr Builders, run by her husband, Brian, has been actively involved in creating and rebuilding facilities for numerous nonprofits including Safe House of the Desert, Galilee Center, Desert Arc, Sacred Heart Church, Tolerance Education Center, and Animal Samaritans. When the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission burned in 2008, Orr Builders stepped up and constructed their new facility. “I remember our daughters and I would go there to prep food and serve meals throughout the girls’ High School years,” she recalls. “It was very impactful on our girls.”
With their youngest daughter now off to college, Julie was talking in the stands at that 2017 Xavier football game about how she had the time and desire to take on new service. “I love, love, love babies and was talking about getting involved with volunteer work involving babies,” Julie recalls. A woman sitting behind the group leaned over and tapped Julie on the shoulder. Julie looked up and recognized Angie Rover, an acquaintance through Sacred Heart and Xavier. “I don’t mean to eavesdrop,” Angie said, “but have you heard of Mama’s House?
Mama’s House is a Palm Desert nonprofit that is the only residential home within the Valley providing shelter for women in crisis pregnancies. These women have nowhere to go and no means of support. Mama’s House opened its doors seven years ago, and has since served more than 230 mothers and their babies. This organization’s highly successful program teaches these mothers to get back on track and achieve their goals working toward a brighter future.
“I was very excited, intrigued, and eager to become involved after Angie told me a bit more about Mama’s House,” Julie says. “That Monday following the Xavier football game, I met with Jan Lupia, Founder and Executive Director of Mama’s House. I was so impressed with the program, that I immediately starting volunteering that same week! I had brought a friend with me who was also interested in volunteering, and gracious Jan stopped what she was doing to meet with us and explain her program and the many, many volunteer opportunities available. Needless to say, I was sold right away on this amazing program to help these young women. I liked the overall faith-based foundation and the loving, healing environment provided for these women and their babies, which gives them an opportunity to grow, learn, and love. There were numerous babysitting needs and I had lots of love ready to share! The babysitting needs at Mama’s House varies, because often the moms need rides to appointments and checkups, though mostly it seems in house babysitting is a daily need. The moms attend various meetings, have appointments, tutoring, interviews, bible studies etc. I watch the babies when the moms leave the house, feeding, changing, entertaining, and smothering these babies with love. I feel our babysitting services are invaluable, as the moms are comfortable knowing their precious babies are well cared for in their absence.”
It might sound busy, but it’s all very organized. The babysitting needs are generally Mondays through Saturdays. Babysitting shifts are several during the day and an evening here and there. Mama’s House has a wonderful on-line sign up that is sent out on Saturdays. The volunteers are always in the house with a House Mom, who supervises the girls, rules, routines and responsibilities.
Julie will indeed be forever grateful to her friend Angie for that fateful friday night tap on the shoulder and telling her about Mama’s House.
“Mama’s House enriches my world in so many ways,” Julie says enthusiastically. “I find it inspiring, the desire and strength these women have to make a better life for their babies and themselves. Their bravery and drive are admirable as one watches them build self-esteem, gain confidence, and learn to move forward as they take on the responsibility of having a healthy, loving and spiritual future.”
Julie Orr has so much love to give and is an exceptional volunteer, always looking forward to seeing and caring for those adorable babies. Together with her husband and his company, they have given back in a significant way to our community. And, in the process, have taught their two daughters and the next generation why it is so important to give generously of your time, skills, talents, and financial support to help others less fortunate.
By Madeline Zuckerman