In recent weeks, Groundwork Ohio has published a “Get to Know Groundwork” series, spotlighting members of our amazing team! This week, we’re getting to know Lawrence Witherspoon, Director of the Center for Family Voice. Lawrence joined Groundwork Ohio in September 2022.
As Director of the Center for Family Voice, Lawrence leads the Center’s work to elevate the voices of families with young children in early childhood policy and advocacy to achieve programmatic, policy, and practice changes at local, regional, and state levels.
Lawrence has over 14 years of unique child welfare experience, serving the Central Ohio community as a Parenting Education Consultant/Trainer and Support Service Supervisor for The Buckeye Ranch. Providing home-based intervention programming for families of infants, toddlers, or children with developmental disabilities or delays, Lawrence worked to keep family units together and sought out the necessary support to do so. His primary role was to develop strong relationships with families in order to provide service coordination, support, and training to assist in meeting the needs of their children and enhancing parents’ role as the primary influence on their child’s education and development.
Lawrence also worked extensively in the DEI space at the Buckeye Ranch, and served as Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council for more than three years. Lawrence is a graduate of the Leadership Columbus Class of 2021, where he collaborated with the Community Impact Project Team and United Way to develop a financial literacy initiative for local school districts in Central Ohio.
Lawrence earned accreditations as a Qualified Mental Health Specialist and Emotional Intelligence Implement Strategist through the Institute for Health and Human Potential and is a licensed Minister.
Check out our Q&A with Lawrence to learn more about why he’s a passionate advocate for young children and families in Ohio!
Q: What drew you to early childhood policy research and advocacy? Tell us more about your “why”!
Over the past 14 years, I’ve worked in child welfare as an advocate, supporting children and families to thrive using their natural support systems in the community. I have a passion for empowering families to stay resilient and push through adversity.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received or a lesson that you’ve learned that has helped you in this work?
Life is all about growth, so trust the process.
Q: Groundwork Ohio’s word for 2022 is ELEVATE. What’s your word for 2022?
Q: When you aren’t advocating on behalf of young children and families, what do you enjoy doing?
I love spending time with my wife and children. During my additional free time, I go fishing.
Q: Describe a scene from your vision of the future for Ohio’s youngest children and their caregivers.
My vision is that children and caregivers will gain access to every resource that aids with stability, to maintain a healthy and balanced life.