NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. - Alternatives honored its staff, individuals served and organizations that have made significant contributions during the past year at its 36th annual 'Thank You Reception.'
Over 600 people attended the event held at at the Holiday Inn in Boxborough recently.
This year, Alternatives also took time to honor the oldest individual currently receiving services from the agency - nonagenarian Vera Fletcher. She was presented with the “90 Incredible Years, an inspiring life” award.
Vera Fletcher was born on July 8, 1922 in Nova Scotia, Canada. Like many of the people served by Alternatives, she was placed in a state institution where she lived from the age of 6 until the age of 70.
Upon leaving the hospital, Vera was supported in group residential settings before moving in with a host family 12 years ago as part of a program called Shared Living. At the same time, Vera became a member of Alternatives’ Senior Enrichment Program for individuals with developmental disabilities, where she currently spends her days participating in a variety of community based activities.
Vera’s personality has been described as feisty and opinionated, yet she is one of the most caring people you will ever meet. She is often heard saying “I prayed for you last night.”
Mary Mundell, a developmental specialist at the Senior Enrichment Center, describes Vera as a perfect example of how, with the right supports, neither age nor disabilities are impediments to finding a fulfilling life in the community. “Although Vera is 90 years old, she has more energy than most people. She epitomizes living life to the fullest. Her energy and charismatic personality make those around her smile, laugh, and realize that age is just a number,” Mundell said.
Alternatives helps individuals with disabilities build meaningful lives in the community – lives that include real homes, real jobs and real relationships. Last year, Alternatives provided services to over 1200 people in 55 residential, employment and day programs throughout Central Massachusetts. For more information about Alternatives, call 508-234-6232 or visit www.alternativesnet.org