GOLETA, Calif. - A Holocaust survivor is being honored in Santa Barbara for her years of inspiring students both locally and across the nation.
85-year-old Judy Meisel has been a long time resident of Santa Barbara - but you would have no idea the struggles she want through to get where she is today.
"The hunger. The thirst. The fright. We were totally dehumanized," Meisel said.
Her childhood was spent in a Nazi concentration camp.
"I was already with one foot in the gas chamber, my mother," Meisel said. "And I watched my mother die in the gas chamber. And you can't describe those things."
Today, Meisel reflects back on her accomplishments after moving to the U.S. and becoming an educator and civil rights advocate.
"The most important thing is to point them out what's happening in the world today," Meisel said. "The hatred is there and we have to stop and work at hatred."
That's why she's spent countless hours practicing and preaching to students for decades what she learned from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
"His speeches taught us, all of us who were involved, that we will not get it with anger," Meisel said. "And we won't get it with destruction and by fighting with guns and all that."
Now, at 85, Meisel is beginning a new chapter of her life moving closer to her son in Minnesota. But her legacy here will not be forgotten as it will be honored in a scholarship fund for students.
"Judy's done so much for other people and Judy has a love for children," said personal friend and member of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara Trudi Carey." "She has a love for education. And I share that with her that if everybody was educated a little bit more, the world would be safer and a better place."
Meisel's only wish is that those who earn the scholarship pay it forward.
"For everything you do good, it comes back ten fold," Meisel said.
Trudi Carey and Anne Smith Towbes are leading the effort to fund the scholarship. Community members interested in supporting the Judy Meisel Scholarship Fund can send a check to:
The Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara
P.O. Box 3620
Santa Barbara, CA 93130
Please write "Judy Meisel Fund" on the memo line of the check. Secure donations may also be made at www.sbscholarship.org
You can also contact Carey at (805) 964-7000 x107 or firstname.lastname@example.org