20 years ago today I lost my amazing mother. My mother meant the world to me, she was truly an Angel that had a heart of gold. A few years ago I posted this story on how the TLC became what it is today. In memory of my mother I would like to share it with you again, it’s because of her that hundreds of children are cared for every year by the TLC Foundation, she was the best teacher in the entire world!!!
A lot of people ask me how the TLC Foundation started and why.
It was my mother’s teachings as a young boy that inspired me to help others. There are many examples that I can give but there is one that made me realize how wonderful a person my mother really was…a true angel.
We grew up in a world of poverty, at many times needing the assistance of organizations to just put food on the table. When I was 8 or 9 years old my mother asked me to take a walk with her to visit an elderly lady that lived a few blocks from our house. When we arrived my mother handed the lady a gift and when the lady opened it she was very thankful, tears ran down her face . I was very upset with my mother for giving this lady this gift because I had realized that the gift she gave away was a birthday present that she received a few weeks earlier from a family friend. I could not understand why she would give things away when we were also the ones in need. I questioned her on this and she looked at me with a smile on her face and said don’t worry about why I gave my present away I did what I had to do. It did not take me long to figure that my mom was happy when she could help others and just because you don’t have the resources there are other ways to give. She gave her birthday present to help someone and to her that was more important than keeping the gift.
When I was in my teens I began following in my mother’s footsteps, I had no money to help others but I had the passion and with that I began to fundraise and help kids in need at Christmas. In my first year, I raised a few hundred dollars and collected a few toys and sponsored 3 families at Christmas. Today we don’t just help kids at Christmas but all year long.
For many years, TLC operated under the radar. Every time I delivered gifts at the hospital or to homes in London on Christmas Eve, people would ask for my name but I refused to give it to them, I felt that it was important for me to not be known, I just wanted to help kids without the thank yous. That all changed the day my mother passed away.
On December 9, 1998 my mother passed away suddenly without any warning at the young age of 69. I was the last family member to see her alive. That afternoon I went and paid her a visit, I remember her waving goodbye to me, two hours later she was gone. By this time, the charity had grown to the point where we needed to raise thousands of dollars to be able to meet the demand. That year I had a vey difficult time trying to deal with the loss of my mother, fundraise and organize the Christmas Eve deliveries (which at that point I did not want to do)I was a lost soul for a period of time, I got to the point where I was going to throw in the towel and end the charity . A week before Christmas I was sitting alone feeling sorry for myself when all of a sudden I remembered what my mother once told me and that was help others no matter how difficult it sometimes can be. That year I did all I could to raise the funds I needed in a short period of time so that I could continued the Christmas Eve deliveries. That was one of many years that I had to use my own funds to cover some of the cost as I was not able to reach my fundraising goals. It was at that point that I also decided to bring the charity to a new level, I wanted to keep my Mothers spirit alive. I had the charity registered so that I could raise more funds and help more children and named it after my mother Teresina Larizza Charities Foundation, TLC Foundation. The rest you could say is history.
The charity would not exist without the support of hundreds and hundreds of people who give up their time, funds and professional services to help me help kids. Four years ago Santa’s House in Victoria Park became a reality and that has helped us raise more funds for the kids. We want Santa’s House to be a tradition in London for many years to come, hopefully long after I’m gone.
Teresina Larizza Charities Foundation, in loving memory of a wonderful caring person, has brightened the lives of thousands and thousands of kids over the years.
Please Share this with all of you friends. It would be heartwarming if thousands of people could see the person that inspired me to help thousands of children, a true angel, my Mother Teresina Larizza.
Teresina Larizza Charities Foundation