Tireless Advocacy Raises Revenue, Changes Lives

The Association For Community Living Named a Super 60 by the Affiliated Chamber of Commerce of Springfield

SPRINGFIELD - When 54-year-old Deb Tetreault moved into her new ranch home in Agawam owned by The Association For Community Living, she gained new friends, a broader sense of community, more opportunities for activities and more staff support.

Her mother, Jeanette Gilmartin of Springfield, gained peace of mind.

The Association has provided part-time caregiving services to Tetreault, who has lived with developmental disabilities for many years, but for the past 18 years, Gilmartin has managed her daughter's housing needs. She owned the condo in which Tetreault lived and took care of paying the mortgage and routine maintenance.

At 76, though, Gilmartin was ready to transition Tetreault into sustainable long-term housing. She knows now that Tetreault's needs will be met when she can no longer meet them, and the responsibility will not shift to her other three children.

"It's an emotional and physical relief," said Gilmartin, a longtime employee of The Association. "I became familiar with many different agencies over the years, and this is the only agency that I feel delivers the kind of care that I would expect and want for my daughter."

Agency revenues recognized

The Association was pleased to welcome Tetreault into its brand new community housing site at 223 Meadow St., Agawam, on July 29. The agency has long recognized the need to provide housing for an aging population of senior citizens with physical and development disabilities and has worked tirelessly in past years to grow state funding levels, in part to address that need.

"The need is always greater than the amount of money that we're given for support," Pilarcik said. "There are always more families with needs."

Family members like Gilmartin take notice of this work, as does the community at large. For the second year in a row, The Association was named by the Affiliated Chamber of Commerce of Springfield as a Super 60 in the total revenue category and was recognized at the 25th annual celebration on Nov. 14 at Chez Josef in Agawam.

Revenue at the agency rose from $19.7 million in fiscal 2010 to $23.9 million in fiscal 2013 (ending June 30, 2013,) the first year the agency was honored. Revenue has continued to rise to $25.5 in fiscal 2014.

"It's an honor for us to be named for a second year in a row," said Executive Director Barbara T. Pilarcik. "We can look at it and say, 'This is real, and we're showing a solid growth trajectory.' It wasn't a one-year fluke or an accident.

"At the same time, we must continue to plan and advocate for funds to continue to grow and develop our services for people who have needs in the greater Springfield area," she added. "Not all of the needs in our community are being met."

Pilarcik is excited that The Association For Community Living is once again taking part in the Valley Gives fundraising promotion on Dec. 10, along with two of its programs, Whole Children in Hadley and Community Resources for People with Autism in Easthampton. It will also be promoting its end-of-year development efforts as well.

"The need is always greater than the amount of money that we're given for support," Pilarcik said. "There are always more families with needs."

To help fill the need, support The Association on Valley Gives Day, Dec. 10, by visiting their website: TheAssociationInc.org.