Apparently when it comes to kids, Lyn Schaffer is a total pushover. With all Lyn does for children, (and some anonymously) it makes perfect sense to learn that Lyn was a Pediatric Nurse in her hometown of Toronto, Canada. Lyn was destined to work with children and must have sensed that early on, since she told everyone when she was a young girl that she was going to be a Pediatric Nurse. And, since the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, Lyn’s mom, Pauline was also a Pediatric Nurse for 25 years.
When it comes to Lyn and Michael’s two girls, they have so much to be proud of. After all, as the Schaffer’s’ see it, what’s greater than raising two beautiful, caring human beings. Sara, their oldest, who is graduating from DU this year with honors in Micro-Biology, plans on joining the Peace Corps right after graduation. Sara shares her parent’s passion for children and has been volunteering at the Kempe Center for over 4 years.
Claire, who is a freshman at New York University, has also picked up their commitment to giving back by tutoring children at a homeless shelter. When Claire noticed that the children had no school supplies, she wrote a proposal to get her high school to provide the money for the supplies, and she got it approved.
Lyn has tirelessly devoted herself to several children’s causes such as the Kempe Foundation for Children, an organization that recognizes child abuse and actively does something about it, and Little Hearts, which assists pediatric cardiac patients and their needy families with financial support for food, lodging and other necessities.
Lyn and her friends – who all live in the Lowry neighborhood - started a group called the “Fairy Godmothers.” Each month, they make anonymous donations, and the money goes directly to buy things for the preschoolers (ages 3-6) at the Kempe Center. Lynette Disheroon, the director, purchases needed items such as clothing for the children and takes the children on field trips to give them experiences they would otherwise never have.
Lyn says these kids are from abused homes and some are in foster care or living with other relatives. Lyn noticed a beautiful little girl, who was from an abused home and who went to live with her grandmother. She only had 2 outfits to wear, so Lyn went out and personally bought her 6 new outfits. Lyn says, “I buy for these kids like they were my own children. It’s all anonymous, so they won’t even know who gave it to them. The joy is you know inside yourself that you have done something good.”
With all the charitable involvement Lyn has pledged herself to, she would always make sure she was there when her children arrived home from school. Lyn’s ability to keep balance in her life appears to be one of her best traits. It’s clear that Lyn would never turn her back on helping abused children in our community. Lyn says, “It tears my heart out to see children being abused. I can’t believe people can do these awful things to their children. Something has to be done for these children; they are not “throwaway” kids. I try to help in any way I can.”
Being around Lyn, you can sense what a kind and lovely person she is. Lyn is delightful - and oh so gracious. Anyone who has worked with Lyn knows what a valuable asset she is to the Denver charitable community because she will put in the time and the effort. It’s safe to say, Lyn stays very true to her own heart – as well as to the all the “Little Hearts.”
What social or charitable event is your favorite? Little Hearts, Kempe Children’s Foundation, Donor Alliance.
What fundraising activities are you involved in at this time? Children’s Little Hearts, Children’s Diabetes, Kempe Gala, Fun Festiva, American Heart Association Red Dress Lunch, Donor Dash.
Who is your hero, and why? Lynnette Disheroon of the Kempe Center; she gives a voice to children.
Who is your mentor? My grandfather. He was a captain in the Toronto Fire Department. He was the most fair and non-judgmental person – to everyone.
What is a favorite childhood memory? Going to get new holiday outfits. We made a real outing of it.
When you were a little girl, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up? A Pediatric Nurse.
What do you most value in your friends? Honesty.
What in your opinion is “the right thing to do?” Anonymous giving.
What makes you laugh? Kids smiling and giggling.
What makes you cry? A child that doesn’t have a sparkle in their eye.
Tell me about the “Fern Primack Heart Cares Award?” Fern was a very caring and generous woman who volunteered her time to Children’s Hospital. This award was created in her memory after she passed away in 2003. Fern had a big heart and went above and beyond with her generous donations; and she gave anonymously - except for Little Hearts because she believed we needed to generate more awareness of this organization, so she was happy to lend her name to it. My husband, Michael, was the first annual recipient of this award. Michael has all the values that Fern respected and trusted.
What is your greatest indulgence? Traveling outside of the U.S.
What do you consider your proudest achievement? My daughters Sara & Claire. They are honest, respectful young ladies who have a strong sense of self and community.
What is some “good advice” you have offered your daughters? “No one is perfect. When you make mistakes, it’s important that you learn from them – it makes you a better person.” And “Give respect to get respect.”
Having been there, what advice can you offer parents of teens today? You can’t always be your child’s friend, so be their parent.
What is your advice for a happy marriage? Be a friend first.
Who is the real Lyn Schaffer? Mother, Wife, Friend.
What is your pet peeve? People who are rude to service staff.
What are your hobbies or other interests? Reading.
What is your personal motto – or favorite quote? “Save One, Save the World.”
What is the best advice your Mom/Dad ever gave you? “Trust in Yourself.”
What is your current state of mind? Changes need to take place in our community, but I’m very positive. We’ll take things one-step at a time.
Is there somewhere other than Denver you would like to live? Maybe someday? Maybe a second home in Toronto.
What is something you would still like to learn to do? Learn the Spanish language.
What might your epitaph read, or what would you like to be remembered for? “She followed her heart.”