A Story of Inspiration

In 1964, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, she was my second child. It was not long after I learned my wonderful baby girl was intellectually and developmentally challenged. In addition, my dear daughter suffered from seizures including grand mal seizures. Nothing prepared me for the sacrifices that I would make to ensure my daughter's wellbeing and quality of life, but as a parent I would do anything to help her.

Needless to say there were many challenges. I worked hard to help her and taught her as much as she was capable of learning. I was inspired by her willingness to try and her cheerful personality.

As she got older, I was struck with an unnerving realization, what would happen to my daughter, when she became an adult, and I was unable to care for her? I wondered if there were other parents in a similar situation who also needed help. I wanted to find a way to help my child and to help other intellectually and developmentally challenged adults, provide them with a home, give them the quality of life and teach them to help each other.

This very desire motivated me to start Pathfinder Associates, Inc. in 1980. Pathfinder Associates provides supervised homes for men and women with intellectual disabilities. Pathfinder Associates, Inc. is a small non-profit corporation, 501(c)(3) formed in the State of Connecticut in 1980.

In the town of Derby, CT, I provide 3 permanent homes to be used by 12 men and women who are intellectually and developmentally challenged. Each home has four individuals living there. Daily life is a shared family-like experience. The residents work together daily to keep their home clean and orderly, they help each other in preparing meals, doing laundry and taking care of outside surroundings. It's a wonderful and empowering experience for my residents.

Additionally, there is a daily Life Skills program where each person receives training skills necessary to support employment in the community so they can become valuable members into the community and society.

Each residence has a 24 hour residential staff and who assist and support each person to develop skills and behaviors needed to complete various tasks to successfully reside and work in their community.

My daughter is now in her fifties and I am in my seventies, she enjoys a wonderful home surrounded by her friends, and she and her friends are almost self-sustaining. My daughter was my inspiration.

Elaine Ricciardi,

Founder and Administrator of Pathfinder Associates, Inc.

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