Letter from the Editors January 2019
We celebrate the new year with stories of three amazing women who have overcome challenges, reinvented themselves and brought so much to this community.
Ramona Pursley was a Santa Cruz County Sheriff ’s Deputy who, after retirement, started a new life raising young kids and working as a personal trainer and massage therapist. In her “spare” time, she bakes to raise money for Pajaro Valley High School teams and shows up at all their games. That alone would be inspiring enough, but in her 57th year, with surgically repaired knees that would limit activity for most people, she tried out one of her life’s dreams by taking ballet classes, an athletic challenge for anyone at any age.
While dropping off her preteens at their classes, she thought, why not? It was something she’d always dreamed of and decided she wasn’t going to let another year pass with a dream unfulfilled. It’s been challenging and tough, but she says, it’s one of the greatest things she’s done.
Lizz Hodgin has been a theater lover all of her life and she shared her passion with her now 24-year-old son Daniel, who faced mental challenges. For years she took him over the hill to participate in San Jose’s Angels on Stage. It woke something up in him. He was shy and stuttered off stage, but on stage he was exuberant and happy.
Exhausted from the weekly drives and wanting to build a community here, she started Miracles Santa Cruz in 2013, a theater company in Santa Cruz for mentally or physically challenged people age 8 and up. The response has been tremendous and if you’ve seen their shows or rehearsals, you can’t help but share in the tremendous joy and community they have built.
Finally, retired family therapist Patrice Keet had a vision while visiting children’s discovery museums in other cities with her grandchildren and wondered why we can’t have one here. Two years of hard work later, she opened the Children’s Museum of Discovery in the Capitola Mall and was shocked to see 2,000 people lined up at the opening day six years ago. She has since brought in 220,000 visitors to a friendly, hands- on museum that keeps us from having to drive to San Francisco’s Exploratorium for an educational play day.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about her project is that she and her family, especially husband Bob, a doctor, designed and created the exhibits that kids love so much.
We salute all three of you great women for helping make Santa Cruz a better place in which to grow up. Read more about them in this month’s issue.