Laurie Brown retires

SERVICE: Laurie Brown, Director of Community Service, retires in December. Photo by Elyse Samuels.

Laurie Brown, Director of Community Service, will retire in December after almost 20 years of service. Associate Director of Admissions Miranda Payne will take over as Director of Community Service starting second semester. The Admissions Office is currently in the process of searching for a replacement for Payne.

Brown built her position at Marlborough from scratch, increasing the magnitude of the program by reaching out to the larger community and providing students with more opportunities to give back. In 1992, Brown was offered a part-time job at Marlborough, but she slowly transformed her role into a full-time position.

“Every job I’ve ever had, I’ve built for myself.  The students at the school are able to do so much; it’s truly inspiring,” Brown said.

Brown’s hard work will live on in the programs and activities she initiated and guided during her time here. The Marlborough Student Charitable Fund (MSCF), which raises money to educate underprivileged girls and women in the greater Los Angeles area, celebrates its 5th anniversary this year and would not have been nearly as successful without Brown’s support. Brown’s plan for students to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at lunch for the homeless has become a school ritual

Other examples of Brown’s legacy include the Third Street School tutoring program for students at a nearby elementary school and Food of the Month, in which students collect food to donate to the Hope-net Food Pantry.

“Considering there is no community service requirement at school, she is a huge factor in why so many people participate in community service,” said All-School Community Service Representative Gaby Cornelio ’11.

Students agree that the presence of the community service program is hard to miss on campus.

“She’s given so much of her own personal time to help.  I was part of the garden buddies program and she would often drive us to Alexandria House,” Dana Benton ’12 said.

Although Brown has enjoyed everything about her job and the school, she has decided that it’s simply time for her to leave.

“It has been the adventure of my life,” Brown said.  “I just think that individuals as well as institutions should have change once in a while.  It’s good to have new life and new ideas.  With change comes possibility.”

Brown has left a lasting impact on many students, including Payne, who attended Marlborough when Brown first started.  After Brown helped Payne find an internship at the Argentinean Embassy, Payne majored in international relations and later worked for the Council on Foreign Relations as well on a U.S. Department of State and Department of Defense contract.

Payne said she applied for the job because she wants to become more involved in the student body and get to know the girls at the school better.

“My goal is to try to make dreams come true and provide opportunities for the girls, like Ms. Brown did for me,” Payne said.

Payne said she looks forward to continuing and expanding the community service program.

“I want to maintain the depth and breadth of the program.  I also think this is an opportunity for us to sensitively and strategically move forward,” Payne said.

According to Brown, what makes the program so great is the relationship between the school and the larger community.  Payne plans to strengthen and enlarge that relationship to include more global projects.

“I think we should expand the community outreach in a global sense as well,” Payne said.  “Community service could include global empathy and environmental projects.”

Brown said she has no idea what awaits her after leaving Marlborough but is excited to find out where life takes her.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen next,”  Brown said.  “It’s a little scary, but I’m looking forward for the next chapter to begin.”

3 Comments on "Laurie Brown retires"

  1. Laurie Brown will surely be missed at Marlborough. Laurie always had her door open to everyone and was forever willing to help with questions, information and insight on a variety of subjects, not merely community related topics. She had infinite energy that transcended the air. Thanks Laurie for all that you have done!

    Paula Riff
    Cassidy Jones (2013)

  2. Laurie has been an inspiration to me as an adult. Her approach to life is “YES, I can…and so can you.” Where there is no way yet, she will create one. Where the way is blocked, she will find a way around or through to the other side. A righteous sense of what is just and right is at the heart of everything she does and all that she is. True friendship is rare–I feel honored to call Laurie my friend and know that we will have continuing adventures together. Blessings.

  3. Isabel Ortiz | January 18, 2011 at 12:56 pm |

    I just finally read this article. I am a member of JSL and I will always remember Ms. Brown. She had a great attitude about everything. She inspired us to help others and find a way to solve a problem. She was so dedicated herself and always believed in JSL.
    Although I am sad that Ms. Brown has left, I am excited that Ms. Payne will be the new Director of Community Service. I am excited for this year (2011) with Ms. Payne as the Director of JSL!

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