by LYDIA COBB | photos by Spark Photography

A Grateful Life

volunteer_woods1The Woods family lives in Sabre Springs. Outside of two years in Hawaii, they’ve thrived here since 2001. “We have regular block parties that are a lot of fun for everyone,” shared Lisa Woods. Lisa is an instructional assistant at Meadowbrook Middle School. Her husband retired from the Marine Corps and works at Northrup Grumman. Their children attend Mt. Carmel High School and play in the band. CJ is a senior and plays trombone; Katie is a freshman and plays saxophone. With a foundation of volunteer experience, including her children’s elementary classrooms, and in the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society at MCAS Miramar, Lisa wanted to do more. She began volunteering for the Mt. Carmel High School Music Foundation as band historian and camp and jazz co-chair. The music foundation has supported music through fundraising since 1975, Lisa elaborated, “To cover the costs of running one of the best music programs in San Diego.”


Name: Lisa Woods
Community: Sabre Springs South
Volunteer Affiliation: Mt. Carmel Music Foundation, Rose of Charity Orphanage
Profession: Instructional Aide at Meadowbrook Middle School
Family: Husband – Jeff; Son – CJ (17); Daughter – Katie (14)
Interests: Reading, photography, rubber stamping, hiking, horseback riding


When she visited The Rose of Charity Orphanage on a recent trip to Zimbabwe, she fell in love with its children. Lisa shared, “They were all so happy and healthy, even though they have had a very rough start in life.” She came to know eight orphans cared for by a woman named Sima, who took in homeless children during the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Victoria Falls. The orphanage also supports 70 additional children. Lisa raises funds and collects and sends clothing and toys.

“Being a part by volunteering, either with the band in my community or with the orphans on the other side of the world, is what helps me feel like I’m doing my part to make the world a better place.” She’s also bettering her career. Lisa holds a master’s degree in biology from CSU Fullerton. Before kids, she worked in biotech on cancer treatments and eye care products. She’s now at Alliant International University obtaining her teaching credential in special education.

It’s a busy and fulfilling life. The Woods enjoy eating out. Their three little dogs love walks and dog beach. Katie dances, acts, and crews in local onstage productions. CJ also plays trombone with Civic Youth Orchestra. Lisa encourages others to lend a hand. The band relies on community support, especially when concerts are presented this season. She has a site for her orphanage work at It’s about giving back for Lisa, who’s grateful for what she has.

Group: Mt. Carmel High School Music Foundation
Mission: To financially support the Mt. Carmel High School band, color guard, and orchestra.

Group: Rose of Charity Orphanage
Mission: To improve the quality of life of children, their families and caregivers, and the community of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.