Remembering Ethel Seiderman

Katelyn Willoughby

Katelyn is fired up about communication, marketing, business development, and working with diverse leaders in the North Bay to help them carry out their missions.

Ethel Seiderman, beloved and respected by CVNL and inumerable organizations and individuals in Marin and beyond, passed away peacefully in her sleep on July 26. A memorial service was held on July 29, and was attended by hundreds of people from all corners.

Ethel’s life and work reflected her passion for children and families. She created innovative programs which became national models for meeting a broad range of needs. From her early efforts in low-income communities in Boston and New York in the 1950’s, to the nationwide reach of the Parent Services Project she directed, Ethel demonstrated that caring for vulnerable populations with respect and compassion reflects how we are as a people.

In 1973 Ethel founded the Fairfax-San Anselmo Children’s Center and was the director until 1999. The Center established childcare for low- to moderate-income families with ground-breaking programs such as the ‘Get Well Room’ for mildly ill children, extended hours, extensive family support, mainstreaming, and transportation for school-age children. With the efforts of her late husband and partner Stan, the family support program increased fathers’ involvement through the Men’s Group and its various projects.

The Parent Services Project was founded in 1980 as Ethel realized that, in order to promote the well- being of children, we must promote and incorporate their families. Working in partnership, parents and staff developed support groups, respite and family fun events, workshops, trainings, and other activities requested by the families. Ethel was a champion for justice, equity and respect for all children and families regardless of economic standing or ethnic background. She understood that through honoring and sustaining each other we can truly build a better future. Most recently, Ethel was a lead volunteer at Legal Aid of Marin. She was recognized for her contributions at the 2015 Heart of Marin Awards, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ethel Seiderman mentored many leaders. She gave tirelessly her entire life and remained an active and influential leader up until her passing. You will be dearly missed, Ethel — may we always remember and honor your legacy of service.

I will always be committed to doing whatever makes a difference. — Ethel