Busy OC student takes on nonprofit role

Midland Rape Crisis and Children's Advocacy Center’s Director of Outreach and Development Justin Waldrop poses for a photo Thursday morning at the advocacy center’s office in Midland. (Odessa American/Eli Hartman)

Still a student at Odessa College, Justin W. Waldrop has taken on a new role as director of outreach and development at the Midland Rape Crisis and Children’s Advocacy Center.

Currently Waldrop also is contracted with Red Pixel Marketing handling their nonprofit clients.

“I’m also on the board for the West Texas Food Bank and Boys and Girls Clubs of Odessa. And I have a side business selling vintage furniture,” Waldrop said.

Waldrop is going for two associate degrees at Odessa College one in advertising and public relations and the other in business. Then he’ll decide which one he wants to roll over into a second bachelor’s degree.

He is one of the Positively OC Presidential Scholarship recipients.

Waldrop said he also worked in public relations in high school.

Midland Rape Crisis and Children’s Advocacy Center’s Director of Outreach and Development Justin Waldrop poses for a photo Thursday morning at the advocacy center’s office in Midland. (Odessa American/Eli Hartman)

“There was a small, boutique public relations firm here in Midland that handled mostly industrial and industry clients. I ended up being the assistant to the president while I was at Midland College before I transferred out. I did that for, I think, a year, year and a half before I went off to the school I got my first bachelor’s from,” Waldrop said.

A native of Midland, Waldrop went to a charter school that was called Eagle Academy at the time. He went to Midland College for his basics and then transferred to Knox College, a small liberal arts school in Galesburg, Ill., where he took a degree in communications.

Waldrop said he lived in New York City for a year while he was in college studying activism and social work. It was considered an independent study while he was studying at Knox College.

“I went up there with two other students and we lived on the Lower East Side. We worked for the Environmental Action and HRC (Human Rights Campaign) during that time as interns, so we got school credit for it while we were there and did our studies …,” Waldrop said.

He moved to Chicago from there and worked social media for a website that sold computer peripherals, such as monitors and other computer components.

At 21, Waldrop came home.

“I was running ahead of schedule in life. I had graduated high school at 16 and I was valedictorian, so I felt like I moved too fast and I came back here to be near family. And then I moved to Dallas and then COVID brought me back a couple of years ago,” he said.

In Dallas, Waldrop worked at FOX 4 as assignment editor at nights and on weekends. He also helped create a marketing firm that specialized in small businesses.

Before FOX 4, he spent about five years at CBS7.

His mother, Paula, has always been an inspiration to him. She started a stroke support group in 2011. At the time, Waldrop said she was the secretary to the board of directors of the Ector County Hospital District.

Now she’s at the Odessa Police Department handling officer recruitment and some civilian positions.

“My mom raised me to volunteer and to be involved in the community. I grew up in community theaters here at Midland Community Theatre, Permian Playhouse, the Globe back when it was doing community productions. She had us volunteer with Keep Midland Beautiful. It was a long list, so that’s how I was raised. This actually … feels like I’m doing what I was meant to do,” Waldrop said.

Midland Rape Crisis and Children’s Advocacy Center’s Director of Outreach and Development Justin Waldrop answers questions during an interview Thursday morning at the advocacy center’s office in Midland. (Odessa American/Eli Hartman)

In his job with Midland Rape Crisis Center, Waldrop handles marketing, fundraising and oversees the education department.

“We do a lot of in the school room training on child abuse; recognizing the signs; reporting it accurately and timely,” Waldrop said.

He added that he is a domestic violence survivor. Waldrop said men very likely under report any kind of abuse they go through mainly because gender roles can stipulate that men can’t be the victim.

“But a man can definitely be the victim and we do have men that come here for therapy all the time. They’ll run the gamut in age. Some people even bottle up their abuse and don’t come to terms with it until later in life,” Waldrop added.

He became friendly with Midland Rape Crisis and Children’s Advocacy Center Executive Director Lori Perales while he was doing work for them under Red Pixel Marketing.

“When this position came up, she told me about it and I decided to go forward with it because this is the kind of work that I honestly had planned to be in in about five years’ time. So yet again, running a little ahead of schedule, but it worked out very well and nonprofit work just in general is a calling to me and has been for some time,” Waldrop said.

Perales said Waldrop is well suited to his position.

“Justin is an amazing listener and has a servant’s heart. He cares for those that we serve as well as all who are in need or suffering. He is also very organized and is able to quickly prioritize. I am really excited about what Justin has brought to our Center,” Perales said in an email.

Becca Meyers at the Education Partnership of the Permian Basin said she has known Waldrop for just over a year.

“… I met him through his role with Red Pixel Marketing. We worked on a project for Educate Midland and stayed in touch as we realized we had similar interests and a passion for our communities. It’s a wonderful thing to find like-minded peers, and after getting to know Justin, he is incredibly talented and humble,” Meyers said in an email.

“He stays on top of his community involvement so well because it’s the people that he gets to work with and alongside that drive his commitment to several organizations and roles. I have an appreciation for genuine and authentic people and that’s what makes Justin stand out. I trust and respect him, and he holds me just as accountable as I’d hope any dear friend would. I can’t wait to see what else he can do for our community!”

The 34 year old said he has been blessed by the way everyone in his life supports him and helps him get everything done.

“It’s certainly not something I do on my own,” Waldrop said.