Thank YOU for helping us achieve our success!

Sunshine Village


Calendar Year 2023 / Fiscal Year 2024

If you would like to make a donation to Sunshine Village’s ANNUAL APPEAL, please click the DONATE BUTTON below.



As we look forward to 2024, we know that Sunshine Village has truly made a difference in the lives of so many people over this past year. Our clients were given opportunities to live and learn and work and earn and give and grow –all while their families were confident that they were safe and happy. Partnerships with local businesses, civic organizations, municipal departments and charities were mutually beneficial – achieving missions while promoting inclusivity and encouraging friendship.

Did we make a difference in your life too?

You might have a child who has a GREAT day, every day at one of our programs. Perhaps you joined us this year at one of our art exhibits – and saw the unique talents of our artists – or just read about our happenings in our e-newsletter. Maybe you played golf with us or visited our table at a transition fair. Possibly you even toured one of our programs – to see if it would be a good fit for a loved one – or just to learn a little more about what we do. Or maybe you just saw some of our Facebook posts and smiled at the faces you saw.

However you were involved with us – we hope we made a difference in your life too.

If you know someone who is thinking of making a gift to a charity during this holiday season – encourage them to consider Sunshine Village! If you yourself are able to make a donation – no matter how big or small – you will be joining with the agency’s supporters in investing in GREAT days - where everyone shines!

Warmest wishes for a healthy and happy 2024!

Gina Kos

Executive Director


Sunshine Village is incredibly fortunate to have the support of eight experienced and talented professionals – who volunteer their time on our governing Board of Directors. This group – led by long term Chair Ernest N. Laflamme, Jr. - provides guidance in directing the operations and programs of the agency – and each brings a unique perspective that aids Sunshine Village in ensuring the continued deliverance of high-quality supports in safe, warm and welcoming environments.

CHAIR - ERNEST N. LAFLAMME, JR. serving Sunshine Village since 1982

(pictured above)

VICE CHAIR - STEPHEN C. MELNYCK, JR. serving Sunshine Village since 1982 TREASURER - PETER S. BENTON, CPA serving Sunshine Village since 2012 CLERK - MICHAEL R. SIDDALL, ESQ. serving Sunshine Village since 2004                      

DIRECTOR - MARIE LAFLAMME serving Sunshine Village since 2002

DIRECTOR - TERI SZLOSEK serving Sunshine Village since 2011

DIRECTOR - DEBRA A. SCHNEEWEIS serving Sunshine Village since 2013 DIRECTOR - FRANK STELLATO serving Sunshine Village since 2015


We recognized each of our clients this year – with a personalized certificate of accomplishment. These accomplishments ranged from having the best smile, or being the best greeter, to mastering new skills and being a friend to all. Many clients in CBDS were recognized for completing certificate programs while our janitors at Westover Maintenance Systems were given awards for excellence in customer service.


Each program hosted its own celebratory gathering – and applause was heard for all!


So Proud of YOU, Dallas!

We are so proud of Dallas – who achieved a personal goal – obtaining his Learner’s Permit. Dallas is a part of our crew at Westover Maintenance Systems - where we provide the maintenance for the buildings and hangars at Westover Air Reserve Base.

Completing Hospitality & Culinary Arts Training Programs

“I had a great time learning new things. I got to take classes with my friends and meet new people. I loved the trip to MGM to see how the housekeeping team works together. I am glad that Sunshine Village helped me take these classes and I think other people should try it too. It was much fun!

- Kimberly Madera

Several of our clients from the CBDS programs successfully completed the culinary skills and housekeeping training programs offered by Holyoke Community College and MGM. CONGRATULATIONS again to:

Austin Coelho

Line Cook Training

HCC/MGM Culinary Arts Institute

Carmen Cruz

Hotel and Room Attendant Training

HCC/MGM Culinary Arts Institute

Daysha’nay Cruz

Hotel and Room Attendant Training

HCC/MGM Culinary Arts Institute

Stephen Green

Line Cook Training

HCC/MGM Culinary Arts Institute

Yrkania Rodriguez

Hotel and Room Attendant Training

HCC/MGM Culinary Arts Institute

Diaralys McNickles

Hotel and Room Attendant Training

HCC/MGM Culinary Arts Institute

Kimberly Madera

Hotel and Room Attendant Training

HCC/MGM Culinary Arts Institute


OQE: The Department of Developmental Services Office of Quality Enhancement (OQE) visited Sunshine Village in February – and reported during an exit meeting in mid-March that the organization has achieved a two-year license, with a score of 94%. The report highlights that SSV “demonstrated effective oversite systems in the areas of environmental safety, promotion of human rights, assistive technology and workforce competency.”  


CARF: In March, the organization underwent a national accreditation survey by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF.) Sunshine Village was awarded a three-year accreditation – many compliments were provided within the report, including this summary of the accreditation decision:

“On balance, Sunshine Village, Inc. demonstrated substantial conformance to standards. 

Sunshine Village, Inc. is a thriving organization that has benefited from implemented CARF standards for over 30 years under the direction of an executive director who has been in that position for over three decades." 

"The organization demonstrates how a person-centered philosophy and commitment to positive outcomes can help clients become independent and active member of the community.” 



At the Annual Meeting in June of 2023, the Board of Directors approved a three year STRATEGIC PLAN that will direct efforts thru June of 2026.


So far, we have achieved our four Organizational Goals in the following ways: 


Advance SSV as a “Premier Provider of Choice” by assessing, enhancing and offering innovative services that assist individuals to achieve greater independence.

"Bringing the Community

to Us" Inclusion Program

We have enjoyed visits from several partners. We drummed, handled exotic animals and enjoyed listening to entertainment by Ben and Ed. Our wellness partners helped us learn new yoga poses too!


Three Rivers CBDS

SUCCESS STORY: Matt has always wanted to work with cats, and says volunteering at Second Chance animal shelter is a “superb way to do it”. Matt reports that he is happy when he volunteers there. His favorite part is after the chores are done he gets to cuddle with the cats!

Casey CBDS

SUCCESS STORY: Lenny celebrated his three-year work anniversary at the Irish Cultural Center of Western New England – where he cleans and maintains the building's appearance. "I like the people, the elegance of it there -- it teaches me independence. "

In addition to his work goals, Lenny accomplished a significant wellness goal – becoming more active. "There are three flights of stairs at my job that I walk up and down, and I have lost 27 pounds!"

We are so proud of Lenny and his success in 2023!

Agawam DH

SUCCESS STORY: Kim joined the Agawam Day Habilitation Program as an introvert. Initially, she struggled with making friends and respecting personal space. Kim is more social than ever, walking all over the program to visit with friends.

She also participates in activities that weren’t so easy to achieve in the past. Kim loves to join others in group craft activities and is very helpful to others throughout the experience. Kim is better at letting her needs be known in a positive way. She is also great at asking for attention in an appropriate manner. Kim has become the “Mayor” of Agawam Day Hab.

Westover Maintenance Systems

"I have been at Westover since October of 2019, Juan and the Sunshine Village Team he is a part of is the best and I am very grateful for their services. I never have to ask him or his teammates for anything because all the service they provide is pristine. Occasionally they even vacuum my office on non-vacuum days. They are the best and I am grateful for Juan and his teams' services."

-- Jeffery J. Bennett, MSgt, USAF

Flight Chief

Ensure the financial stability of SSV with sound governance and

strong leadership that strives for excellence while adhering to thoughtful policies, transparent practices, proactive planning

and continuous improvement. 

AT A GLANCE: Our FY2023 Financial Audit showed SSV is a strong, financially viable organization. At the end of June 2023, revenues totaled $15.3 million. Employees numbered 179. Clients being served through in person services in Chicopee, Three Rivers and Agawam totaled 380.  

34th Annual Sunshine Village

Golf Tournament

The 2023 Golf Tournament was an incredible success! Tournament Sponsors Chicopee Savings Bank Charitable Foundation, Westfield Bank and PeoplesBank led a contingent of generous sponsors that created a day that was a financial success! A full roster of golf teams made for a fun day! Visit our website to see all of our sponsors and more pictures from this GREAT event!

Click here to view more photos from our 34th Annual Golf Tournament - 2023

Enhance service provision by investing in technology and infrastructure while ensuring that all environments are safe, welcoming, and inclusive for all. 

Security Risk Assessment

We renovated the bathrooms and the flooring in our Casey Building – and we are planning on renovating the bathrooms in our Knights Building in 2024. We have incorporated recommendations from the second Security Risk Assessment that was completed by a former law enforcement professional – helping to keep our clients, employees and guests safer in our buildings.

The organization developed a one-year plan Strategic Technology Plan for FY2023 – with 24 goals involving policy, software, website/virtual platforms, hardware and security. All 24 goals – 100% - were achieved. We are realizing our goals for FY2024 now!

Continue to be an “Employer of Choice” investing in our workforce through a competitive and comprehensive total rewards plan

and professional development program, while emphasizing

wellness and valuing work-life balance.

Compensation and Benefits

We realize that our paid employees are our greatest asset – and the Board of Directors work hard to provide annual raises – now coupled with Appreciation and Retention Bonuses. SSV made a BOLD investment this year – using $1.3 million to provide significant increases to all employees. The entry level wage is now $21. All DSPs and Drivers received a 17.5% increase while all other positions received a 12% increase. Truly, we are an Employer of Choice!

Professional Development

We continue to invest in our employees – using our electronic training platform to provide a comprehensive Annual Training Program.  We are reigniting our Leadership Development Initiatives and redesigning how we provide professional development to all levels of employees.

Appreciation and Recognition

To enhance our retention efforts, we thank our employees in so many ways – all directed by a very robust Appreciation and Wellness Calendar. 


We cannot thank our employees enough – those who returned to us after the emergency closure – and those who began working with us during our reopening and rebuilding phases. We are so lucky to have committed, caring people who are kind and compassionate.  


Throughout the years since 1967, Sunshine Village has achieved the dream of our founders in many ways. The agency has offered a variety of innovative programs designed to meet the ever-changing demands of its clientele. The organization provides a host of unique life, work and community engagement supports for individuals with developmental disabilities and autism spectrum disorders – while also having the capacity to successfully serve people with significant challenges - cognitively, physically and behaviorally – and complicated medical conditions.


Sunshine Village currently provides a host of life, work and community engagement services and works hard to design supports that continue to meet the needs of people with intellectual disabilities as well as people on the autism spectrum. These services are:  

LIFE ENGAGEMENT SERVICES (Therapeutic Day Habilitation Services)

Life Engagement Services is a medically based program with services augmented with clinical supports as necessary, including speech and language, physical and occupational therapies and access autism consultants. The program’s focus is on building functional life skills, including social, communication, personal wellness and independent living. In addition to providing this type of programming at the main campus of Sunshine Village in Chicopee, the organization also operates community-based sites in Three Rivers and Agawam.  


Employment Services offers people a variety of paid work experience through supervised teams at local business settings. Additionally, staff work to train and place individuals directly into competitive jobs and within entrepreneurial opportunities. The organization also holds a federal contract that supports a commercial cleaning company that maintains the buildings and hangers at Westover Air Reserve Base. 



Community Engagement Services offer individuals activities involving wellness, recreation, community engagement, technology, self-advocacy and personal development. Individuals on a Career Track are also supported in professional development, entrepreneurial opportunities and volunteering to build their resumes and job skills. Those on the Retirement Track are supported in healthy aging with relationship building and life-long learning activities and the FUSION program allows access to clinical and nursing services. This program is designed to both compliment and act as a wrap-around support to both Life Engagement and Work Services for individuals with complex needs.   


Our website serves as a GREAT resource to: explore our Virtual Services, experience our Virtual Calming Corner and find Polar Packets when Sunshine Village is closed due to inclement weather.

Visit our Website
Virtual Services
Calming Corner


Sunshine Village has partnerships with numerous civic, charitable, and municipal organizations to support community based volunteer opportunities and recreational options. Additionally, the organization works with several local businesses through its “Bringing the Community to Us” program – where wellness coaches and performance artists host their sessions at programmatic sites.  


We appreciate all the support we have received from our community over the past 56 years. THANK YOU for helping us to improve the lives of people with developmental and intellectual disabilities – and deliver on our promise of a GREAT day, every day!


Together, we are SHINING EVEN BRIGHTER!!

If you would like to make a donation to Sunshine Village’s ANNUAL APPEAL, please click the DONATE BUTTON below

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