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Dear Friends of Abilis,

What a difference a year makes.

I don’t think any of us could have imagined circumstances like those we are now experiencing. There is change all around us, change in how we work, how we socialize, how we live and learn. There is change at Abilis too. But one thing that hasn’t changed is our commitment to providing quality supports to the special needs community, something we have done without fail or interruption since our inception in 1951.

We have made great strides this year at Abilis. In the face of great uncertainty, our frontline staff has continued to go above and beyond to ensure that service delivery is not interrupted and that those we care for and support continue to thrive amidst the ever-changing landscape. We are thankful for your continued support and need you now more than ever!

Here are just a few stories of how Abilis responds to the changing needs of the individuals we serve whether in the face of a global pandemic or simply in response to changes that naturally occur during a lifetime:

Born prematurely at 26 weeks, Isaac was automatically eligible for Abilis Early Intervention Birth to Three Services, and within a few weeks of his discharge from the NICU in 2017, Abilis began visits to his home in Stamford. At first, a physical therapist worked with Isaac, but soon his team grew based on his changing needs. In 2019, when Isaac was diagnosed with autism, he was transferred to Abilis’ Little Learners program, where he began receiving services five days a week.

Isaac was making steady progress, and then came March 2020. Within a matter of weeks, the Birth to Three staff pivoted to a virtual format, working closely with families like Isaac’s to make the transition as seamless as possible. Abilis provided Isaac’s mother, Carolina, with a tablet and training to make sure she was able to access the remote services without significant interruption.

Throughout the spring, Isaac continued to progress. He learned to sit up in his highchair, walk up and down stairs, make sounds, and point. Carolina is grateful for the experts on Isaac’s team who helped him reach important milestones and she’s thankful to Abilis for never missing a beat when the COVID crisis began. “Everyone on Isaac’s team helped him so much,” said Carolina. “They took care of every detail and made our lives easier.”

Daniel grew up in Stamford with his younger brother, Zachary, and his parents, Tanya and David. Upon his graduation from the Cooperative Education Services School, Daniel was one of the first participants accepted into the Westport LEAP program. Overseen by Abilis, LEAP, which stands for Life Skills, Employment, Advocacy, and Partnership, is designed to address the educational, developmental, and vocational needs of young adults. Tanya was thrilled at this next step for Daniel and his transition was a successful one due to Abilis’ incredible staff.

Abilis worked with Daniel’s family to help him with his next transition, moving into a home of his own. “I am beyond happy with the day program and residential services at Abilis,” Tanya said. “It is the first time I can take a deep breath and know that Daniel is settled. He has had tremendous growth in so many areas and for the first time we can sit and watch a movie together with big smiles. We are so thankful to Abilis!”

Ruthann is a 72-year-old woman who lived at Southbury Training School for 12 years. At 32, Ruthann moved to a community residence in Stamford where Abilis offered her a beautiful apartment in a building with peers that became her family.

The change in her residency allowed Ruthann to begin her new life. She has made lifetime friendships, experienced work opportunities and discovered her likes, dislikes, and how to advocate for herself. For the past 40 years, Ruthann has enjoyed many regular activities. “My favorite thing to do is to go to a Broadway show and get my nails and hair done,” she said. “I haven’t been to many shows lately but I love to feel beautiful and Abilis makes me feel that way.”

Ruthann is excited about the next chapter in her life: another new home. Abilis is working on the development of a new residential home for Ruthann and her Abilis family, a beautiful ranch home designed to meet the needs of our senior residents and to ensure our commitment to aging in place. “I can’t wait to sit on the sun porch and look at the birds,” Ruthann said.

These stories of change provide a glimpse into all of the amazing work Abilis has done in the past year, but there is still much more to do. With your support, we can continue to provide advocacy to the many incredible individuals and families we support in order to effect positive change in their lives and our community. But we could not do any of this without you and, as always, are forever grateful for your contributions.


We wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season!


Amy Montimurro

Alonso Martinez
Board Chair

Abilis is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization registered with the IRS under Tax ID #06-6009327