Born in California and raised by foster parents, Patricia Stamper is a community advocate and alumna of Washington Adventist University (Class of 2009). Stamper gives credit to her Adventist foster parents for helping her become the woman that she is today—a woman who cares deeply for others, who is service-oriented, and who advocates for the least of these, “Had I never been placed with that family, I would not have the values I have today.” Although Stamper was raised by foster parents, she had the opportunity of locating and meeting her biological mother, learning that she was never in her biological mother’s care due to her biological mother being cognitively disabled, “She didn’t abandon me…I had more empathy for my mother. It changed a lot and made me see things a whole lot different.”
Having to transfer from Orangewood Academy—which she attended from 9th grade to 11th grade—back to Los Angeles Academy in the middle of her junior year of high school, Stamper is thankful that she came to Washington Adventist University (WAU). On making her decision to go to Washington Adventist University, Patricia Stamper jokes, “I didn’t want to go to Oakwood because I felt like it would be an extension of high school.” Upon arriving at WAU, Stamper majored in General Studies with concentrations in History and Psychology. “I really believe if you have empathy and exposure, those two things can take you a really long way. On top of that, our community doesn’t know our history. As a community and as a nation, we wash over the things that are not likable or loveable or could be a stain, but if you learn from these things to move forward—why not do that?” She also notes that the most impactful professors during her time at Washington Adventist University were Dr. Francis and Dr. Gurubatham, the latter of which instilled the importance of empathy in her life philosophy. After earning her bachelor’s degree from Washington Adventist University, Stamper went on to earn her Master’s in Public Administration from Strayer University located in Washington, DC.
Today, Patricia Stamper is incredibly involved with her community, co-founding the project Heart and Sole with three other women. Heart and Sole is a donations-driven organization that focuses its mission on providing for residents of Ward 7 experiencing homelessness. “If you need socks, if you need PPE, if you’re a sex worker, if you’re unhoused—if you need it, we’ll help you.” On the last Saturday of every month (starting on December 26, 2020), Patricia Stamper and other helpers of Heart and Sole have an event in which they provide their community with what they call “sole kits,” food, and clothes. Stamper, reminiscing on the events, notes that one of the best things anyone ever said to her was, “Thank you for looking at me like I’m human.” Stamper views her story to be much like the story of Esther—she was placed in this community for such a time as this. She currently serves as the Secretary of the Deanwood Citizens Association and is a member of the Deanwood Citizens Association Economic Development Committee, but plans on running for a different office to continue to serve her community.
Patricia Stamper’s advice for young people in college is simple: “Save your money, have empathy, and be flexible.” Stamper also encouraged students to ask questions, to be open to new and different opportunities, and to broaden their horizons in their careers. “Empathy, grace, and exposure go a long way.”