We have lost one of our own. Sylvia Lee passed away December 19, surrounded by her family, after a sudden and brief illness. She was 74.
Sylvia joined Parenting Now! at the beginning when we were Birth To Three. She never left.
Sylvia wore many hats in her years with us. She was one of our enrollment specialists and may have been the first person many of you spoke with as you joined our programs. She also was one of our Parent Helpline staff, listening as parents struggled with the issue of their day, providing encouragement, suggestions, and referrals.
Sylvia had many other gifts to share. She was our first and long-term writer/editor of this Parent Newsletter, producing it on our mimeograph machine, one copy at a time. She was an avid reader, so she included book reviews of wonderful children’s books and support books for parents so we could all build our libraries with the best. She scoured the community for fun activities for families and added in the Calendar of Events so we could all build memories with our children. She edited our Resources for Families Poster, again cranking it out on our mimeograph, one by one. Every service provider in town knew that when Sylvia called it was time to update their information so we all knew where to find support. She edited our monthly articles in the Register-Guard, recruiting contributors to provide the whole community with wisdom about common concerns we all have as parents.
Sylvia embodied the values and basic assumptions that Parenting Now! is founded upon. She trusted that parents know what is best for their own children and that whatever kids are doing, they are telling us what they need. Her priority was first and foremost providing the best for parents. Her deep, knowledgeable foundation of positive parenting strategies never got in the way of her practice of really listening to parents as they shared their most frustrating challenges. She normalized challenges and helped parents know they were not alone as they worked out concrete strategies to support their family.
We all miss Sylvia at Parenting Now!. She was often the first and best connection for parents and the community with Birth To Three and Parenting Now!. For new staff, she was our memory and one of the “guardians of who we are.” As she did for the parents she reached, she provided a touch point for all the staff, year after year as our own children and grandchildren grew up in the Parenting Now! family. She shared her own family experience with us as well, such as her exuberance when her daughter Alethia was admitted into and graduated from medical school.
Sylvia challenged us and pushed us all to be our best and has left the world a better place because of it. She is sorely missed.