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Charity Leader Improves Lives of Others

Ceci Maher grew up in Stamford, lives in Wilton and works in Darien, but her travels have taken her beyond Fairfield County's borders—she has visited Korea, Egypt, Ireland and China. Her career path has changed, but the lessons she has taken from her travels remain the same.

"We all care about our children, we all love our spouses, we care about our parents," Maher said. "I really do believe that we are all connected, and we have to work together to help each other."

Maher is the executive director of Person-to-Person, a not-for-profit organization based in Darien that provides aid to families in lower Fairfield County through a food pantry, clothing center, scholarships, campership programs and financial assistance. More than 10 percent of its financial aid went to Darien families last year. Maher lives by the Person-to-Person motto, which she said is "to greet everyone who comes to us with dignity and respect and to treat them the way we'd want to be treated."

Since earning a bachelor's degree in fashion marketing, Maher has traveled Asia working as a buyer for Lord & Taylor, raised three children and volunteered for charities. She worked for three years to earn her master's degree in social work from Columbia University; often studying after her kids had gone to bed.

Now, Maher travels because she loves to learn. "It's fun to be part of the world," she said. She attended the first US-China Joint Conference on Social Work in Beijing in 2006 and often visits friends and relatives abroad. Travel, she said, "has opened my eyes to the value of the world."

No matter where Maher travels, she loves to come back to her work. "We really make a difference everyday in people's lives," she said. "I really think it's a great job."

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