Today we’d like to introduce you to Judy Radachy.
Hi Judy, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
Oasis of Hollywood was founded in 1971 by Charles & Judy McPheeters in Denver, CO. We came back to Hollywood in 1979 with two small children and a heart to reach out to so many who came with stars in their eyes to reach their dreams but whose lives had ended up in a hellish nightmare. We opened a safe home for a number of years called The House of Magdalene for girls trying to escape the life of human trafficking.
Charles, a former nightclub entertainer, passed away in 1982 and I continued as a single mom with two small children until Ron, my present husband, and I met and married in 1986. We now are Executive Directors of the Oasis of Hollywood.
For over ten years, we targeted the runaway population to reach out to. We had a “supper club” with live music and free food every Friday and Saturday night. We helped kids reconnect with parents or into a safe home. After other organizations came along to help this demographic group, the Oasis of Hollywood realized there was a huge need to do “preventive work” by reaching marginalized children and encourage them to avoid a life of crime and drugs and to strive for academic achievement. A lot of the children have literally grown up with Oasis staff and now are teenagers or young adults bringing their children to Kidz Klub. Some have volunteered, been interns, or served as staff.
People come from all over the world to visit Hollywood. Even though it is known for the rich and famous, in actuality, many people live below the poverty level in Hollywood. We have many programs to facilitate these outreaches.
Presently, we reach children and youth with many multi-faceted programs:
A Kidz Klub after school program
A Friday night teen club with free food, transportation, and games
Tuesday night small group mentoring, developing life skills, faith and character development
Back to School Backpack & Supplies Event
Christmas & Thanksgiving projects
Hollywood Mission Trip (a week-long mission trip for youth from all over the country–over 7,000 have participated in this mission trip)
Summer and winter camp and many field trips
Computer training classes
Being a Nonprofit and working with marginalized kids, we have definitely had our challenges, but very thankful to know that we have made a difference in the lives of so many youth. We had a 19 years old boy who was in the Crips and whose best friend died in his arms from gang warfare. He lived in our facility for two years and we taught him how to work and be diligent. He met his wife at the Oasis and they now have both graduated from college, have a family and live in TX. Another student whose mom died during her teen years (and never knew her dad) lived with Ron and I while she finished her GED and then graduated from college. Knowing so many whose lives have been changed has been my motivation to keep reaching the next generation. And now we are training up our young adult staff (one of whom started in our Kidz Klub program at 8 years old) to take over someday.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It was very challenging when Charles and I and our two little kids (2 and 6 years old) first moved here because we were renting houses and had to move several times. Most of our finances came from Charles traveling, speaking, and some record sales.
And then after he died, I especially was challenged as to how to continue because I knew I could not travel with 2 small children to raise funds. God was faithful to provide for us in so many ways.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
Some of this is already listed above. I’m very proud to see the lives of young adults who tell us what a difference we made in their lives to break the dysfunctional family brokenness and to hear of the encouragement we gave them to break out of the poverty cycle.
What sets us apart is the longevity of 44 years in Hollywood; the thousands of children and teens who we have reached, and the many different programs we offer.
We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
During the Covid-19 Crisis, we adapted to meet needs in a new way. We formerly were in two public schools for our Kidz Klub program but had to adapt by doing the Kidz Klub program outdoors at a rented church facility. We also began a hot meal program with over 10,000 meals served and literally tons of groceries to people who had lost jobs and families in need. We just kept going and doing everything as safely as possible.
- Donations could be given to OasisofHollywood.org/donate
- Website: https://OasisofHollywood.org
- Instagram: @oasisofhollywood
- Facebook: @oasisofhollywood
- Youtube: @oasisofhollywood