Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in Ridgefield?
I grew up in Staten Island NY and have lived in Washington DC, New Rochelle, NY and Danbury CT. When we lived in Danbury, my family always loved to come to Ridgefield for the library programs and seasonal community festivals. We moved to Ridgefield five years ago.
How many children do you have? What are their names and ages?
My husband Mitch and I have our one and only Mason, who will turn 9 soon and is a third grader at Farmingville Elementary School. We also have a cockapoo puppy named Bailey.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I finished three years of law school but never sat for the bar. As a third year law student, I was working at a non-profit organization, and became hooked on working with key stakeholders in the community to help people in need. Over the last 25 years, I have worked for nonprofits in education, health care, social services, and the environment in fundraising and community relations. My legal training helps me with government grants and contracts, and I have never regretted my decision not to practice law!
Tell us about your work with Family & Children’s Aid?
I work on securing grants and funding for our programs from corporations and foundations. Our development office also holds fundraising events (such as our annual Kids Cup golf event), free community events (such as our MLB baseball clinics) and works with corporate and community groups as they hold seasonal drives for us. The holiday season is very busy as we have many generous partners, like Ridgefield Moms, who donate gifts and other items (such as coats) for our kids.
Who can benefit from your organization? What do you hope individuals gain from their time with Family & Children’s Aid?
Family & Children’s Aid provides behavioral health care to children and teens throughout the area. Children are referred to us by various sources in the community when there are concerns at home and/or school. FCA offers a unique approach to helping kids heal and thrive. We incorporate play, optimism and creativity into the time that kids spend with our clinical team. Even when kids have hard circumstances in their lives, our team strives to give children and families the tools they need to have a better future.
What’s been the best piece of advice you’ve received from another mother?
Two things – don’t sweat the small stuff, and work on being the “mom” version of your best self. I became a mom at almost 42 years old and many of my friends and family members already had kids. There wasn’t much I had not already heard about kids’ ailments and issues – some are truly worrisome and some are really small stuff. I try not to worry about perfection, and rather I just try to be the mom version of myself – like reading and baking with my son, and exposing him to helping others in the community.
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
Ridgefield has been amazing for me both professionally and personally. There is so much community support, whether it is for local organizations or for a community member with an illness or other emergency. The Boys and Girls Club has been an affordable, safe place for my son – so great for me and other working parents. Whether we are going out on date night to the Ridgefield Playhouse or taking the whole family to the Holiday Stroll, Ridgefield has so much to offer.