Local Hero: Shirlee Smith

Shirlee Smith

My work is inspired by all of those who help me help others and by the 'do for others' example my parents set.

From mother's helper to talk show host, Shirlee Smith has taken her knowledge and experiences of parenting to new heights. She is the founder and president of Talk About Parenting with Shirlee Smith, Inc. Created in 1997, the Pasadena-based nonprofit organization specializes in parenting issues and takes a no-nonsense approach of how to raise happy, balanced children. Her website, talkaboutparenting.org, offers a wealth of resources for parents. Ms. Smith provides parenting workshops for incarcerated mothers, she is a popular public speaker, writes an award-winning newspaper column and writes a blog. She is the author of "They're You're Kids Not You're Friends," and the Spanish version, "Son tus Hijos, no tus Amigos." Ms Smith received the 2006 Angel in Adoption Congressional Award. She is a graduate of UCLA. She was recently named to serve as Chair of Pacific Clinics Family Programs Advisory Board.

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From mother's helper to talk show host, Shirlee Smith has taken her knowledge and experiences of parenting to an unexpected level.

Smith spent her teenage years helping her mother raise her younger siblings and working in homes as a mother's helper. She later raised her own six children single-handedly. She was a student at UCLA when her youngest was in a stroller and graduated with a bachelor's degree as a departmental scholar in sociology.

She fostered a dozen infants classified as "drug babies." Ms. Smith had pretty much seen it all - but the last straw was when she fostered a baby who had spent the day with the birth family. The aunt proudly announced, "You won't have to feed her because she just had a bottle of Kool-Aid."

With these words, Smith found her calling.

She founded Talk About Parenting with Shirlee Smith, Inc., in 1997. The Pasadena-based nonprofit organization specializes in parenting issues and takes a no-nonsense approach to raising happy, balanced children. Her stance is that the parents, not the children, take charge of the household. This philosophy has created a spirited dialogue on her live television show, which is broadcast from the City of Pasadena Television Station carried on Charter and AT&T U-verse and also streamed on the web.

Smith has developed quite a brand for herself with workshops, public speaking engagements, a parenting newspaper column and blog posted on her website at www.talkaboutparenting.org. Her columns have earned her first place journalism awards for personal commentary from The Greater Los Angeles Press Club. Her workshops include working with incarcerated mothers at California Institute for Women.

Smith is author of "They're You're Kids Not You're Friends," and the Spanish version, "Son tus Hijos, no tus Amigos."

Smith's work has gained national attention. She is recipient of the 2006 Angel in Adoption Congressional Award and Women in Business Congressional Recognition.

Smith was recently elected chair of Pacific Clinics Family Programs Advisory Board.

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