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2 Women of the Ojai Valley - 2016
Keepin’ it real
Trio stepped
up to make
playground
a reality
by Nancy Gross
Last October, Libbey Park became a village within a village. A bustling team of vol- unteers worked sunrise to sunset for six
days to bring a new, bigger, more comprehen- sive playground to life.
The Ojai City Council chose a communi- ty-build model because they could get more equipment and have broader choice within a budget, but that meant a lot of help was needed, at every level.
Three women who run real-estate related businesses in Ojai became anchors and facilita- tors of the project, earning them a prestigious Carla Bard Award, something typically given by the real estate community to non-agents. In this instance an exception was made.
Kristin Currier, previews property specialist with Coldwell Banker, was in charge of the Vol- unteers Committee. She got connected through Dave Hunt at the Lions Club. They held several events to find willing laborers, both unskilled and skilled, including local contractors to oper- ate heavy machinery.
Ojai Valley Board of Realtors Executive Of- ficer, and Optimist Club member Dawn Shook panicked a little after volunteering to be food coordinator. “All the people who donated food were amazing,” Shook noted. “Some food came from restaurants. Much came from individuals. Once we got the word out people just stepped up. Whatever food came our way we got it to the volunteers.”
Currier and Shook met and planned for many months. Shortly before building com- menced, they were joined by Marsha Kaye, branch manager and loan officer at Prospect Mortgage. Kaye also is marketing chair for the
Ojai Valley News photo by Tim Dewar
Three women (from left), Marsha Kaye, Kristin Currier and Dawn Shook, were instrumental in making the Libbey Park playground build a success.
Ojai Valley Board of Realtors. Kaye calls herself “the caboose,” but she became vital as Shook’s second in command for food coordination, showing up every morning and throughout the day.
The new playground consumed their lives during preparation and execution, and while they all speak of it like the marathon it was, truly amazed that they pulled it off, these three were able to set a tone of order and create a smooth experience.
“It was like an old fashioned barn raising,” said Kaye. “We started with a blank canvas. The former playground had been torn down.” The new equipment had been shipped in, requiring a lot of coordination, and workers who would need to be fed. And they were fed in a gracious manner at the gazebo.
“Dawn and I started getting all the food donated,” Kaye said. “We had three hot meals a day for six days, and 100 volunteers per day. That’s 1,800 meals! And snacks between meals. Thereweregrandmothershelpingout.Oneday there were some kids going around with little red wagons giving out cold watermelon. It was so heartwarming.”
Kaye “grew up military, going from station
to station.” Her father was a SAC B-52 pilot who served in World War II, Korea, the Berlin Airlift and trained bomber crews during Vietnam and she said she was influenced by her parents’ gen- eration. “They were a hearty group, really a force to be reckoned with.” She moved from Orange County in 2010, selling a home she had lived in for 32 years, in order to be closer to her mother, who lives in Port Hueneme and is in her 90s.
Kaye has three grown children and one grandchild and she said the community got a hold of her from the day she first drove into town. She admirers the way the area came to- gether on this project. “We even had our may- or at the time, Severo Lara, with sweat running down his face.”
Currier, a Realtor® in the valley for 15 years, grew up in Ojai and is passionate about family, the outdoors, hard work and customer service. She works with her mother, Cathy Hoff, local real estate veteran of more than 40 years. Cur- rier also volunteers with the Lions Club and on theOjaiBoardofRealtors.Currierandherhus- band, Josh, have two preteen daughters. “I’m very big into my family and my kids, very active
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