An Extra Room, A “Sisters” Home

Amy Sullivan and her 11-year old daughter Madi welcomed Marie Guillmette into their Belchertown home last fall through Pathlight’s Shared Living program. Now, Marie is living the dream as she discovers all the things she loves to do. Whether a spa day or camping in Vermont, dancing the night away or shop-till-you-drop trips to the mall, family movie nights on a big screen or horseback riding, Marie and her new family are doing them together and they are having a blast.

“We are an active family and having Marie with us has made everything we do more fun. She’s added happiness to our family,” said Amy. Marie chimes in, “That’s what friends are for. We are sisters.”

Amy learned about Shared Living through her work at The Consortium where she is a self-advocacy and human rights coordinator. “I love working with this population and decided to look into it. I researched organizations and chose Pathlight because of its reputation as a Shared Living pioneer.”

Marie, who is 31 years old, had been living with another care provider, but it was clear she was ready to grow into the next phase of her life. This fortuitous timing brought Amy and Marie together.
Dennis LaFleche, a placement coordinator at Pathlight said, “Marie has blossomed. You can see the difference in her because of these new opportunities.”

While Marie works at MicroTek, where she helps to assemble wire harnesses, Amy is considering opening her home to another individual. “I grew up hearing ‘You have an extra room, you fill it,’ I only wish I’d known about Shared Living sooner.”

Pumping her fist, Marie punctuates the conversation by adding “I’m a grown woman and I love my sisters!”

Shared Living creates opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to live in private homes and develop meaningful relationships while learning to be as independent and integrated into their community as possible. If you’d like to open your home or learn more about Shared Living, please call 800-652-2201 or click here.

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