I’m pretty sure the person who came up with the idea for the Energizer Bunny was inspired by Judy Cressey of Colville. If there’s an event related to 4-H, the Fair, education, or just something that needs a volunteer, odds are you’ll see Judy and her husband Larry there. You might have encountered her serving dinner on New Year’s Eve at the Fairgrounds; helping out at the Fishing Derby; teaching CPR, first aid, or disaster relief; substitute teaching for 11 different school systems in our region; taking tickets at the Colville Rodeo; or judging for the National Christian Forensics and Communication Association. And when she’s not volunteering, she’s formulating ideas on how to help people. It seems like she never stops.
“I’m here to serve other people,” she said, admitting it took someone asking her what her mission on this planet was to really realize that, “so I always try to say yes when someone asks me for help.”
Despite not verbalizing her mission earlier, Judy’s actions leading up to that moment didn’t leave much room for doubt. While she enjoys helping just about anyone, she really focuses on kids. One of her hot button issues has been bullying, and she developed successful programs to help prevent it in schools. Interestingly, it was pretty simple. “I ran the program for seven years — it was 30 minutes a week K-4, and 1 hour a week grades 5–12.” And what did they do during that time? “We used arts and crafts as a way to learn about other people… and to show them how to get along,” Judy explained. During those seven years, reports of bullying and teen pregnancy decreased dramatically.
While that approach may seem unconventional, that’s sort of Judy’s M.O. In an effort to help kids in low income and remote areas better understand they weren’t that different from anyone else, she wanted to bring two area schools together — but she found that they were just too similar. Judy felt that something a little more disparate was necessary to really drive the point home. While she was going to school at Gonzaga for her Ph.D. in International Leadership, an idea “fell out of” her brain.
Judy designed a program that would introduce physically different people — people who talk differently, ate differently, and looked differently. How? Through her connections with Seisen University in Japan (did we mention…