Sara Wood Smith has worked closely with Patty Wipfler since their first children were born in 1970. Sara and Patty were Co-Directors of The School, a non-profit parent co-op preschool for 5 years, and then moved their work more to the domain of supporting and empowering parents. Sara has been involved with Hand in Hand Parenting since the beginning, first as a supporter, and then as a teacher, trainer and as a Board Member since 2001.
Sara has worked with parents and children as a midwife, childbirth educator, parent educator, family advocate, community health worker, public health nurse, hospice nurse and workshop leader. In 1990, Sara founded the Family Health Education Center in Santa Cruz, and was the Director for the following 10 years. The organization merged and grew and is now the Live Oak Family Resource Center in Santa Cruz County. Sara has led many classes, support groups, trainings and residential weekend workshops for families and for parent leaders in the US and other countries.
Sara has a BA in Anthropology from Pitzer College, and has always been interested in the cultural variations in parenting. Belief that all parents share some common dreams, aspirations and challenges makes the work of supporting parents very rewarding. At times, Sara has lived in West Africa, India, and Mexico and she speaks a basic Spanish and likes working with other Spanish speakers.
Some of Sara’s areas of interest include: helping new parents gain perspective on a baby’s crying; single parent support; sibling issues; setting limits with kindness, firmness and respect; helping health workers and child care workers incorporateParenting by Connection approach in their work places; helping parents and children with the emotional side of physical challenges; play time for parents and children; and developing support for parents and for children.
She has an adult daughter, and two stepsons. Sara currently lives in Santa Cruz area, and has led classes and trainings for Hand in Hand throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, the Southwest, and is currently involved with Hand in Hand training in England.