May 19, 1947-October 31, 2002
The late Betsy Santelli, Beach Center Director of Technical Assistance and Outreach from 1988 to 2002, was pivotal in the development of Parent to Parent programs across the country.
She worked for over 25 years for and with children with special needs and their families. Betsy was a passionate advocate for and collaborator with parent organizations, including Parent to Parent and Grassroots Consortium on Disabilities. Rud Turnbull wrote the following tribute to this amazing woman:
Betsy Santelli was the Beach Center's first "external hire," and no person could have joined us early on other than Betsy. She contributed greatly to the Center's culture by modelling our collective aspirations: connect directly, honestly, candidly, and kindly with families; listen carefully to them before trying to support them; ask them what they want of us, and then work diligently at responding effectively; count our own blessings while trying to create some for families; dare to be brave and to enter the worlds of families -- worlds that are so far distant from our own yet so enriching of our own; exude optimism; and confront pessimism and skepticism with not just a spirit of optimism but the facts -- the parables of lives made more joyous, in the face of unwelcome events, because of us.
In her competence in nurturing Parent to Parent and the Grassroots Consortium, Betsy was without peer; it is solely because of her diligence over many years that parents in those organizations, and the Beach Center staff, have intellectual and spiritual bonds. In strength of character, even at the painful end of her life, she was awe-inspiring; her eyes never gave a hint of pain or sadness. In commitment, she was exceptional: diligence was her middle name. As wife and mother, she balanced her responsibilities to family and the Center sensibly, and the distance from her home in Minnesota and our Center in Kansas never seemed great at all.
We lost a dear friend when she died, but we retained her spirit and honor it daily.
Co-Director, Beach Center on Disability
For more information on Parent to Parent USA, visit its site by clicking here.