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Minalee Saks

A New England native who moved with her parents to California at age 13, Minalee Saks earned a degree in psychology from UC Berkeley. She got into education as an intern with the Native American Teacher Corps in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, and taught at Eastside School after she and her then-husband moved to Eugene in 1975. She also got pregnant and had Joshua, the first of two sons, a year later. "When I took him for a walk in the stroller, there was no one around," says Saks, who signed up for an infant temperament study at the UO. "I wanted to talk to someone about my kid." Saks joined with researchers Andi Fischoff and Sue Kelly to found Birth To Three, a non-profit organization that brings families with young children together to create support groups and share parenting experiences. Since 1978, when it began with 45 families, BT3 has served more than 80,000 parents and children in Lane County. "This is my life," says Saks, the primary author of Make Parenting a Pleasure and other curricula now in use in over 800 sites around the US and in 13 other countries. "I believe that being a parent is the most important thing that any of us can do." Learn more at birthto3.org.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 30 April 2009

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