Elizabeth Smith is Sebastopol’s newest Local Who Makes a Difference
City of Sebastopol, Press Release, January 3, 2021
At their December council meeting, the Sebastopol City Council named Elizabeth Smith as the newest “Locals Who Make a Difference” honoree.
A recent transplant to Sebastopol, Elizabeth Smith has fully immersed herself in community service while also running her own humanitarian business and raising two children together with husband Teran, a Sonoma County native. Elizabeth first experienced Sonoma County several years ago on a visit to see her husband’s hometown. She says that she instantly felt at home and connected to the Sebastopol community. Both she and Teran were successfully self-employed in Sutter County, yet her heart felt a calling to Sebastopol. The couple, with children Hunter and Lucy and dog Penny Lane, took a leap of faith and made the move in 2018.
Elizabeth is an author, public speaker and advocate for suicide awareness and the prevention of child abuse and neglect. She is the founder of a program, Project Whole Child, that she describes as focusing on small but significant changes to build strong and healthy, emotionally connected children, families, and community to ensure optimal outcomes for children and their families to help prevent, treat, and heal trauma. A former longtime children’s yoga trainer, she continues to teach children and families tools to self-regulate, practice mindfulness, and to promote physical and emotional wellness on a developmentally appropriate level for children.
Elizabeth serves on the Sebastopol Union Elementary School District Board of Trustees and is a parent leader for Parent Voices Sonoma, a grass-roots group that advocates for affordable, accessible, quality childcare in Sonoma County and throughout the State of California. She is on the board of Peacetown and founded the Peacetown Family Village. She also re-started and expanded a local chapter of Soroptimist International and serves as its chapter president. Elizabeth has recently accepted a volunteer position as the Community Manager for Sonoma County ACEs Connection.
Elizabeth has a talent for envisioning the positive outcomes that she wants to see and doing the necessary work to bring them to reality.
Peacetown: Shortly after moving to Sebastopol, an evening at a Peacetown Summer Concert in 2018 introduced Elizabeth to the beloved annual community event series.
“I could not believe that I live in a town where peace is celebrated by the community in such a groovy way,” said Elizabeth. “I turned to my husband and told him I would for sure be a part of Peacetown one day.”
It didn’t take long for that idea to take shape. Elizabeth joined the board and in 2019 founded the Peacetown Family Village. Bordered by peace flags that Elizabeth places herself, the village is a place for families to play, make positive social connections, and learn about local resources while enjoying the free weekly concerts. With the cancellation of the 2020 concert series due to pandemic safety measures, Elizabeth developed a new signature program called Peace Bags that provides families access to local resources, connection to their community, promotes family engagement, cultivates peace, and provides some fun. The concept has spread to Los Angeles County where community members there have replicated and are now applying for funding to continue this idea due to its success.
Soroptimists: One service club that is near and dear to Elizabeth’s heart is Soroptimist International. The global volunteer organization provides women and girls with access to the education and training they need to achieve economic empowerment as well as empowering them to be the best they can be. Active in her hometown club, she noticed there was not a Sebastopol club. She discovered that there was a club that folded in the 90’s and knew she had to bring it back. Soroptimist International of West Sonoma County was founded August of 2019. Elizabeth served as the chapter’s founding president and is its current president. She has enjoyed learning about prior club projects such as baking crisps for fundraisers during the Apple Blossom Festival and building a gazebo in Ragle Park displaying plaques of members who had passed away. The gazebo is being revamped by the current club, and members who have since passed will have their plaque placed into the gazebo. Soroptimist’s current signature program is Live Your Dream, which offers scholarships to women heads of household with dependents attending a school to further their education. The club will award their second scholarship to a local woman in 2021.
ACES: Another project that Elizabeth volunteers with is the Sonoma County ACEs Connection, which brings the community together to prevent, heal, and treat Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) while promoting resilience. The Sonoma County group is one of many throughout California and the United States that work to serve as a buffer to Adverse Childhood Experiences and toxic stress.
Elizabeth enjoys being social and bringing people together, listening and dancing to live music, eating all the delicious fresh produce grown locally, savoring the wonderful wine this county provides, being outside in nature– especially at the beach, and sharing community service with her children so they know the value in investing in their communities.