resident Maureen Lynch
Volunteering in cause of her beliefs
A self-described laid-back person, Maureen Lynch isnt
one to grab the limelight. Growing up a good Catholic girl, she was raised
to do the right thing.
But last week, when she held the spotlight for 90 seconds in front of
700 people, Lynch chose to do the difficult thing, and used her time to
express her opposition to the governments impending war on Iraq.
It was a little scary at first and my voice was shaking, Lynch
said. But it felt good afterwards.
Lynchs courage illustrates why she was chosen as one of nine YWCA
of Daytons Women of Influence, women who exemplify community
spirit, leadership, volunteerism and self-sacrifice, according to
organizers. She received her award at a luncheon ceremony on Thursday,
March 13, during which each honoree had a minute and a half to speak.
Im thinking of all the people who will die: American and Iraqi
soldiers, and all the civilians men, women and children, now referred
to by our government as collateral damage who will
die as the bombs rain down on Baghdad, Lynch said at the event.
Her desire to stand up for her beliefs has led Lynch to volunteer for
a variety of local and regional organizations, especially for those that
support her passions for womens rights, civil liberties and access
to health care. She has served as president of the boards of Planned Parenthood
of Greater Miami Valley and NARAL/Ohio, and as vice president of the Dayton
Contemporary Dance Company board.
She has also served on the boards of the Dayton YWCA, WPTD, Freedom of
Choice Miami Valley and Miami Valley Voters for Legal Abortion.
Locally, Lynch served as president of the Friends Health Care Association
Board of Trustees during the Friends Care Community Millennium capital
campaign, which raised $1 million for the center. She also served on the
board of the Community Childrens Center.
Lynchs leadership during the fundraising campaign was invaluable,
Friends Care Director Jeff Singleton said.
It was a time of tremendous growth for the organization but with
growth came financial strains and tight budget years, Singleton
said. Maureen remained focused, even visionary, in looking towards
the future. Her calming influence kept us on course.
Diane Foubert, who was director of the Childrens Center when Lynch
served on its board, also appreciated Lynchs dedication and her
She was so diligent in her work and impeccably honest and objective,
Foubert said. She has a calm, an evenness that I really appreciated.
Lynch has given countless hours volunteering for local organizations because
she feels blessed with good fortune and to show her appreciation for her
community. Ive been lucky to have a good family, a good education
and the time to give, she said.
She and her husband, Richard Lapedes, moved to Yellow Springs from Dayton
in the early 1980s when they adopted two children, Helen and Will. We
loved Yellow Springs and thought it would be a great place to raise kids,
she said. It also turned out to be a great place to be an adult.
And volunteering isnt about self-sacrifice, Lynch said.
I think you get as much as you give when you volunteer, she
said. You meet great people and get the satisfaction of working
for things you believe in.
Womens reproductive rights are at the forefront of Lynchs
concerns, especially now that the Bush administration has cut funding
to organizations such as Planned Parenthood and, she believes, seems to
be heading toward creating a Supreme Court that will further undermine
Most pro-choice activists think Bush is trying to get the Supreme
Court to reverse Roe vs. Wade, she said. Things are bad now
for womens reproductive rights.
To help support those rights, Lynch has recently rejoined the board of
Planned Parenthood of Dayton. She has also through the years worked on
the campaigns of many politicians who supported womens reproductive
rights, such as Richard Celeste and Lee Fisher, and worked for area women
who sought public office, such as Debby Lieberman and Rhine McLin.
We wont have legislation thats good for women until
about 50 percent of legislators are women, she said.
And in two years, Lynch knows what shell be doing.
I cant wait to work against George Bush, she said.
Lynchs passion for political activism began when, after she graduated
from the University of Dayton with an education degree, she spent a year
as a VISTA volunteer in an economically depressed area in Kansas City.
The oldest of five children from a Catholic family in Akron, Lynch had
never before seen poverty close-up.
It was graduate school for me, she said.
After returning to Dayton, Lynch taught young children while she lived
in a cooperative household. That experience also proved to be life-changing,
since another member of the household was Richard Lapedes, now her husband.
The two took up sailing, and traveled to the Virgin Islands, where they
lived for three years before returning home.
The couple moved to Yellow Springs in the early 80s. A mother with
young children, Lynch began her association with the Childrens Center
because she believed it was essential for the village to offer working
mothers affordable, quality childcare.
Her children are almost grown now, with Helen spending a year in France
and Will at a private secondary school.
When asked what she would most like her daughter to learn, Maureen Lynch
Id like her to be willing to speak up, to stand up for the
things she believes, Lynch said.
To find a role model for courage and forthrightness, Helen Lapedes doesnt
need to look far. Just as far as her mother.