Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Giving Back Dee Robertson-Lee; Recovery from Aneurysm Inspires Can-Do Spirit

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Giving Back Dee Robertson-Lee; Recovery from Aneurysm Inspires Can-Do Spirit

Article excerpt

Byline: Nancy Winckler-Zuniga

When people volunteer, they can change lives - including their own. Each week in Reason, we will highlight a volunteer's story of giving back and how that selfless act was a true revelation. The volunteer project is a collaboration among the Times-Union, the University of North Florida, the United Way of Northeast Florida and HandsOn Jacksonville.

Splatters of paint on a poster board, a thank-you card and the Healthy Osprey Agent of Change signage fill Dee Robertson-Lee's office in the library at the University of North Florida, reminding her of the impact she has on the lives of others. Although always connected with children, giving back over the last few years has come to take on a special meaning.

Eight years ago, Robertson-Lee wasn't sure she would still be here at all.

After suffering a brain aneurysm in November 2008, Robertson-Lee spent the next year undergoing five surgeries that included the removal of part of her brain. She lost many of her faculties, including her ability to speak and walk.

"The doctors said it was a bona fide miracle," Robertson-Lee said about her survival and eventual return to work. "That's why I know I have to give back."

Almost four years ago, an email from United Way of Northeast Florida requesting ReadingPals caught her eye, and she decided that it would be a perfect fit. She saw it as a chance to use her storytelling skills to connect with young children. Since then, she has worked with two pairs of students at Episcopal Children's Services Exchange South site every year - eating up the love and fun she gets to have with them.

"As soon as he saw me, he ran to the door and hugged me," Robertson-Lee said. "After just starting up, the children are already so connected. They so need someone to listen to them, and then I lead them back to the lesson."

"Sometimes they're just so funny," she added. "One child had climbed on my back and was touching my arm and asked me if I was melting!"

Reading with children isn't a new thing to Robertson-Lee. She has loved acting out stories with her grandchildren, wild costumes included, and is known as the "Library Lady" to the children from UNF's Child Development Research Center who visit once or twice a semester. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.