Focus on Women – Dottie Segur, Executive Director, Sylvania Area Family Services

by Linda Szyskowski

Born and raised in Northern Michigan, Dottie Segur graduated from Houghton Lake High School. She moved here in the early 2000s with her new husband who was from this area and became a stay-at-home mom for their son and daughter.
As her children grew, Dottie looked into doing volunteer work. She became interested in Sylvania Area Family Services through her mother-in-law and started volunteering there in 2002. Soon after, she was offered a payed position in 2003 as an Administrative Assistant and Social Service Coordinator.
When the director unexpectedly passed away in 2007 Dottie took on more responsibilities, gradually doing a little bit of everything. Then at the end of 2017, Dottie took on the role of Executive Director. “I was very honored when the board approached me to take on the position, and very touched by all the community support given to myself and the agency during the transition,” remembered Dottie.
Since then, under Dottie’s leadership, SAFS has continued to grow with programs that serve Sylvania’s needy, especially the disabled, seniors, children, teens, and families. Programs include: the Food Pantry, which distributes food to qualified families each week; Personal Care, which distributes a three months’ supply of personal care products the first Tuesday of each month; Senior Commodities, distributed the first Monday of each month; a Youth Diversion Program for 13 to 18-year-old first offenders in conjunction with the Sophia Center; Holiday Gift baskets; a nine-week children’s Summer Camp Program; and emergency food that is always available.
Three annual fundraisers help cover SAFS costs: The Chocolate & Wine Affair is in March, Ray of Hope Awards in October honoring those who have made a significant impact to Sylvania in selected areas, and the Giving Campaign which kicks off later in the fall. Next year, SAFS is planning a new fundraising gala May 9 at Sylvania Country Club based on a Titanic theme. There are also individual and group donations of money, food, personal care products and many hours of volunteer time that are essential to continuing the organization’s mission.
“We’ve been serving Sylvania for 52 years, but one of our biggest challenges, besides funding, is still community awareness,” stated Dottie. “We all have to remember that unforeseen life events can cause hardships, like an accident or job loss, so we’re always working to spread the word to those who may need our services and to those who can contribute in some way to help those less fortunate. We recently started ‘Better Together,’ a coalition of NW Ohio non-profits that has been a great help to us. And Mary Helen Darah of Sylvania Advantage now serves as our community outreach coordinator. Currently we serve about 7,000 Sylvania residents each year.”
Segur’s favorite quote is, “A simple act of caring creates an endless ripple. . . that comes back to you.” Dottie feels that ripple every day when she walks through the doors at Sylvania Area Family Services. “I’ve learned so much here,” she said. “I love to come to work every day because the work is so meaningful. This is a big part of my life!”
No wonder Dottie was nominated in 2018 for a local Jefferson Award which recognizes exceptional public service and volunteerism in communities.
Sylvania Advantage and Creative Oxygen are proud to honor SAFS’s Dottie Segur — a caring leader in the Sylvania community for over 17 years. Thank you, Dottie!

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