Monday, November 10, 2008

Tribute to Avima Lombard

When I learned that Avima Lombard, the founder of HIPPY recently died, and I wrote the following tribute to try and capture the impact she had on my life. My sincere condolences to her family, we will always remember her.

Years ago, when I learned that the name Avima means “my father” (avi) and “mother” (ma) in Hebrew, I had to smile. I imagined Avima’s parents bestowing this huge name on a tiny baby, knowing she was destined for greatness. She has been the mother and father of HIPPY, and created an extended international family who will carry on her social and educational heritage for generations to come. Indeed, she has impacted, inspire and energized so many people, with her vision, strength of will and character. With Avima, it wasn’t a matter of ego, but of how certain she was of her vision of a better future for parents and young children. She could go from giant to gentle in a minute—talking to a parent, child or shy home visitor. Avima was someone who took the education and future of the children of the world so seriously, without ever taking her own role too seriously. She was the same person always, whether speaking with the president of the university or the waitress at a cafĂ©. I will never forget her, I will always be inspired by her, and will always be thankful for the opportunity she has given me to impact the lives of so many.