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A Scotts Valley resident for over 50 years, Stephanie Espinola has made a career of volunteering and impacting so many other locals and children. Her work with schools, the #Imkinderthanthat organization and movement along with Omega Nu which recently donated thousands of dollars to the Scotts Valley Middle School Drama department have been incredibly impactful. With the never-ending work of Stephanie, she has influenced so many other to join her and also seek other causes to be a part of.

Just read her answers below. Wow!

Before coming to Scotts Valley, where did you live?

Before coming to Scotts Valley, I lived in San Jose until age 8, when my parents Ronald and Christl Hinton, decided to move to Scotts Valley. I have lived in Scotts Valley for 51 years.

What brought you to Scotts Valley and how long have you lived here? 

I had such a wonderful childhood growing up here, I loved it so much that I decided to raise my family here in Scotts Valley. I have 2 grown children who attended all the same schools as I did as a child going to Brook Knoll Elementary, Scotts Valley Middle School and SVHS. l attended Harbor HS because Scotts Valley HS had not been built yet.

What do you love most about living here?

One of the many things that I love about living in Scotts Valley, is the strong sense of community, and how safe it is, especially raising children here. I think we have such great schools in Scotts Valley with incredible teachers, staff, and coaches. I love the small-town atmosphere located in the redwoods and near the ocean. I appreciate that we are near Silicon Valley and the greater bay area.

Please describe what drives and motivates you to do more for others and for the people of Scotts Valley. 

My passion is to work with children and their families. I decided to get involved in the Scotts Valley schools during my children’s school years where there was a need. I was a room parent, PTA President, starting and chairing the first-ever Brook Knoll Elementary School Auction to raise monies for the students and school. I continued that PTA position as my children moved into Scotts Valley Middle school and was President of the Scotts Valley HS Falcon Club when my children graduated to SVHS. This was a 12-year run volunteering at Scotts Valley schools.

I became an empty-nester when my kids left for college. I decided that I wanted to continue to work with young students in Scotts Valley. I went to work for Scotts Valley Middle School in a job I truly love, working with the students.

During this period, I saw the need to assist all the youth in this community with anti-bullying education. I volunteered and partnered with the organization #Imkinderthanthat, it was started by my friend Wendy Sullivan. I was able to bring educational awareness of this issues to all our schools and students. This nonprofit organization is about learning how to spread kindness, and learning what a bully means, and how not to be a bully.

I hosted the first #Imkinderthanthat educational assembly at the Scotts Valley Middle School and SVHS, which included students, teachers, staff, community members, SV Fire Department, SV Police Department, local businesses, City Council and community members. This was a wonderful event, and we look forward to doing it again soon.

I also was trying to find volunteer organizations that could help and assist the young students in Scotts Valley. I found myself gravitating to organizations that supported kids and their families.
This is what lead me to the Santa Cruz Omega Nu Organization, known for its 34 years-old famous Ducky Derby. I am a proud member of this all-women’s volunteer organization that raises monies to donate to many needy organizations and schools throughout the Santa Cruz County area. I am the Chairperson of this year’s Ducky Derby.

The Omega Nu organization is known for making charitable distributions of over $100K per year back into Santa Cruz County. This consists of student scholarships, teachers accounts, local non-profit organizations. We do this with the support of our generous community and student volunteers .

Here are a few of the many organizations that Omega Nu has given monies to. Scotts Valley Middle School -$5000 to their drama department, Scotts Valley High School to their library to fix books, Boys and Girls Club , CASA, Coastal Watershed council, HOPE’S Closet, Hospice of Santa Cruz, Housing Matters, Jacob’s Heart, Santa Cruz, Animal Shelter foundation, Santa Cruz Youth Symphony , Scotts Valley High School’s Parent Club, Scotts Valley High School Sports ,Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Teen Kitchen project, Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz county, Walnut Avenue Family and Women’s Center, and many more.
Another volunteer organization that I am very passionate about is Barbie Care and Share Organization, that assists children in need. My friend Kay Wolverton started this organization in Southern California to help keep Barbies out of the landfill and repurpose them for children in need. I went to school with Kay Wolverton at Brook Knoll Elementary and have stayed friends ever since.

I fell in love with this idea and liked it so much that I decided to start the Barbie Care and Share Northern California.

Not only was this a great way to keep Barbies out of landfill, repurpose and fix these dolls up to find them a new home for children in need. This work is done by student volunteers, senior citizens groups and girl scout troops who get involved to help make a difference and to help students receive their community service hours.

Thanks to the help of teacher Cheryl Ruyle at SVHS and her Girl Scout Troop, Darshna at Scotts Valley Senior Center, Erin of Cruise Coffee and her staff, Barbie Care and Share Northern California have donated 1000’s of Barbies to organizations, such as; HOPES Closet , House Of Grace , a Safe House for women and children, Pajaro Valley Farm Workers Association, Maui, Lahaina  Fire Victims , Dominican Hospital Pediatrics , Valley Churches United, Jacob’s, Heart , Walnut Avenue Family and Children’s Center, and many more organizations with children in need.

Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to share the organizations that I am passionate about. I’m blessed to be a longtime member of Scotts Valley, and to be able to volunteer my time to children and their families in our community.