StandUp for Kids - Orange County
International Women’s Day (March 8th) is about recognizing the achievements, big or small, of women. Heather Tompkins has dedicated her life to helping youth succeed in every way she can – from her career, to volunteering, even to leading Girl Scouts and supporting baseball teams – and her contributions have made a difference in the lives of countless children.
Heather Tompkins is from Long Beach, California, where her father’s roles as pharmaceutical business owner and homeless advocate shaped the way she spoke up on behalf of her community. Growing up, she watched as her father lobbied government agencies for better business legislation, while on the side teaming up with restaurants to provide food for the homeless or donating to the St. Francis Shelter. Later on, Heather put her knowledge of government advocacy and communication to use during her time at CSU Long Beach, working for the CSU Senate. And after achieving her Master’s in counseling, she became a school teacher at Paramount Elementary School - a Tier 1 school where many children’s families were below the poverty line - bringing snacks to feed the kids’ stomachs in addition to shaping their minds.
And even after 25 years of teaching, Heather continues serving her community. When her son, Ozzie, started working as an intern for StandUp for Kids, she saw that this was not like any other nonprofit. “It fills a certain need that is very necessary, and there is room for success.” Heather was motivated to step in not only by her father’s legacy of providing for the homeless, but also because her sister had been homeless for a time. Back then, she felt helpless, and didn’t know what to do for her sister. But now, Heather is anything but helpless - stepping in confidently as a supporter behind the scenes with StandUp for Kids, and eventually taking on work with the government advocacy team.
Six years into her well-deserved retirement, Heather has found purpose in working with StandUp for Kids. Over time, she has seen progress as governments have prioritized the issue of homelessness and agreed to support the cause. When bills become laws and the team receives grant money, it is rewarding to see the change happening and know that she had a part in it. “After retiring, it was, well - what am I going to do? Am I going to sit, knit, and drink tea all day? Or I could give back. It’s been nice to get back to a place where I can do good.” If you would like to gain a sense of purpose and contribute to ending the cycle of homelessness with us, please join our monthly giving program here or consider volunteering with our organization to help make a difference in a child's life by viewing current openings here.