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Dear Friends,

I hope that you and your family are well.  This extraordinary year has challenged us all in so many ways, yet, AbilityFirst participants have continued to flourish, implementing new program strategies and reducing the impact of quarantine-related isolation.  With  the ingenuity of our staff, AbilityFirst participants are continuing to enjoy meaningful, engaging and interactive activities while remaining safer at home.

Gavin, who attends the AbilityFirst Claremont Center’s after school program, knows how to handle a challenge:  face it with humor.  In his two years with the program he has flourished, learning to interact with others and helping out whenever possible.  He responded to  remote programming with his usual spirited energy and knack for helping everyone relax and laugh.

In his transformation from the shy solitary boy who came to the center in 2018 to the confident, vocal leader he is today, Gavin personifies the AbilityFirst spirit and commitment to self-discovery and autonomy.  And there are hundreds of other children and adults who are also exploring their interests and goals, developing independent living skills, participating in the lives of their communities, and overcoming barriers to success through AbilityFirst.

Because many of the participants in our programs were experiencing various degrees of social isolation even before the pandemic, we knew it was crucial that we continue to provide ways for them to have fun, be creative, and continue to interact with their friends and staff at AbilityFirst. As we are looking ahead to the day when our program sites will reopen, we know that we will continue to support individuals like Gavin in as many meaningful ways as we can, to help them achieve their dreams and be independent.

From helping children affected by polio in the 1920s to empowering children and adults to succeed and thrive during a pandemic in 2020, AbilityFirst has always been there for individuals with disabilities  and their families.  With your support, we intend to be here for many years to come.

I’m asking you to give today to help sustain our exceptional programs that range  from after school enrichment to employment, and from camping to college.  We need your help now so Gavin and his friends continue to meet their goals and thrive.  

All of us at AbilityFirst wish you and your family the best of health. Thank you for supporting AbilityFirst at

Lori Gangemi
Chief Executive Officer

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