Every adventure begins with a single step. A rainy, Fall evening recently brought ten of them together.
NuPath’s Fifth Annual Celebration highlighted these adventures and shared them in front of an energetic, sold out crowd at the Organization’s newly-designed Jubilee Park. Some were tales of learning and love while others highlighted perseverance and chance encounters.
Take the story of Juan Nunez. He is an Uber driver who shared the story of a chance encounter he had with, who he thought, was just another passenger. Little did he know that passenger was NuPath’s President/CEO, Dan Harrison.
“The moment I picked him up, that’s when my adventure took off,” he said, reflecting on the moment. Today, Juan works as a life Coach at the Organization’s New Boston Street location. “It was a chance encounter that led me to where I am today…and I’m very grateful for the opportunity.”
Rob Gomez’s opportunity as Program Manager for NuPath’s Bradley Road residence 10 years ago inspired his tale of adventure. At the time, the married, father of two was juggling his new position at the home and the birth of his newborn son. Gomez reflected on how his time at Bradley Road helped him during his personal journey.
“The parents kept calling me, asking about their loved ones and making sure they were okay,” he said. “Over time, it taught me how to become a better father and husband to my family…and I can’t thank the parents enough for the experiences they taught me on my adventure to where I am today.”
Michael Rossetti is also a parent, but his adventure was one that he could have never imagined taking soon after the birth of his first-born daughter, McKayla. “My wife and I were overjoyed when she was born…such a happy baby, full of life,” he said, fighting back tears. “She soon started to have behavioral and cognitive issues…with it came doctor’s appointments and the news we never expected to hear – she had Autism.”
Rossetti, a member of NuPath’s Board of Directors and single parent, says his adventure has given him a new perspective on what it’s like to be the parent of a child with a disability. “I’ve always found comfort in sharing my experiences raising a daughter with Autism with people just like you,” he said, gazing out at the crowd. “I commend everyone who is, or has been, the caregiver of someone with Autism.”
The inspiring tales of both Gomez and Rossetti were not to be out done by the adventure of Amy and Kern Mondesir. They both started their adventure with NuPath over five years ago, both were divorced and in a period of personal change at the time, especially Amy.
“I had been going through a divorce and the recent passing of my father,” she said. “I saw a job posting for NuPath, met with James (Sanon)…and was eventually hired! I truly believe this opportunity changed my life.”
As for Kern, his adventure as a Team Leader with one of NuPath’s “No Walls”, Community-Based Day Support groups has been ongoing for five years. As he began his journey and met Amy, their partnership became the foundation for their life together.
“I had to ask her twice to marry me, but eventually she said yes,” Kern said with a smile. “She was everything I had ever wanted in a partner.”
Fresh off a trip to France and Italy, the couple recently celebrated a year of marriage together and are looking forward to the future. “We’re eager to see where our adventures will take us, both as a married couple and as members of the NuPath family!” Amy exclaimed.
Each adventure may have been different, but Harrison believes every story included unique elements of what makes a journey evolve into an adventure. “They can be something new, bold and even a little risky…but until we take that first step, we’ll never know what adventures can bring.”
NuPath’s Paver Dedication program is the most recent adventure the Organization launched, as part of the event. This unique opportunity gives participants the option to engrave a stone in one of six locations around the NuPath’s Home Office. Each location is named after their six core values – Community, Unity, Belonging, Collaboration, Innovation and Sharing.
“These core values are at the very heart of our mission – making life’s journey happier, healthier and more fulfilling for people living with disabilities,” Harrison said. “We hope this will be a way for our passionate supporters to forever leave their mark on this great Organization.”
One such supporter is Massachusetts State Representative Jim Dwyer, who was on-hand to close the evening’s festivities by presenting a citation to Harrison, celebrating NuPath’s 50 years in operation. A lifelong Woburn resident, Representative Dwyer has witnessed the evolution of the Organization, spending time as a member of NuPath’s Board of Directors prior to being elected as a State Rep.
“Dan and the NuPath family have meant a lot to me over the years,” he stated. “It’s an honor to have your work recognized and we will continue to fight for the rights of people with disabilities to lead happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives.”
The book may be closing on the Organization’s ‘Golden Jubilee’, but after what Harrison called “the best Annual Celebration we’ve ever had,” he believes the adventure for NuPath is just beginning.
“Tonight, we collectively move forward, to our next great adventure. All of you will play an important role on the path we take…and I couldn’t be more excited to take the first step, together.”