Md. CEO emphasizes the importance of children having both parents, especially during the holidays

This is part of WTOP’s continuing coverage of people making a difference from our community authored by Stephanie Gaines-Bryant. Read more of that coverage.

When Lesa Britt was growing up in North Carolina, she said she felt like there was always something missing.

She was the youngest of nine children living in a single parent home because her parents were divorced. In her neighborhood, Britt said her family was the only single parent household. She spent a lot of time with her best friend’s family that included a mother and a father in an effort to fill in those missing pieces, but she said there was a problem.

Despite being in a two parent home, Britt said there was a lot of abuse in her friend’s family. It was through those experiences she developed the desire to help families in need. Britt is the CEO and Executive Director of the Children’s Rights Council located in Crofton, Maryland, and has been in her position since 2011. The organization was established in 1985 and serves several counties in Maryland, including Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties.

Britt said when parents are arguing over custody issues during the holidays, it can be miserable for children. The Prince George’s County-based organization believes that children have a right to both parents, especially during the holidays.

Britt said the first lessons parents should learn is, “When you make a decision to have children, you have to be responsible parents.” The Children’s Rights Council helps families with monitored exchanges, supervised visitations and parenting classes, she said.

“Forgiveness is key,” Britt said, adding it’s a lesson she understands well because she had to forgive her father for not being in her life. “You have to forgive yourself and the other person.”

Britt said she tries to emphasize to children and parents that even if they’re not all living under the same roof, “They can still be a happy family. No matter what, they are always going to be a family.”

Stephanie Gaines-Bryant

Stephanie Gaines-Bryant is an Anchor and Reporter for WTOP. Over the past 20 years, Stephanie has worked in several markets, including Baltimore, Washington, Houston and Charleston, holding positions ranging from newscaster to morning show co-host.

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