Lancaster New Era, Red Rose Recipients!! 1/04/2011

Like mother, like daughter.

Lillian Smith grew up in poverty in Guatemala, so she knows what it’s like to do without.

Smith left Guatemala long ago, when she was adopted at the age of 12 by a Lancaster family.

Now the mother of two, Smith never forgot her childhood, and the experience developed in her a strong sense of wanting to give back to the community.

It’s a trait she wants to pass on to her children, and it’s already getting results.

Smith’s oldest daughter, Alyssa Deraco, started “Alyssa’s Bedtime Stories,” which helps bring books to disadvantaged children of all ages.

Now 12, Alyssa was 10 when she began recruiting friends at Centerville Middle School to help put together gift packages for children from infants to teens.

This year, they processed 300 packages, which include several new books and a pair of pajamas.

The packages are distributed to various places, such as Milagro House, Domestic Violence Services of Lancaster County, Bridge of Hope, and Mom’s House.

Alyssa and her friends rely on donations and fundraisers to finance the project. Her website is

Alyssa has a 2-year-old sibling, Preston, who no doubt will follow in her footsteps one day..

For encouraging Children to read and for the encourangemt her mom is giving her, Alyssa Deraco and Lilian Smith are this week’s LANCASTER NEW ERA, RED ROSE Award recipients!!!

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