Senior in Action –Mardi Arnold

Marilee Marrero Stefenhagen
Former County of LA Public Library Administrator is having the time of her life as a retiree; meeting fascinating people who are active seniors, and volunteering for Soroptimist International of Norwalk and other women’s groups.

Senior in Action –Mardi Arnold

                  Can you name which state in the U.S has the highest reported number of human trafficking cases? If you said CALIFORNIA, you are correct.  Mardi Arnold, a retired teacher, was so appalled at the heartless victimization of teen girls that she cofounded an organization to fight child trafficking in the San Gabriel Valley.  She explains that foster children are specifically targeted by human traffickers.  After Mardi talked with child victims, as young as 12-14 years of age, she made it a priority to raise awareness and funds to fight this insidious crime. Up until summer 2019, Mardi served as Regional Director for Women Against Child Trafficking.  For more information about this non-profit, visit the website

Mardi Arnold, age 87, serves as Chair of the Human Trafficking Committee for Soroptimist International of Azusa/Glendora.  Her club is planning an event including Soroptimist members of Azusa, Glendora, West Covina, Covina, San Dimas, and La Verne in April 2020 during National Child Abuse Prevention Month to raise awareness and funds for the fight against child trafficking. The U.S. national human trafficking hotline is 1-888-373-7888, or cell phone users may text HELP to 233733 (BeFree) and initiate online chats.

A native-born Angeleno, Mardi Arnold attended UCLA and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design.  Mardi said, “Post World War II, people went from high school straight into the workplace.  It wasn’t essential to hold a college or graduate degree at that time.  During the 1980 recession, it became difficult to import home furnishings or décor from other countries and run a profitable interior design business.  I switched to public speaking, and shared color psychology, based partly on Carole Jackson’s 1980 book, Color Me Beautiful.  This eventually led to my 30-year teaching career.  For 15 years before retirement, I taught fashion and retail merchandising for Downey Unified School District.  Because of the school summer vacation schedule, I opted to travel and work on Royal Princess cruise ships, where I gave lectures on Color: What it Says about You.”

                  Along her life journey, Mardi raised three children, who are now adults living in southern California.  Mardi’s five grandchildren, and six-month old great-grandchild complete her family.   When asked how she stays physically active, Mardi shared her workout routine: “At the Irwindale Senior Center, I take Tai Chi classes, a Balance Class, and do chair Yoga.  I’m fortunate that my physical strength is quite good.  I’ve been told I look twenty years younger than I am.  At the Senior Center, I speak about ‘Staying Youthful’, and share the following tips:

  • Exercise your mind. The brain is the director of your body.
  • Take charge of your own health. Feed your body the nutrients it needs and be cautious of prescription drug side effects.
  • Have a purpose in life, and maintain your appearance by dressing fashionably.

“It all boils down to Mind-Body-Spirit.  I wrote a book, and hope to publish it soon, titled 101 Tips on Staying Young.  I had a health scare five years ago, and doctors put me on all kinds of medications.  The prescriptions messed with my mind until I couldn’t even remember the pin number to access my bank account at the ATM.  I recuperated at a convalescent hospital for a month, and came home in a wheelchair, barely walking.  Thankfully, I utilized my knowledge of natural healing and have fully recovered.”  

We are thankful for Mardi’s leadership in raising awareness of child sex trafficking, and urge NBY readers to learn more and support your community’s efforts to end human trafficking.

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