Social worker knew early on she wanted to be a momWritten by Michael Driehorst | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Helen Woody’s motto has served her family well. “Parents need to be patient, understanding and consistent,” she said.
“You have to be that way to allow your children to grow up into law-abiding citizens.”
Woody and her husband, Stanley, raised three children: Stacey Hartman, 37, Atlanta, who has three children of her own; Shawna Woody, 31, Toledo; and Stanley Woody Jr., 27, Toledo.
“One of the biggest challenges is trying to balance work, home, medical and other appointments and family activities,” Woody said. “We felt it was very important to keep our children involved in activities like social clubs, dance, church groups, school and other extracurricular activities. We wanted our children to be well-rounded individuals.”
Woody, 60, grew up in West Virginia, but lived most of her life in Toledo. She and Stanley, a retired Toledo Public Schools principal and School Improvement Leader, have been married 40 years. She retired in 2006 after 37 and a half years as a social worker with Lucas County Children Services. Early in her career, Woody was a general case social worker, but for the bulk of her career, worked mostly in the Foster Care and Adoption Department.
Woody was the third daughter in a family of eight girls.
“I saw a lot of parenting being done, and knew early on I wanted to be a mom,” she said.
Woody said being a social worker and seeing the struggles, and even abuse that young parents and children suffer, made an impact on her own view as a mother.
“It definitely made me want to be a better parent,” she said. “I worked a lot with young moms who had no family support and little education. I stressed the importance of family.”
In addition to being a mother, Woody is a grandmother three times over.
“It’s one of the neatest things,” she said. “It’s a different kind of love with grandchildren. I’m more relaxed with the rules with them. I like to spoil them a little more.”
The Woodys developed family traditions. One is celebrating every birthday — even as the children became adults.
“Stanley and I take them out to dinner of their choice and then come back home for gifts and cake. It’s a tradition we will keep going.”
For daughter Stacey, who lives in Atlanta, Woody and her husband send flowers, balloons or something special, and then treat her to dinner the next time they see her.
Stacey is a medical and vocations case worker, Shawna is director of operations for the Boys & Girls Club of Toledo, and Stanley Jr. is a member of a local Best Buy Geek Squad.
“They’re grown up, but I still want to hear from them and what’s going on in their lives every day. We’re really proud of their accomplishments,” she said.