Katherine Blyth is a familiar name to those at the Second Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program and within the local guardian ad litem community.
For over ten years, Blyth has been a supporter of and volunteer for our program. As a supporter, she has personally contributed time and resources to assist with our mission, the needs of children in the community and special events, often in collaboration with community supporter Trak Engineering, Inc., which Blyth co-founded in 1981.
As a volunteer, Blyth has provided invaluable assistance to children whose cases she was assigned. She has been recognized for her accomplishments on a number occasions, most recently in May 2012 as recipient of the George Thompson Training Award.
For Mother's Day this year, Blyth's eldest son Marc Malonzo decided to share with the world "on this most special of days" how he feels about his mother, the positive impact she makes on his life and her contribution to children in the community.
Malonzo, a Tallahassee native now living in Sunnyvale, California, eagerly granted us permission to republish his essay so that we could share it with our readers and the local community.
"My intention was to let everyone know," said Malonzo.
Thank you to Marc for sharing this wonderful ode to a wonderful woman.
Happy Mother's Day!
In the lottery of life, I won big time…
by Marc Malonzo
Sunday, May 12, 2013
An ode to the woman who brought me into this world…
I love my mom. On the surface, it's rather cliché — everyone loves their mom, it's a basic almost primal part of life. But in this case, it's more than just the love of a child for his mother, my mom is truly a special human being, and I wanted to share this with everyone I know. Even at the risk of being called a "momma's boy," I'm not afraid to say it: my mom is one of the coolest, smartest, and kindest people I know!
Of all the life lessons she has imparted upon me, the one that defines my mother the best is "work hard, play hard." She started her own computer consulting company in her mid-thirties, built it up and sold it, and then retired at the ripe old age of forty-two. She and my stepdad also own a condo that is one-third of a block off of Bourbon Street in New Orleans. If that doesn't epitomize the "work hard, play hard" philosophy, I don't know what does!
After retirement, my mom turned to volunteering. Most notably, she became a guardian ad litem (which, for those of you that don't know, is a person appointed by the court to represent the interests of a child in a custody case — in short: they are the voice of the child in the courtroom). Within a few short years she had also become the president of Child Advocates II, a non-profit organization whose mission was to help raise funds and general support for the Guardian ad Litem Program — which, together with being a guardian with several assigned cases, was almost a full time job. She was even selected by the Tallahassee Democrat as the volunteer of the year, but she turned the award down, explaining that she did not do the things she did for recognition.
To give you a little insight as to some of the impact she had as a volunteer, I turn to the words of a child from one of her cases. This child entered (and won!) an essay contest on the subject of "divine inner beauty" and she chose to write it about my mom. The following is an excerpt from that essay, and while a little long (for an excerpt) it is a moving read and I don't think I could make the point any better myself.
"In my case, my life was impacted on a personal level by a woman named Katherine Blyth. Her inner beauty made a huge impact on my life in ways that most people cannot relate. When I was eight years old, I was placed in foster care. Being so young I couldn't really understand what was going on and I kind of felt as though somehow it was my fault. I met Mrs. Katherine because she was assigned to my case as a volunteer guardian ad litem. She came and did nothing but be nice and help me understand what was happening and that it wasn't my fault. I called her my 'guardian angel' because I wasn't used to meeting people who cared and did so much for a person they did not know or at least was not related to them.
Now I am seventeen years old and she is still in my life as a motivator and she is helping me reach my goal in life. When I was younger I kind of felt unloved and unwanted and that I couldn't do anything in my life but follow in the footsteps of my family and repeat my family's history. Katherine helped me understand that there is nothing in life that I can't do! And that I don't have to follow in their footsteps because I am my own person and I can do anything I want to better myself and my life. I wanted to give up on school and life but she helped me get assistance with school and get a better understanding of things in my life. Katherine is a sweet person and kind hearted. She helps any and every body she can. Her inner beauty is just so beautiful I truly would not be where I am today, graduating from high school this year and also having my current mindset. She is a godly woman with a caring and genuine heart. I now call her my Godmother and she plays a major role in my life to this day and hopefully in my future."
And this was only one of many children my mom helped in her time as a guardian! I cannot express the pride and emotion I experience when I think of all that my mom has done to help children that aren't even her own.
In addition to all of her above accomplishments, my superlative mother was also a full time mom of six children (biological mother of three and stepmother of three more) — and she loved, nurtured, taught, and encouraged each of us to be the best we can be in life. My memories of growing up under her roof are some of my fondest, and our family remains closely knit thanks to the way she ran her household. My mother's favorite saying is "steadfast perseverance," and I think she has imparted that unto us by example. This is a woman we can all look up to, and I hope to grow to become even half the person she is.
I am here to say that I stand in awe of my mother as one of the most decent and inspiring human beings I have had the privilege to meet. I count my blessings every day, to not only know her, but to call her my mom. And on this most holy of holidays, I had to let the world know just how special she is and how lucky the world is to have her.
Happy Mother's Day, Momma!!!
I love you more than words can express, but the above was my best attempt. I hope you know you mean the world to me and I would be completely lost without you! I love you with every beat of my heart!