How two exemplary citizens help other seniors and also those with special needs.
Lizabeth Doty’s “Act Two”
Lizabeth Doty describes her philosophy as simple. “If I have ability, I feel obligated to share it with others,” says the 65-year-old Ridgefielder.
As senior activities coordinator for the town of Wilton, she has turned the Wilton Senior Center into a thriving hub that has seen sharply increased attendance. For example, from 2008 to 2014, participating seniors at the Senior Center jumped by almost 50 percent, from 4,811 to 8,737. Doty has also presided over an expansion and facelift for the facility at the Comstock Community Center, in which it has quadrupled in size.
Doty is also an instructor in computer skills and knitting at the Ridgefield Continuing Education Department. Her journey to Ridgefield was not an easy one. A native of New Haven, she joined the religious order of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart at 18. Her career as an educator was bookended by two tenures at Our Lady of Pompeii Grammar School in Lower Manhattan. In 1971, during her first year as a teacher, Doty watched the exciting spectacle of the World Trade Towers being built, just four blocks away. She returned when school started in September 2001.
On that fateful day, a parent told her that a plane had hit one of the towers. They went up to the roof of the school and watched the horrific fireballs and torrents of smoke engulfing the first tower, while another plane suddenly struck the second tower. “It was the most absolutely horrible and unbelievable sight,” Doty says.
The following year Doty left the convent and moved to Ridgefield, where her family lives. She calls this “Act Two” of her life and says she has no plans of retiring anytime soon.
Making Change: Isobel Broadhurst
When Isobel Broadhurst’s son Tony was born with Down syndrome in 1954, she founded several recreational programs for those with special needs, starting with The Faith Express in 1971. “We have discussions, play games, and do puzzles,” she says. Drawing from this momentum, Broadhurst also initiated two annual events for those with special needs, A Day in the Sun, and An Evening With the Stars. Because of her many contributions to her community, Broadhurst was named Fairfielder of the Year in 2007.