Last Sunday, I had the incredible joy of witnessing our newest group of graduates from the Rescue Missions programs accept their diplomas and cross the stage, signifying a successful completion of their journey with us. 

But another highlight of our graduations is the opportunity to honor volunteers that have gone above and beyond in their commitment to serve with Orange County Rescue Mission.

When we opened the Village of Hope in 2008, I realized the need for a program dedicated for the homeless kids we serve, especially the school-age children who often fall behind in their academics, due to homelessness. 

This is where Dr. Patty O’Connor comes in.  Without her volunteer work, and the work of her colleague Dr. Barbara Morton, we would not have this exceptional program, the Concordia Learning Center, that provides educational support year round to homeless kids.

I have been looking for an opportunity to thank Dr. O’Connor for all of her hard work and dedication. Honoring her at graduation, surrounded by families whose lives she has touched, seemed to me to be the perfect way.

To further recognize Dr. O’Connor’s incredible service, I would like to share with you, too, what I shared at graduation:

“I would like to take this opportunity to recognize a long-time volunteer and friend of the Rescue Mission, Dr. Patty O’Connor. I first met Patty 9 years ago when she was volunteering at the Village of Hope with her church. At the time, Dr. O’Connor was a professor of education and Assistant Director of the off-campus Masters’ Program at Concordia University Irvine.

Back then, Patty and I both recognized a need to further minister to the high influx of parents and children who were coming into our program. Because of her background in education and over 30 years of experience, I asked Patty to help us create what is now our Parent and Child Enrichment Center. Each week, students from Concordia University Irvine come to our campus to sit down with each of our kids and facilitate afterschool tutoring.

To date, this program has helped over 200 children and their parents who have come through the Rescue Mission program. Please join me in honoring Dr. Patty O’Connor as a warrior for the successful education of our homeless youth. “

Thank you Dr. Patty O’Connor, for your dedication and faithful service to youth and families here at the Village of Hope for the past 9 years! Your dedication and exceptional service is a blessing to us!

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