It has been said that Laurel House was founded in the nursery room of Trinity United Presbyterian Church by two women rocking sweet little babies in rocking chairs.
Nadene Holub was one of those two women who worked as a nurse for Tustin Unified School District, where she often encountered sick students at the high schools. Too often when she prescribed these students a day of rest, these teens would tell her they did not have a place to go because they had ran away from home, or were kicked out of the house by their parents. Nadene would then get on the phone to call her friends, asking if they would take homeless and runaway teens into their homes for a couple days until they got better.
After receiving too many of these phone calls, Elinor Tompkins suggested a more permanent solution. Together, while rocking sweet babies in a rocking chair, these two women came up with the vision of providing an emergency crisis shelter for runaway and homeless teens in Orange County. And thus, Laurel House was born.
Since then, Laurel House has evolved into a unique, preventive-care program providing long term housing, basic necessities, counseling and care for runaway, homeless and at-risk teen girls ages 12-17. Nadene served as the Executive Director for Laurel House from its inception in 1985 until she retired in 2010.
On March 6, 2018, after a long and beautiful life, Nadene left this world to join the Lord. Her journey here is a one that deserves to be honored, and has left an incredible impact on so many lives.
Donna Giddings, Laurel House house parent for over 20 years, shares her memories of Nadene:
Nadene was truly my mentor and the most influential woman in my life. She taught me how to share my heart unconditionally with these young lives that come through our doors seeking love, help, and a chance for change. Nadene shared with me her vision of truly restoring a life: not putting a Band-Aid on the situation, but true healing. This included a relationship with Jesus Christ, having the teen be open and truthful about everything and working on their education to empower them for the future.
Nadene was so very special. On the very trying and tough days, the days the girls were not getting along or spirits needed to be lifted, Nadene would just come over and say “Hey, let’s go get an ice cream!” So we would pile in the van, go get an ice cream and somehow everything got better.
One thing I really loved is that Nadene did not believe in paying for good grades. She taught me that grades are the responsibility of the teen and that their reward is their accomplishment. She wanted these young lives to know that their education was a steppingstone towards a brighter future, that would help them to become contributors to society.
Nadene was an incredibly strong and smart woman. She truly was the hands and feet of God here on earth. She used her time to give back to others and, to make the world around her a place of love and healing.
Countless lives have been blessed by Nadene, and her legacy will continue long after she has gone. We are so thankful for all that Nadene has done for the Least, the Last, and the Lost. It is with great honor that the Rescue Mission carries on her work.