Christine Guerra responded to a call for help by Justin Rudd over 15 years ago. Today her life is transformed and Rudd is the godparent of her baby.
By John Grossi
Many non-profits focus on bettering their community by helping individuals one person at a time. Perhaps Justin Rudd’s Community Action Team (CAT) works inversely—bettering individuals by allowing them to help their community.
At JustinRudd.com you’ll find a plethora of community events and volunteer opportunities
- about 50 yearly events, in addition to the monthly Saturday morning beach cleanups.
Rudd’s events help various groups from dog lovers to pre-teens, homeless to artists, and all those looking to get into better shape. All events are run by Rudd and any volunteers he can muster. The secret to his organization’s success is that Rudd is exceptionally apt at getting and keeping volunteers. By becoming involved with the Long Beach Community Action Team, they find themselves belonging to a group that acts more like a family and centers itself around values like “helping others” and “improving our community.”
Christine Guerra is a chronic volunteer. She marvels at how often and how long she has volunteered for Justin Rudd. But most of all, she marvels at how much her life has changed because of that volunteerism.
“My life right now would literally not be what it is if it wasn’t for Justin. I would have never met my husband. I wouldn’t have a daughter. I would not be involved with any of the organizations in which I’m involved right now. I owe like my entire life to the fact that I volunteered with Justin that first time.”
Christine met Justin when casually attending one of his events around 2005. They both had English bulldogs so they chatted briefly and followed each other on Facebook, but didn’t really get to know one another until a few years later. She remembers often seeing Justin’s posts pleading for volunteers at his various events.
A Whimsical Decision that Transformed Her Life for the Better
“I was in my early thirties at the time, and I remember just feeling like I needed something more out of life.” While growing up, she had idealized the fulfillment a career could bring, but that was not actually what was happening at her job. Meanwhile her friends continued to go out drinking on the weekends which wasn’t necessarily giving her fulfillment either.
So on a whim, Christine responded to one of Justin’s pleas for volunteers. She first helped with CAT’s Long Beach photo contest. Then never left.
“Justin just likes bringing people together. He helps so many different causes in Long Beach. But most of all, he always makes it a happy experience. You’ll notice all the people helping are always happy to see you and enjoying what they’re doing. Not all non-profits have that same culture—it is unique to The Community Action Team and that’s why Justin has such a core group of volunteers. It’s like a big, happy family.”
After getting started with Rudd’s Community Action Team, Christine has gone on to volunteer at a number of other local non-profits in Long Beach, including Leadership Long Beach where she met her husband. She now serves on the board of several local non-profits: Goodwill SOLAC, Long Beach Fire Professional Development Foundation, and is the president of the
Long Beach Police Foundation.
At age 42, her life is centered on service, helping others, and raising a much-loved daughter with her like-minded husband. When they were thinking of who to make godparents for their child, it was a no-brainer. Who would instill all the values of positivity, community building, and helping others upon which they are trying to base their parenting?
“Ralph (Justin’s husband) and Justin are godparents to our daughter and like family to us. To look back and reflect on all the years, everything that has changed, and all the people I’ve met due to one non-profit organization, it’s amazing!”
Christine says she and her husband never thought they’d have a child, but are taking these early years to really enjoy the time with her. She continues to serve her community whenever she gets a chance, and will likely work passionately for non-profits for the rest of her life. She encourages anyone interested to try volunteering with Justin Rudd once, and see where
the journey leads them!
“There’s something about working with him. He’s genuinely like the nicest, most helping person you’ve ever met, who truly wants the best for people. There are some people who you never hear talk bad about another person. I don’t think Justin is even capable of thinking badly about another person.”
Christine is living proof that the true, genuine humanity that Rudd and his volunteers display can be caught and spread by anyone who comes into contact!
Community Action Team (CAT) hosts about 50 annual events/projects, including Long Beach Turkey Trot, Miss Long Beach, Long Beach Touch-A-Truck, 30-Minute Beach Cleanups, Haute Dog Howl’oween Parade, Operation Santa Paws, Operation Easter Basket and the National Adult Spelling Bee. Learn More At www.JustinRudd.com/cat.