Board of Advisors
Lisa Tedeschi Vergara, Founder
Lisa was raised in Needham, Massachusetts. After graduating from Needham High School, Lisa attended The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where she graduated with a BFA in Graphic Design in 1983. She began her career at Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, as Creative Art Director, winning numerous awards for her design work. It was early on in her career where she gained invaluable experiences and knowledge that the most powerful weapon for changing the world is education.
In May of 2019. Lisa founded Storytime Crafts, Inc., a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization with the goal of uniting communities to promote inclusive childhood literacy opportunities. Lisa is described as “a literal connection to all things literary in Greater Boston”. Today, Lisa’s purpose and passion lies in her commitment to promoting literacy through art, community and kindness.
Lennox Chase, Legal Advisor
Lennox is an honoree of the 2023 Charles River Regional Chamber and Get Konnected! 50 Most Influential Business Leaders of Color.
Growing up in Dorchester, Chase learned the value of service to others and how to create job stability through the work of his parents. His mom was a detective in the Boston Police Department, and his father was a small business owner. Chase attended Bedford Public Schools via the METCO program and went on to earn a law degree from Northeastern University. He later founded Chase Legal Services.
Chase is committed to giving back to the community as a nonprofit board member and mentor to students and emerging leaders. He has chaired numerous committees for nonprofits that address urban education, expanding access to legal services, and domestic violence issues. As a member of Needham Bank’s board of directors, Chase manages and supervises the bank’s policies and assets and has been instrumental in advancing the organization’s community outreach.
"Storytime Crafts founder Lisa Vergara of Needham, MA, is an impactful nonprofit leader. Storytime Crafts has a clear mission and purpose of creating diverse book-rich environments for children. Ms. Vergara has assembled talented and skilled volunteers dedicated to supporting the organization’s grassroots literacy initiative.
The ratio of program expenses to total expenses is such that a donor can rest assured that their donation will go as far as possible. Ms. Vergara has displayed an ability to inspire and engage volunteers and constituents/members as passionate partners and spokespersons. Further, Ms. Vergara has shown a willingness to partner with other nonprofits working to address the same issues, regarding those organizations as allies as opposed to competitors.
Accordingly, I am pleased to be a partner with Storytime Crafts."
Maria Citrin, Literacy Advisor
Teacher, Newton Public Schools
Formerly Teacher at the Richard J. Murphy K-8 School in Dorchester,
As a former teacher at the Richard Murphy K-8 School in Dorchester, Maria helped Storytime understand the needs of students in underserved schools and identify resources that would engage and motivate them. Maria’s insight was critical in developing a list of books and authors that would resonate with children of color; help them envision a wider range of careers; understand the importance of reading, learning and exploring; and build critical life skills such as financial literacy. Maria also helped Storytime develop programs aimed at meeting the needs of underserved communities.
I went to undergrad at Smith College and then got my Master’s in Sports Management at UMass Amherst. My first “real” job brought me to Boston as an Account Executive at a cause-marketing firm, where we helped build and publicize partnerships between businesses and non-profit organizations. From there I took my marketing skills to the nonprofit side as I became Assistant to the President of the founder of YouthBuild.
When I was 29, someone asked me, “What is your most cherished unfulfilled dream?” Without hesitation, the answer came out “to teach.” That moment marked the beginning of my career transition from marketing to teacher and educator.
Ty Allan Jackson, Chief Literacy Advisor
Ty is an award-winning children’s book author, literacy advocate, captivating motivational speaker, and honorary Doctorate recipient. In 2011 he founded Big Head Books, LLC, a literacy organization that aims to introduce children to the joys of reading. Ty travels around the country inspiring children and educating adults about the impacts of illiteracy. A three-time TedX presenter, Ty believes that literacy is the foundation for a successful life and promotes it with humor and enthusiasm. Ty’s work as an author and literacy advocate earned him an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from MCLA, the Massachusetts inaugural Martin Luther King Jr. Content of Character Award, and citations from the Massachusetts Governor, Senator, and the House of Representatives. Ty’s books have been featured on CNN, NBC Nightly News, The Steve Harvey Show, PBS and countless other media outlets. In 2012, Ty’s books were gifted to former First Lady Michelle Obama by his hometown mayor. He is the co-founder of the Read or Else movement and Danny Dollar Academy.
"I can say with great sincerity that there are fewer people who care and make the effort to better their community than Lisa Vergara. With a level of dedication and commitment aligned with a remarkable work ethic, Ms. Vergara lives to serve. From supplying toiletries to families who are less fortunate, to gifting hundreds of bikes to children who can’t afford them, to giving away tens of thousands of books to kids in need, Lisa and Storytime Crafts, has changed the lives of countless children and families. Her level of goodwill makes her a superhero in a time when it is needed the most. She is worthy of all the praise, accolades and support given to her."
Claire Kaiser, Community Connector Advisor
Systems Navigator, Families in Transition, YMCA of Greater Boston
Formerly Association Director for Community Hub Schools, YMCA of Greater Boston
Claire Kaiser has worked closely with Lisa and Storytime Crafts since 2018. She first connected with Storytime Crafts while working at the King K-8 School in Dorchester, MA. As a result of this partnership, the King received thousands of books that were used to host book giveaways for students and to stock the school’s library. Lisa also donated multiple art chairs for the library, hundreds of bikes, delivered countless toys, games and other items to the school community and hosted read-alouds and visits from authors like Ty Allan Jackson. Claire left the King in 2020 to work for the YMCA’s Community Hub Schools strategy in partnership with Boston Public Schools. This gave Lisa the opportunity to broaden Storytime Crafts impact across additional BPS schools and YMCA afterschool and housing programs. Throughout the past 5 years, Storytime Crafts has used its resources and network to supply books, bikes, baby items and many other resources to students and families across BPS and the YMCA. Claire is so grateful to be connected to Lisa, Storytime Crafts and the wonderful work they do in service of the Boston community!
"Lisa and her organization, Storytime Crafts, has been an incredible asset to the King K-8 School since beginning her work with us in the Spring of 2018. Lisa has provided thousands of books to our students and two incredible art chairs that we are proud to make use of in our library.
Lisa's passion for literacy is contagious and students often walk out of one of her events asking for extra books to take home and making special requests for her next visit. The Grove Hall Community has been historically underserved and under-resourced and Lisa's partnership has made it possible to bring books into the lives of all of our students in a way that we would not be able to without her help. Her reach has gone beyond the King as she continues to collaborate with other schools and community centers in our neighborhood. "
Sharon Murray, Volunteer Outreach Coordinator
Director of Marketing for 3 time super bowl champion Patrick Pass football clinics
Sharon brings a deep understanding of the needs of children separated from family through the foster care system. She understands the importance of providing children in vulnerable situations with resources that can help them connect with others and express and process their emotions nonverbally. Sharon works closely with the Home for Little Wanderers along with other community organizations serving children in homeless shelters and foster care.
"I have always had a passion for giving back and feel so lucky I was asked to volunteer at this wonderful organization Storytime Crafts."
Special Projects Manager of the Worker Empowerment Cabinet for the Office of Mayor Michelle Wu
Formerly Program Manager, ReadBoston, Mayor's Office of Workforce Development
ReadBoston is the City’s only comprehensive early literacy program. It reaches Boston’s children at all points in their day, all year long.
As Program Manager of ReadBoston, Sean organized and managed the Storymobile and Read To Achieve programs, and participated in live Story Time and after school book clubs. Sean also performed guest author events for early literacy throughout the city of Boston and helped Storytime connect with multiple MPS schools and community organizations serving young children and their families. As the current Special Projects Manager of the Worker Empowerment Cabinet for the Office of Mayor Michelle Wu, Sean’s tasks include Community Outreach, supporting Green New Deal, and Youth Employment. Sean has been an essential partner for literacy collaborating on special programs and initiatives aimed at supporting the needs of children and families.
Jean McTighe, Treasurer of Storytime Crafts, is an experienced corporate finance professional who has worked for Morgan Stanley, State Street and Bank of America. Her experience includes work as a mergers & acquisitions specialist, a credit training manager and product development specialist. Her experience also includes work with U.S. Trust/The Private Bank at Bank of America which provides investment services and charitable giving solutions.
Jean holds an A.B. in economics from Princeton University and an M.B.A. in finance from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. As a member of the second class of women admitted to Princeton, Jean understands how it feels to be part of a small minority within a specific community and judged solely by your appearance.
Before joining Storytime Crafts, Jean was a volunteer literacy coach at the Blackstone School in Boston where she worked with first and second graders. During her time there, she gained an appreciation of how important and motivating it is for children to see themselves reflected in the books they read and gain exposure to a wide range of subjects.
Jean’s outside interests in art and music also inform her work with Storytime Crafts. Learning to play violin and cello as a Suzuki parent was both humbling and enlightening. Although she initially found it surprising that her children’s favorite pieces were those with which they had struggled the most, she eventually came to understand how motivating mastery and a sense of accomplishment can be. She also developed an appreciation for how art and music can help children express and process emotions they may feel uncomfortable discussing.
Jennifer Santos, Secretary of Storytime Crafts, is an Executive Director at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, in the Office of Business Integrity & Ethics, the department responsible for Vertex’s Corporate Compliance Program. Jennifer leads a group of lawyers and compliance professionals providing compliance advice and guidance to colleagues in North America. Prior to this role, Jennifer served as the Head of Global Corporate Compliance Operations and before that, a commercial attorney advising the cystic fibrosis business. Jennifer started her legal career at Ropes & Gray in Boston, MA advising health care and life sciences clients across the US.
Jennifer holds a B.A. in Biology from The College of the Holy Cross, a J.D. from the George Washington School of Law, and an M.P.H. from the George Washington School of Public Health and Health Services.
Jennifer also sits on the Board of the Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers in Cambridge, MA, an organization focused on providing services to Portuguese speaking populations in the greater Boston area. Jennifer is originally from New Bedford and comes from a family of Portuguese immigrants. Jennifer understands the importance of education and fostering a joy and love of reading from an early age and is committed to Storytime’s mission and work.