Hampden Couple Honored by The Association For Community Living for Compassionate Caring

The Masons received the Robert V. Agoglia Community Living Award

HAMPDEN – Stacy and Tom Mason have been changing peoples’ lives since 2009.

As care providers in the Specialized Home Care division of The Association For Community Living in Springfield for five years, they welcome mentally and physically disabled individuals into the home they share with their four children. They offer whatever kind of help is needed – from counsel on anger management to advice on personal hygiene.

Samantha Whittle and Christopher Tubbs, who are now living with the Masons in their home, have learned much since moving in in 2009 and 2011 respectively. Tubbs has lost over 70 pounds and has seen immense improvement to his health, and Whittle has improved her relationships with family, thanks to the Masons’ guidance.

“Tom and Stacy both regard those in their care as members of their family and do not treat them any differently than their own children,” said Catherine Dollase, a placement coordinator for The Association, in nominating the couple for the Robert V. Agoglia Community Living Award, which they received at The Association For Community Living Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony in June.

The Masons accepted their award to a backdrop of proud smiles and enthusiastic applause when over 300 board members, staff, volunteers, supporters and those in greater western Massachusetts who are served by The Association came together for the agency’s Annual Meeting.

“Stacy and Tom have met each challenge with creative solutions,” Dollase said. “They have taken time to learn what each individual needs and have created a place where they are free to express their cares and concerns.”

Executive Director Barbara Pilarcik presented several dozen other achievement and anniversary awards to agency programs and highlighted outstanding contributions of staff and community members.

“Every day, day in and day out, our staff are in our communities doing good work. Their actions and deeds overwhelm prejudice, doubt and fear,” Pilarcik said. “These are the people who fulfill our mission each and every day and who, together with persistence and resilience, have overwhelmed the world with their good work.”

Pilarcik also held a moment of silence for 16 friends of The Association who died in the past year, including Judge Sidney Cooley of Longmeadow, who died in January at age 100.

She said of the friends, many of whom were also donors, “They often led the way in showing communities how to accept a child who may be more challenged than some, but no less gifted. Their courage in standing up and stepping up has left us much better off.”

For more information about the services and programs of The Association For Community Living, visit www.theassociationinc.org.

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The Association For Community Living has been Creating Opportunities, Building Relationships and Improving Lives of children and adults with developmental disabilities since 1952. Founded by the dedicated commitment of five young mothers of children with developmental disabilities who held a strong belief that their children had the same right as all other children—the right to live and grow with dignity in their own communities—The Association continues their vision today.

Our beginnings were modest and deeply rooted in Hampden County. Today, our reach extends to all of Western Massachusetts and parts of Central Massachusetts, supporting 1,116 individuals with autism, Down syndrome, fragile X, and other developmental disabilities and 760 families in 77 cities and towns with offices in Springfield, Easthampton, Greenfield, Hadley and Pittsfield.

We provide services that are many and varied, forming a continuum of support from infancy to old age with comprehensive services in five major areas - supported living, family services, employment services, social entrepreneurship, and recreation and enrichment. Additionally, we are recognized as a well-managed, fiscally responsible nonprofit agency with a budget of $27.5 million.

In October 2013, The Association was named in the Top 10 of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield Super 60 in the total revenue category.

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