I came to CT at the age of 16 with my 6-month old son seeking a better life for us. My first job in CT was doing domestic work. God gave me "favor" with a couple attorneys, becoming close friends with them. I began cleaning their offices & one job led to another & they wanted to help me & I soon found other domestic work in other attorneys' homes.
Soon I got my Drivers License and continued my education at night at Montville HS. A representative from the WINS program, a CT State program that assisted people in finding & transporting people to and from jobs, employed me to help other people & I began driving them to and from jobs.
As a young wife & mother, my home became a refuge for a couple of runaway girls, who found safety in my home; this is why I soon became a CT foster mother, while in my 20s. I have been a foster mother to 187 children over the years, beside my own 6 children & also my deceased sister's 5 children.
In my 30's, I began working as a Deputy Sheriff with the New London Sheriff Dept.,having graduated from the Police Academy. I soon decided I wanted and opened up a Boutique on Boswell Ave in Norwich, selling beauty products, and different, inexpensive toys for children. People felt free to visit my store where I always listened to their stories and problems; many times they said they had nothing for their children for Christmas. As a result, God gave me a vision to start Kids Christmas-because I truly felt "everyday should be Christmas for children"!
Originally, I thought I would do Kids Christmas just for a couple years; who would have thought that 30 years would go by so fast! 😊 My daughters stood by me & supported me & Kids Christmas so much, that I recently realized, it was time to pass the baton, with my daughter Brenda Stone as the new Executive Director. I knew she would run with it and that they would continue my mission of Love, Generosity & Care
As Kids Christmas moves forward under new leadership, my prayer is that the people that I have helped, will continue moving forward, making progress and learn to give back and help those who are now in need, because I never had that help as a young mother-it was not available when I was raising my children. I have enjoyed Kids Christmas; I get great satisfaction being recognized in the community as "Liz", "Grandma Liz", "The toy lady"...it brings my heart such joy! God Bless all of you!