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Remembering Anita

We have lost one of our own.  Anita Quincy-Huffman passed away December 27, 2020. 

Anita was with us from almost the beginning. She started as a volunteer intern in the early 80s, and soon joined our team to become a major influence and change-maker for Birth To Three and Parenting Now over the years.

Anita had a special gift for supporting our most vulnerable families—our teen parents.

Through her belief in them, many picked up the courage to go back to school, get advanced degrees, and become CPAs, MSWs, teachers, parenting educators, and leaders in their field. Her loving acceptance and support of young parents created a community of caring from which parents could soar. She was one of our key staff for the Parent Helpline, responding to parents’ needs in the moment, listening, helping to find answers, and connecting them to much needed resources. She asked parents to look at each stressful situation from their child’s perspective and figure out what they want their child to learn within their developmental capacity. She supported parents to identify their own values, so that their interactions with their children were guided by them.

She became our Program Manager for our Make Parenting Pleasure Program for highly stressed families, being a fierce advocate for families’ needs. She served on many community coordinating committees as a voice for parents, especially vulnerable ones. In 2018, Serenity Lane awarded Anita the Community Leadership Award for her years of advocacy and service.

Anita had one of the biggest hearts you’ll ever encounter and was always finding the good in us all. Anita’s world was always fun, and that was part of her magic. The world is a little less bright without her big smile, deep spirit, sense of humor and infectious laugh. We will sorely miss you, Anita.

Past and present Parenting Now staff remember Anita:

“Anita was still a UO intern when she first came to Birth To Three back in the 1980s. I can still see her—not so different from the way she looked all these years later—smiling, twinkling, bringing laughter, fun, and caring with her. How lucky I was to work for more than 30 years with this warm, joyful, competent, and creative human being. One of the many ways that Anita shined was through her groups with young parents, sometimes as young as 14 years old, facing enormous challenges. Anita helped them feel safe and respected while they learned how to be the kind of capable and caring parents their babies needed. Anita enriched and brightened the lives of everyone around her. There are no words to say how much she will be missed.” – Minalee Saks

“Mr. Rogers, accepting a Lifetime Achievement Award, asked everyone in the audience to take ten seconds to remember some of the people who have ‘helped you love the good that grows within you, some of those people who have loved us and wanted what was best for us, those who have encouraged us to become who we are.’ For me, I can be grateful for Anita who played that role to me for almost two decades. I'm sure there were many parents, staff and community members who had a similar experience and were left better for her presence in their lives.” - Dr. Aoife Rose Magee 

“For me, having Anita at Birth To Three/Parenting Now was like having your mother in the kitchen baking cookies when you came home from school. She was always interested and comfortable. Our children were almost the same age and in the same school and she always made a point to keep up with what they were doing, as I did with her children. When I think of Anita, I think of fun, graciousness, creativity, humor, and games. We were always sharing new ideas for games and activities. When I was program manager in the 90s, Anita, Ani, Mary, Kim, and Donna, and I would sometimes get together for game nights. I remember when we tried to play the version of LIFE that a local guy had made; I think he still sells it. We became discouraged playing it because there were so few chances in the game for getting on the healthy, normal, average path in life we all wanted and thought we would have—college, marriage, children, job, house, and money. But even if we did manage to get on that path in the game, there were still so many crises and pitfalls to overcome. Anita surely had many of those pitfalls in her life, more than almost anyone I know, and she still carried on, asked me about my children and life, and was interested.” - Kris Hallenburg

“Anita was one of the first people I met at Parenting Now when I came in for my interview and her warm, welcoming presence immediately made me feel right at home. Her spirit helped set the tone of our organization and the passion and care she brought to her work will always be such an inspiration to those of us who were so fortunate to work alongside her.” – Meredith Tufts

“No matter how busy or rushed I felt, Anita had a way to slow me down and connect with my heart, especially when she knew I needed it. She would inquire about me and my family. She showed genuine concern and care. She had a magnificent way of remembering the details I shared even months later. She always focused on my strengths and the positives in every situation. She was a grandmotherly figure in my life I feel so blessed to have known. She was such an inspiration, I hope that some beautiful part of her continues to live on in me.” – Min Yi Su 

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