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What's Up Magazine

Towne Salute: Liz Spears

Dec 05, 2018 12:00AM ● By Brian Saucedo

By Cate Reynolds

Like any loving parent, Liz Spears, a mother of four, wanted to do what was best for her child. Spears’ youngest daughter has both physical and mental disabilities. As their daughter approached adulthood, Spears and her husband, Garry, began seeking out resources to assist their daughter. That’s when they found Langton Green.

The Annapolis-based Langton Green is a residential community that supports adults with intellectual disabilities. The non-profit organization offers programs and services that help each person live as independently as possible, and provide work and learning opportunities to people with varying needs and abilities.

“We went to Langton Green and it was a perfect fit,” Spears says. “They really take good care of some of the most vulnerable in our society, and give them choices.”

Spears’ daughter, Katie, now 40 years old, has lived at Langton Green since she was 29. Despite her and her husband’s trust in Langton Green, making this decision fortheir daughter wasn’t easy. Spears, a retired math teacher, knew she wanted to be as involved as possible.

“It’s very difficult letting your child go,” Spears says. “You always think you can take care of them, and it doesn’t always work out that way. So, of course, I wanted to be totally involved.” 

Spears began volunteering with Langton Green’s standing committee, where she reviewed reports to ensure everything was running according to state regulations. Last year, she joined the board of directors. Overall, the Crownsville resident has been directly involved with Langton Green as a parent, advocate, and quality assurance volunteer for a total of 11 years. 

“I’m sure out of all of these roles, [Spears’] favorite is being the Langton Green Community Farm’s best blackberry customer,” jokes Langton Green Executive Director Kimberly Breton Iaquinta. 

These blackberries are grown at Langton Green Community Farm in Millersville. The farm, which opened in 2014, provides employment, including minimum wage compensation, to individuals from Langton Green’s supported employment program. The farm, which is working towards becoming completely organic, provides its food to Langton Green residents and local food banks. According to Liz Spears, the farm grows the best blackberries she’s ever tasted. 

“[The farm] gives these people purpose, and everyone needs a purpose in life,” Spears says. “That’s what my volunteering is about; giving myself purpose in life.” 

And Spears’ volunteer work isn’t exclusive to Langton Green. She also spends time volunteering in various capacities at her church, and she is a volunteer bone marrow courier for Be The Match, an organization that matches donors to patients in need of a bone marrow transplant. But out of all her volunteer work, Langton Green will always be special to Spears.

“[Having my daughter at Langton Green] makes my volunteer work there a lot more meaningful to me,” Spears says. “I get to have insight and input into the organization, so it really fits my life. It’s a great organization. I’m glad to work with them, and I’m glad my daughter is there.” 

For more information about Langton Green, visit Langtongreen.org.