The Birds & Bees Connection has developed a unique model of parent-child courses that celebrate the transition between childhood and adolescence. Our courses create a safe, engaging environment where parents and children come together to openly discuss the physical and emotional changes leading toward, and including, adolescence.
At the Birds & Bees Connection, we help to create a solid foundation whereby parents feel empowered talking with their children, and children gain confidence that leads to an increase of self-esteem and a lasting positive body image.
By educating both parents and children in an engaging, comfortable manner, our goal is to provide accurate information that fosters an open channel of communication about topics that might otherwise be difficult to broach. Ultimately our goal for children is that this experience will translate into good decision-making throughout adolescence.
Leslie Dixon, Founder and Executive Director of the Birds & Bees Connection, has taught hundreds of courses and shared her unique, comprehensive parent-child programs with tens of thousands of couples throughout Orange and Los Angeles Counties. She has trained a team of certified educators who teach her courses in Southern California and throughout the United States.
Ms. Dixon’s seminars and classes meet the need for connection and communication between parents and children, especially in times of profound transition such as adolescence. Having spent 25 years as a school nurse teaching Family Life, Health Science and Sex Ed., she continually saw the effects of parent-child disconnection. She founded the Birds & Bees Connection in 2002 to bridge that gap and offer tools, information and connections, empowering parents to be a positive and engaged presence in their children’s lives.
Her curricula are used by non-profit organizations, religious organizations, schools and various youth and athletic organizations, as well as by educators across the United States. Ms. Dixon has embraced the opportunities digital technologies afford, extending her message of education and empowerment through a mobile app for mothers and daughters, which has been accessed around the world and is available on iTunes (Birds & Bees Connection: Girls Part I). Each of her classes is available online as a live, interactive experience or via archived recordings. She is actively authoring and releasing eBooks that complement her classes and she makes many of her presentations available for download.
Ms. Dixon is passionate about creating safe and nurturing spaces where families come together to connect and communicate. Courses empower parents and children through focused time together fostering deep, healthy relationships, which thereby reduce the likelihood of engaging in high-risk behaviors.
Hiromi Hiraoka, General Manager/Educator
Hiromi graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a BA in Sociology. She has over eight years experience working in education as well as more than five years experience working specifically in the areas of women’s reproductive and sexual health. Hiromi lives in Tustin with her family and has been with the Birds & Bees Connection since May 2014. She most enjoys watching the girls in her classes transform and mature in their confidence and comfort level as they progress through classes.
Leona Laurie, Marketing Director
Leona was the Birds & Bees Connection’s first team member, there at the beginning in the role of Public Relations Coordinator. After working with Leslie to launch the agency, she went on to establish herself in marketing, specializing in the strategic use of social media and blogs. Her career path was deeply influenced by Leslie paying for her to learn HTML in 2001 so that she could build the Birds & Bees Connection’s first website, and she is happy to be on the team again today. She holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Oregon in Communication and Society.
Christina Brantuk, Educator
Christina has a heart for equipping and helping families thrive. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Whitworth University in 2009 and her Master’s Degree in Family Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary in 2012. She works as the Family Ministries Assistant at Irvine Presbyterian Church where she does administrative work for Student and Children’s Ministries as well as teaches adult classes on the topics of marriage, parenting and other family related subjects. She lives in Orange, CA, with her husband and young daughter, and they make regular family trips to Disneyland. Her favorite part about being an educator for the Birds & Bees Connection is seeing the parent-child relationship grow stronger as they embark on this new adolescent life stage.
Sharyn received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan and her Bachelor’s Degree in Writing and Sociology from Ithaca College. For the past 22 years she has worked as a social worker and as a director in a range of public/private organizations serving the specialized learning needs of young children, those with mental health issues or families in crisis. Sharyn lives in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, with her husband and twins. She is a Girl Scout Troop Leader, a busy sports mom, and a very active volunteer at her children’s school.
Andrea Lombardi, Educator
Andrea earned her BA in English with an emphasis in English Education in 2009 from Iowa State University. She started her teaching career in Yuma, Arizona and moved to Phoenix two years later to get her Master’s Degree in Education Leadership from ASU. She has been a teacher for seven years and is so excited to bring her passion for learning and education to the Birds & Bees team. She feels that one of the best models for education is to engage the parents in the curriculum alongside of their sons/daughters, and this is precisely what the Birds & Bees Connection model does. Andrea lives in Tempe with her husband Branden and stepdaughter Sophia.
Lynn T. Oravetz, MA, MFT, Educator
Lynn graduated from San Diego State University with a BS in Health Science and from National University, Irvine, with an MA in Counseling Psychology. She has practiced as a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist since 1997 and currently practices in Newport Beach. Lynn has a special interest in adolescent health and wellness. Her areas of specialization include: family therapy, conflict resolution and girls’ and women’s issues.
Susan attended CSULB’s Nursing Program. She has worked as a NICU RN at CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital since 1999. She currently has several roles including, a NICU RN, Lead Lactation Consultant and the Discharge Coordinator. She lives in Rancho Santa Margarita with her husband and twins. She is a PTA member, Sunday school teacher and the secretary for the Orange County Breastfeeding Coalition. She has been an educator for Birds & Bees Connection since 2014. Her favorite part of being a nurse is educating families.
Kim Pharmer, Educator
Kim earned her teaching certificate in Elementary Education from Western Michigan University in 1998. She began her professional career teaching first grade. After several years of classroom teaching she pursued her passion for teaching Language Arts by earning her Master’s Degree in Language Arts and Reading from Oakland University. From there, she began a nine year career as an elementary Literacy Coach where she coached students and staffs on the best practices of teaching Language Arts within the classroom. Kim lives in Rochester Hills, Michigan, with her husband, Justin, and three children. She is an active volunteer at her children’s school, volunteers with several local charity organizations, is active in her son’s cub scout pack and balances a busy kids’ sports schedule. Kim is excited to join the Birds & Bees Connection team to combine her knack for teaching children and adults with the importance of the courses’ content.
Brittany received her BA in Psychology from University of Redlands and her MA in Clinical Psychology from Azusa Pacific University. She is currently working towards her PhD in Clinical Psychology at Walden University. Brittany has had experience working with adolescents and children with special needs in educational and clinical settings. She was previously certified as a facilitator and facilitator trainer for the Street SMART curriculum for sexual health and decision making for teens in Pennsylvania where she previously resided. Brittany feels very strongly about educating our youth regarding sexual health and their bodies as they develop and is excited to be working with Birds & Bees Connection. Currently Brittany lives in Corona with her two dogs.
Kat is a true California native. Born in Newport Beach, she attended Newport Elementary (on the beach!), Ensign Junior High and Newport Harbor High School. She then decided to experience East Coast big-city life by majoring in Literature at New York University. Eventually she returned to the West Coast, where she raised her three kids. Kat has been a Girl Scout Leader, camp counsellor and homeschooling parent. She is passionate about creating space for parents and kids to come together to learn and talk about puberty, reproductive biology and relationships. She has been teaching classes to parents and pre-teens for over 10 years. Kat is also a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher and teaches for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society as well as several studios throughout Orange County. Kat enjoys reading, especially science and science fiction, camping, and going to the beach with her three kids and four dogs.