We here at Peace Neighborhood Center are very saddened to learn of the loss of one of our great community leaders Barbara Meadows. Barb had been a longtime champion of Peace and we will miss her advice, love and laughter. In remembrance of her and her legacy, we’d like to share the story we wrote about her when celebrating our 45th anniversary in 2016:
“Back in the mid-1970s, Barb Meadows worked as the school social worker for Lawton Elementary, Dicken Elementary and Slauson Middle School. As she met with the many families in need at these schools, Barb began to take notice of the role Peace Neighborhood Center was playing in so many lives in the community. “The need was great,” she says. “Many of the children who would come into my office were hungry. The drug problem back then was very bad and it affected a lot of families who just weren’t able to support these children. I would stock my office with peanut butter and crackers and would take parents out to the grocery store on occasion, but there was only so much I could do. I kept hearing stories about Peace Neighborhood Center and what they were doing to help.”
Barb soon met Rose Martin and was impressed with how involved she was in making sure that these families were supported. “Rose would make these big meals and hand out awards to people who were bettering themselves,” Barb recalls. “She called it Awards Night and so many people were inspired to improve themselves, to try to be honored at Awards Night. Rose really understood that people can change with the right support – if you aren’t always tearing them down.”
Barb became a board member at Peace in the early 80s and helped steer the organization to reach more and more families. In 1994, Barb retired from the Ann Arbor Public Schools. Throughout her dedicated career, she continued to reach out to children and families in need, both in partnership with Peace Neighborhood Center and on her own. “I learned early on that a little respect goes a long way,” she says. “I would always address my students as ‘Mister’. For some of them, that might have been the most respect they ever received. One day a few years ago, I had a young man approach me and tell me ‘thank you’ for saving his life. He didn’t elaborate and walked away before I could ask him who he was, but he could have been one of many children over the years and that makes me feel good.”
It makes us feel good, too. Thank you, Barb, for your many years of service to the community. You will be dearly missed.
If you are inclined to make a donation in Barb’s memory, please click the box below and indicate the donation is intended as a memorial gift in the text field. Thank you.