Be the Change: Darbie Andrews: Walking Her Talk

art-0314-btc1Multi-talented Darbie Andrews likes challenges and helping others. She models how setting intentions and practicing self-discipline and commitment create a rich and diverse life. She continually finds opportunities to use and develop her skills while meeting the task at hand.

Born and raised in Southern California, Darbie moved to the North State in 2007. As a teacher and counselor at Salisbury High School in Red Bluff, she works with at-risk students who primarily have high school credit deficiencies. “I relate well with teens and especially with kids who have been given challenges in their life,” she shares.

Darbie developed her strengths and talents through both formal and informal education. She’s bilingual and speaks Spanish fluently, though she’s not from a bilingual family. The first member of her family to graduate from college, Darbie holds a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree in educational counseling, a bilingual teaching credential, and a pupil personnel services credential. She teaches Zumba and Fierce4 at Psycho Fitness in Red Bluff and at Extreme Fitness in Redding, and has written a novel.

Lisa Reed, an instructor at Extreme Fitness, first met Darbie when she was a student at the center. Lisa was impressed with her commitment to excel: “Darbie is a very determined person,” she says. “I’ve watched her grow so much as an instructor and as a parent. I’m very proud and happy to have her as a co-worker and as part of my life.”

And Darbie is determined. “Teaching at the fitness center is a huge accomplishment,” she says. “I learned to move and build strength in ways I never had before.” She enjoys teaching Zumba because it helps people feel better about themselves and feel free. “People can express themselves no matter what body type they have or how old they are,” she explains. “They can let go of societal expectations.”

Darbie’s novel, Him?, a coming of age story about a Latina girl, was a practice in self-discipline. Completing the book took about four years. “My writing is a commitment to my grandmother,” Darbie says. “She was a writer, and writing helps me remember the connection we had.”

Although she’s enjoyed writing for most of her life, it was after attending a University of California, Santa Barbara class field trip to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Sacramento that she began writing more seriously. A piece she wrote describing the experience became her first published article.

“I love the process of writing, of honing in on an idea and finally having it emerge just the way I’d like. It’s exciting!” she shares. Darbie finds time to write in the evenings and on weekends when she is not tending to her sons: Dakota, age 9, and Dominic, age 4.

art-0314-btc2Parenting is the greatest joy of her life. Darbie has joint custody of Dakota, who lives with his dad half time. “Although I was a single parent, I wanted another child,” she says. She decided to foster children with the hope of ultimately adopting – yet another way she created her life by intention.

Darbie served as a foster parent for several years, and two years ago adopted Dominic, whom she began fostering when he was 2. He had some developmental challenges, but Darbie knew she had the ability to work through them. With her care and the services offered through Far Northern Regional Center, Dominic has outgrown his former limitations.

What led Darbie to take on the challenge of fostering and adopting? “I work with a lot of foster kids at the high school level,” she says. “They have hard lives. I thought if I could help just one child, it would be fulfilling.”

When not parenting, teaching and writing, Darbie enjoys reading, gardening and listening to music. She also likes interacting with friends. In all her activities, she’s fully committed. “I never give up,” she says. “I like to challenge myself and not take the easy way. I always want to take things to the next level.”

In her teaching, she hopes to instill her philosophy in her students. “I tell them they must show up for their life,” she explains. “You have to show up or life doesn’t work. Sometimes it’s not with bells and whistles, but at least you’re there.” And show up, Darbie does!

To contact Darbie Andrews call (530) 917-6845.

[sws_grey_box box_size=”580″]The mission of our Be the Change column is to feature a community member from the North State who is actively making a difference in community life. If you would like to nominate someone who is making a difference, please write to pn@northstateparent.com.[/sws_grey_box]

Carolyn Warnemuende
About Carolyn Warnemuende

Author Carolyn Warnemuende has two daughters and five grandchildren, and lives with her husband in Redding. She writes parenting and educational articles, sponsors a school in Uganda, and visits Africa twice a year. She receives great joy in taking daily care of her four-year-old granddaughter who was adopted from Ethiopia.

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