Kendra Puryear, chief development officer for Orangewood Foundation, shares her favorite places around the peninsula and beyond.
By Sharon Stello
When Kendra Puryear was 13, her family moved from Costa Mesa to Oklahoma. She couldn’t wait to get back to the coast, so she returned to Orange County for college at Vanguard University and stayed in the area. For the last five years, she’s been living near Lido Marina Village.
“I love being able to take a little stroll to run errands, like dropping [off] mail or picking up dry cleaning, and popping into Via Lido Drugs to refresh stationery or grab a matcha latte at Herst Coffee Roasters,” Puryear says. “If I have a little more time in my day, I’ll stop in Alchemy Works or Lido Village Books to shop a bit. And I love meeting friends for brunch or cocktails at Malibu Farm, Bear Flag [Fish Co.], Fable & Spirit or catching a sunset at the rooftop bar at Lido House.”
Puryear says the area’s dining and entertainment options and the peninsula’s walkability are “a huge plus for me.”
“It’s such a small-town vibe, and I always run into someone I know when I’m walking through Lido Marina Village or getting my nails done at Magic Nails, which makes me feel like I’m part of a true community,” she adds. “Being able to shop local is important to me and knowing the folks who own the businesses I frequent makes me feel good about where my money is being spent.”
And, thanks to perpetual sunshine here, Puryear says she and her boyfriend love to be near the water and spend time outside. “You can’t beat the weather and recreation in Newport, and we love the casual vibe. We’ve perfected the beach-to-dinner outfits and love the pace of this town,” says Puryear, who can often be found hiking, paddleboarding, strolling on the boardwalk at sunset or reading at the beach.
When not enjoying the locale, Puryear is chief development officer for Orangewood Foundation, which helps youths (up to about age 26) who are transitioning out of foster care, homeless or survivors of sex trafficking—or at risk of being trafficked. In her role, Puryear oversees fundraising and marketing for the nonprofit, which includes planning the organization’s events, writing grants, engaging supporters and building partnerships in the community.
“Working for Orangewood has been a dream job for me since I started in the nonprofit space 16 years ago,” Puryear says. “After I graduated from Vanguard, my first job was in the training department with CASA—Court Appointed Special Advocates—and it really opened my eyes to the disparities in our community, especially for youth coming out of foster care. Orangewood Foundation has been an innovator in the nonprofit space for more than 40 years–they aren’t afraid to step into the gaps and try new things, and we have the credibility and community backing to get big audacious projects off the ground.”
Earlier this year, Orangewood Foundation completed construction of Samueli Academy in Santa Ana including on-campus dorms for children in foster care.
“We’re on a mission now to find families who can support our students living on campus by becoming foster parents,” Puryear says. “Students live in their foster homes on weekends, holidays and during school breaks. They live on campus Sunday night through Friday afternoon where they receive academic support and learn life skills through a family-style approach. It’s … like an urban boarding school.”
The holiday season, she says, can be challenging for young people without connections to family so the staff spend a lot of time supporting the youths emotionally. Although it’s a demanding job, it’s also a rewarding one.
“Working in the nonprofit space has allowed me to fulfill my desire to make change,” she says. “I feel good about the work I’m doing to create a more equitable world where everyone thrives.”
My favorite places to shop are ALCHEMY WORKS in Lido Marina Village—where you can always find unique vintage accessories to mix with their timeless modern pieces—and [THE] RED BALLOON, where I can always find the perfect outfit for work or play,” Puryear says.
“LIDO VILLAGE BOOKS is the shop I visit most in Newport,” she says. “I love chatting with Michelle [Pierce], the owner, and getting her book recommendations. When I find a really good book, I typically buy … copies and give them away to friends. This year, my most gifted books have been ‘The Art of Gathering’ by Priya Parker and ‘Cassandra Speaks’ by Elizabeth Lesser.”
“When I’m on the go, which is often, I get my morning coffee at AL CAPPUCCINO, a local, family-owned shop,” Puryear says. “They freeze the coffee into ice cubes so I can sip it for hours and it’s never watered down.”
“My favorite place to sweat is [THE] BAR METHOD, where the community of mostly women are so supportive—which is great because that workout never seems to get easier,” she shares. “I also love COREPOWER YOGA: I’ve been practicing hot yoga off and on for 20 years, and it’s the only time I feel like my mind turns off.”