Be the Change: Joy Murphy – Bringing “Joy” To The Community


The children who live at Rancho De Soto Apartments in Orland eagerly look forward to Thursday art classes with “Grandma Joy,” better known to the community as Joy Murphy.

Lori Guertner (left) and Shirley Schrumpf (right) of Umpqua Bank enjoy being involved in the community by helping in Joy's classes.

Lori Guertner (left) and Shirley Schrumpf (right) of Umpqua Bank enjoy being involved in the community by helping in Joy’s classes.

In addition to teaching the class – which always includes a touch of math and science for good measure – Joy is a board member for the Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP ), an organization that she and her late husband, Bill, helped establish. Joy serves as CHIP’s fundraising committee chair and enjoys planning events and helping out wherever she can.

Joy is an active member of the Orland community – she follows the issues, goes to city council meetings, and is an advocate for affordable housing, says Kris Zappettini, director of rental property at CHIP.  However, “it is her work as a volunteer that really makes her stand out,” Kris says.

“Joy’s work at Rancho de Soto Apartments for low-income agricultural workers was initiated by her about a year ago,” says Kris. “She wanted to volunteer and work with the children in her community and developed a weekly class. The children and adults really look forward to her visits and the activities she plans. Kids come early in anticipation and affectionately call her Grandma Joy; I think that speaks volumes about how they have embraced her and the level of respect they have for her.”

Umpqua Bank recently gave a generous donation to sponsor the art program Joy began, says Desiree Gonzalez, CHIP’s communication specialist. Joy says she appreciates the grant which helps her enrich the lives of Rancho De Soto residents.

“I think her parents chose her name wisely, as Joy is a positive and happy person who wants to help and is willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish a goal and to give back to her community,” says Kris.

Joy has two children and six grandchildren. When she’s not busy volunteering, Joy spends time working in her yard and painting with watercolors. She resists talking about herself, but with a little encouragement, we got her to tell us a little about her life and the happiness she gets from volunteering her time and energy to causes close to her heart.

art-0901-btc2What draws you to this kind of volunteer work?

I am drawn to this particular cause as I truly believe our children are our future. I hope they learn that volunteering is rewarding to themselves and their community. They can do this at any age!  

Who inspires you?

I am most inspired by all the people I work with at CHIP.  Their dedication to making CHIP work for our communities is amazing. I am proud to be a member on the board and to be volunteering my time to help.

What would you say to others who are considering volunteer work?

I think if one is able, I would advise anyone to volunteer in their community. There are so many organizations that would benefit from volunteers: local government, schools, Meals on Wheels, churches, and many more. I have gotten so much satisfaction and fun out of it, and I made many new friends. I highly recommend it.

What is your favorite quote?

As far as passing wisdom to our youth, a quote by Mary Ann Radmacher comes to mind: “Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”

How does it feel when the children in your class call you Grandma Joy?

I think our relationship is stronger and became closer because of this. I know for me this is true. We laugh, joke and learn together.

Tell us about your history and your family

I was born and raised in Orland on a small family farm. After graduating from Orland High I was excited to find a job and move to a bigger city. I ended up getting a job in Sacramento. I enjoyed living there and it’s where I met my husband, Bill. After he served his tour in the Air Force, we moved to Boston, Massachusetts. We eventually moved back to Orland to attend Chico State. Bill passed away in 2003. I chose to stay here and am blessed with a lot of wonderful memories of growing up in Orland. I’ve come full circle.

Skye Kinkade
About Skye Kinkade

Skye Kinkade is a fourth generation Siskiyou County resident and mother of four lively children. She enjoys being part of a close-knit community that is so generous and kind in difficult times.

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