President’s Letter – June 2020

Dear SEED families,

It’s been a rough and surreal Spring. No sooner had we celebrated together Mardi Gras-style, than Coronavirus was knocking on our door. Parents and kids have been navigating uncharted waters and wearing too many hats, often without the targeted, hands-on support we depend on. Virtual learning has been extra hard on our children who thrive on consistent routines and face-to-face interactions. The burnout is real.

Many of us are relieved to be closing this particular pandemic chapter but apprehensive about the next: an uncertain summer with limited options, as we hold our breath to see what’s in store this fall. While no virtual program can perfectly duplicate an in-person experience, we’re hoping our summertime line-up helps you move forward and find moments of connection during this socially distant time. 

  • Start the season on the right foot by joining us next week for an online chat with our favorite LAFSD behaviorist Jen Ripley. She’ll share tips and tricks for managing some of the challenges we’ll be facing this summer, followed by a Q&A. Click here for more information and to register for the Zoom presentation.
  • Are you struggling with concerns about your IEP in a remote service environment? Explore accommodations and modifications with the multi-talented Melissa Nolan, education psychologist and policy expert. Stay tuned for details on this summer video conference.
  • Our playdate series for the kiddos usually occurs during the school year but we would like to make a Covid-19 exception and provide an activity during the summer. We’re hoping this can be IRL rather than online. Look for specifics on our website as guidelines shift in the next month.
  • Check out our Coronavirus resource page for additional information to help ride out the storm.

We’d like to take a moment to thank two of our outgoing Board members who have reached the end of their terms: Bo Kim and Cathy Kauder. Their service over the years has been effective and tireless and they will be missed! We are grateful for all of our generous Board members who give their time and energy to support families with learning differences. SEED couldn’t exist without this volunteer spirit.

Not all heroes wear capes. At the moment, it’s more like sweatpants. You are a resourceful, resilient and tenacious community and this too shall pass. In the midst of the madness, don’t forget self-care. Tap into your support networks and look out for each other. We are honored and privileged to continue looking out for you. Help us target our services during these isolating times: Where do you need the most support? What would you like to see? Which resources are you using and how have they helped? We invite you to reach out with questions or suggestions by emailing us at

Here’s hoping we can all learn to appreciate the simple things in life. 

Wishing you health and creativity,

Shannon & Ember

Presidents’ Message – December 2019

Hello SEED Friends!

The holidays are upon us! It’s been a busy start to our school year. SEED’s Parent Education series on Dyslexia and the IEP process were impactful and it was terrific seeing so many of you at our annual family picnic. Our new High School group is up and running – an informative conservatorship presentation and a fun teen outing were both on offer. And the monthly Wine and Cheese Nights have proven to be a great way to bring high school parents together. We have loved seeing you at our happy hours, breakfasts and playdates. We have a lot to be thankful for! 

One of SEEDs’ goals is to promote a culture of empathy and compassion for diverse abilities, so we were thrilled to collaborate with the Springhill PFC again this year during Ability Awareness Week. SEED provided in-class programming, including experiences, discussions and readings to give all students insight into what it’s like to live with special needs. The books from the program would make excellent holiday gifts. Here are some of our favorite titles that foster acceptance, understanding and self-esteem:

  • We’re All Wonders by R.J. Palacio
  • It’s Called Dyslexia by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos
  • Nathan’s Autism Spectrum Superpowers by Lori Leigh Yarborough
  • My Friend Isabelle by Eliza Wouloson
  • Susan Laughs by Jeanne Willis

Our heartfelt appreciation goes to all who supported us on Giving Tuesday. We are proud to be part of such a caring and kind community that comes together for our kiddos with learning differences and their families. If you didn’t have the chance to give yet, it’s not too late. We are deeply grateful for your generosity. Make your tax-deductible contribution here.

We also want to give a shout-out to the Millar and Balaban families (and to our volunteer chefs) for supplying our community with some well-deserved adult decompression time at the SEED holiday party. The food was great and the company even better. Thanks to all those who came out to celebrate with us!

If you missed the holiday party, not to worry. We have one more opportunity to get together before school’s out. Join us for SEED’s monthly breakfast this Friday, Dec. 13th at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church.

Speaking of parties, mark your calendars for our SEED Mardi Gras Party on Friday, Feb. 28th at Lafayette Veterans Memorial Center! Tickets go on sale Tuesday, Jan. 7th, with $50 early-bird pricing until Jan 28th ($60 after). Be sure to check our Mardi Gras Party page for updates and to purchase tickets. Laissez les bons temps rouler! 

We are currently seeking sponsors and donations (trips, tix, vino) to help make this bash fabulous. Contact us if you would like to donate an item, sponsor the event or just help out!

Childcare will be available that night at the Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church. To reserve a spot for respite, e-mail:

Whether you go all out or choose quieter celebrations, the holidays are a special time. Decorations, travel, gift-giving, the break from school structure, the annual family photo op and all the other hoopla can be wonderful. It can also feel more frenetic than festive and may not be straightforward for our children. We struggle to maintain routines, stay flexible, work breaks into the schedule, and explain our kids to Uncle Joe. I hope we can let go of perfect and embrace the crazy: tears, fears, laughter and all. Tend to your friendships and spoil your loved ones with your time. 

From all of us at SEED, here’s wishing you and your family resilience, strength and a stress-free holiday season.


Ember Bailey & Shannon Trifiletti, 2019-20 SEED Co-Presidents


Visit our website at

We are a Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Tax ID 26-3072860

Presidents’ Message – August 2019

Happy Back-to-School Month SEED Families!

Here’s hoping you made the most of our short summer break this year and have had a smooth transition back to the classroom routine. We have some exciting updates and fun happenings on tap for the coming year!

Welcome New Board Members

We are thrilled to welcome two new Board members to our team this year. Say hello and thank them for their dedication next time you see them around town. SEED is a parent-run organization and wouldn’t exist without the support of our volunteers. A big THANK YOU to all our Board members for their time and talents!

  • Celeste Balaban will bring her passion and energy to our birthday party playdates – join her at the All-Access Playground at Moraga Commons on Sat., Sept. 21 at 2pm.
  • Greg Millar will use his organizational savvy to make our annual Fundraiser party better than ever. Be sure to save the date for our Mardi Gras-themed party on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Education & Leadership

SEED provides knowledge about specific disabilities, navigating systems and current best practices for care and inclusion to families, educators and the community. Our instructional efforts are focused on helping families to work collaboratively and have their voices heard. Check the website for event details.

  • Sep 24: IEP 101 – Educational workshop to help parents understand the often-confusing Individual Education Plan process. Childcare will be available.
  • Oct 27: Sibling Panel – A discussion about the sometimes wonderful and sometimes challenging dynamics and impacts unique to Special Needs families, from the perspective of typical siblings. Learn ways to support these critical lifelong relationships. Details coming soon!
  • Oct. 16: Dyslexia and Comorbidity – What is Dyslexia?  How is it diagnosed?  Why do students with dyslexia often have ADHD, Anxiety, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, etc.? Speakers:  James Bylund, Psy.D., ABSNP and Christine Oates, Psy.D., ABSNP. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Location details to come.
  • Mar 5: Dyslexia Round Table – A panel of experts will address learning issues and compare the different intervention methodologies used. Location TBD.
  • Spring 2020: Learning Disability Simulation – Back by popular demand! Understand and experience firsthand how frustrating it is when your hand won’t write what your brain is telling it to. Or how hard it is to complete a simple task when you have trouble focusing. An interactive and eye-opening clinic. Stay tuned for details!

Outreach & Support

We have a robust line-up of entertaining social events this year. Join us to build relationships, share tips and resources or just to blow off some steam! #selfcare

  • Sept. 5: Back to School Happy Hour – Quarry House at Wilder, Orinda
  • Sept. 13: Monthly Breakfast Friday mornings at 9 a.m. – bagels, coffee & conversation
  • Sept. 21: Saturday afternoon playdate at the Moraga Commons All-Access Playground during nice weather, indoors during rainy season
  • Oct. 20: Fall Family Picnic at Sienna Ranch
  • Dec 6: Holiday Party
  • Feb 28: Mardi Gras Fundraiser 

We will continue to partner with families, educators and professionals to share the knowledge and support that lead to informed choices. Our intent as always is to create a community of kindness and inclusivity where our children can flourish.

Looking forward to another fantastic year together!


Ember Bailey & Shannon Trifiletti


Visit our website at

We are a Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Tax ID 26-3072860

President’s Message – March 2019

Happy Spring wonderful SEED community!

I hope you’ve all survived the long wet winter, and possibly popped in to one of our many fun and educational events over the past few months! One of the highlights for me was our first-ever book club where we not only got to read a wonderful book, A Regular Guy, Growing Up With Autism, about a local Lafayette family; but we were fortunate enough to have the author, Laura Shumaker, present and share some of her stories with us!

Over the past few months we’ve had some great parent education presentations, such as Surviving Homework, and Navigating the World of Dyslexia. We’re also thrilled to be including more and more of the high school community, with presentations like the very well-attended How to Best Prepare Your Student with Disabilities for College.

Seed has a few monthly events that are really more fun and social that anything (which is my kind of event)! such as our popular Monthly Breakfasts (the next one will be April 19that 9am); or our High School parents’ drinks at Metro (the next one will be April 11that 7pm). You might have even seen the fabulous article in Lamorinda Weekly about another of our regular events, our Spectacular Special Needs Parties (the next one will be April 20that 2pm). We hope you can show up and have some fun with us at any of these events!

While the end of the school year seems to be close at hand, Seed still has some wonderful events coming up. Our annual fundraiser, The SEED Speakeasy will be May 18th from 5:30-9:30pm. This is the biggest event of the year for SEED, and I know it will be an amazing time! Dinner, drinks, poker tables and a silent auction…all for a good cause, what more can you ask for?!? I hope to see you and your friends and family there decked out in your finest speakeasy attire!

SEED strives to meet the needs of all our unique kiddos in this community, so we will be holding a parent forum on April 15th at 7:30 p.m. We’re hoping to gather feedback from our community on areas of need and to update folks on any big picture work SEED has been contributing to. Please join us for snacks, drinks, and to share your thoughts!

For our older kids, we will have a first of its kind, Welcome to Acalanes High School District meeting on April 24thfrom 6:30-8:30. We are incredibly grateful to the Acalanes School District for collaborating with SEED to bring in a panel of staff and parents from each of the high schools, to share information on what to expect when you enter the Acalanes High School District.

Lastly, in case you can’t remember all the aforementioned dates, times and details, don’t fret! You can visit our gorgeous, new and improved website any time to find all this information and more!


Robyn Dobruck, SEED Co-President