The Lee Home

Doug and Sylvia Lee began living with children in 1968 at the Jones Home for Children in Cleveland after working with children at Sagamore Hills Children’s Psychiatric Hospital, Educational Development Center and the Upward Bound program in Little Rock Arkansas. While working at the Berea Children’s Home, Doug earned a masters degree in social work (MSSA) from Case Western Reserve University. While at the University of Kansas, pursuing their doctoral degrees, Doug and Sylvia were co-directors of Achievement Place for Girls, where much Teaching-Family research was conducted. They had the pleasure of discussing the Teaching-Family Model with people from across the United States and around the world as part of the dissemination program funded by NIMH. While students at the University of Kansas, the National Teaching-Family Association was being formed and Doug was a charter Teaching-Parent representative to NaT-FA. After completing most of the course work for the doctoral program, the Lees were offered the opportunity to develop a group home project from the ground up consisting of four group homes in the Toledo area for Cummings-Zucker Center (CZC).

After six years with CZC, Doug and Sylvia decided that it was time to develop a group home program of their own and they were the original incorporators of the Ohio Teaching-Family Association (OTFA). They were joined by friends and colleagues who had years of experience in the Teaching-Family Model.

Doug and Sylvia enjoy working with older adolescent boys preparing for adulthood. They are licensed to provide care for ten foster sons in their home in Swanton, Ohio. The Lee home is located just outside the Village of Swanton on what used to be a ten-acre horse farm. Sylvia enjoys cooking, decorating, landscape and gardening. She enjoys spending time in her evolving English garden and teaching her foster sons about plants. Sylvia occasionally dusts off the piano and teaches the kids music as well as accompanying singing at Christmas and celebrations.

Doug loves working in the garage where the Lees and several of their older foster sons have developed a welding shop; a woodworking shop, a bicycle shop and mechanics shop with a professional automotive lift. Their foster sons always have opportunities to learn carpentry, plumbing, electrical work, and general maintenance through one of the ongoing projects around the house, helping neighbors, or helping build Habitat for Humanity homes. They guys also have opportunities to earn extra money by working for the Lees or through employment in the Swanton area.

The Lees love helping young people expand their knowledge of the world. In addition to their foster sons, the Lees have had six foreign exchange students on a short-term exchange adult from Russia as guests in their home.

Sylvia and Doug take pride in being Teaching-Parents, and they are also active in community affairs. Sylvia has been an officer in school related organizations. Doug is a past president of the Swanton Rotary Club and a past member of the Swanton Board of Education. He is also executive director of the Ohio Teaching-Family Association.

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