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About FirstLight
in New Haven

It's Not a Career, It’s a Calling

We know your first priority when choosing a provider is finding someone you can trust and rely on… someone who will look after your loved one as you would, and as we would our own. We’ve been where you are, and this is one of the main reasons we chose to be in this business.

John Richards, Co-Owner

Together with his spouse, Wenjun, John founded FirstLight in 2015. “Wenjun and I know that great service can truly make a difference in people’s lives. We learned this from personal experience while caring for my aging parents and our autistic son. Now, at FirstLight, we are the ones making a difference in the lives of our clients and their families each and every day.” Prior to starting FirstLight, John had a multifaceted career in finance, university teaching and consulting. “Solving complex problems to provide folks with exceptionally high quality service is what I’ve always done. My success starts with being an extraordinary listener.” John is a Trustee of the First Congregational Church of Ridgefield and on the Board of Directors of Ability Beyond, a large, non-profit agency caring for more than 3,000 developmentally challenged adults in Connecticut and New York. He has a Bachelors from University of Illinois and a Master of Economics from the University of Wisconsin. In his free time, John enjoys gardening and community service.

Wenjun Liu-Richards, Co-Owner

“I first encountered the world of non-medical home care while searching for help for my adult autistic son. I discovered circumstances that created a gap between the need for service and the ability of great providers to meet that need. I decided to create a service model that both serves clients and the hard working individuals whose calling is helping others. That model became FirstLight!” Before spending several wonderful years as a stay-at-home mom caring for her two sons, Wenjun had a successful career in finance, trading stock options as a Vice President at Morgan Stanley and then Merrill Lynch. She has a Bachelors from Hunan University in China and a Master of Environmental Science from Penn State. When not working or volunteering in her community, Wenjun is happiest spending time with her sons.

Monique Bongartz, Director of Business Development

Monique is FirstLight’s Director of Business Development where she is responsible for building relationships with the many communities we serve. “I often do art projects with groups of seniors. Seeing the joy they get when they create something is one of the most satisfying parts of my job. I was first called to this industry as part of a large family team that cared for my father as he aged.” Prior to joining FirstLight, Monique was a Vitas representative, offering Hospice services and education throughout CT. She spent many years as a medical case manager and before that she was a freelance photographer. She has a bachelor’s degree in Communications from St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame and a master’s degree from New York University. Monique enjoys spending her free time doing photography and raising chickens and ducks on the farm she shares with her husband in Danbury, CT.

Helen Baez-O'Brien, Director of Community Outreach

Helen joins FirstLight as the Director of Community Outreach. Helen has a bachelor’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation and Psychology from Lehman College and resides in Northern Westchester. Coming to FirstLight with a wealth of healthcare experience, most recently as the Director of Therapeutic Recreation in a long-term care setting, Helen hopes to holistically address the physical and psychological needs of our clients. When asked what she likes most about working with the elderly, Helen responded that “She loves building relationships and getting to know people’s stories.” When Helen isn’t working she is tending to her plants, listening to live music shows, or hanging out with her daughters and good friends.

Bailey Windischman, Care Coordinator

Bailey is a Care Coordinator positioned out of the Southbury office. Inspired by her mother who is a lifelong caregiver and her grandmother who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, Bailey brings a personal connection to all the clients she works with. A graduate of Southern Connecticut State University, Bailey earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in the hope of working with her local community. “Working in home care has given me a huge sense of accomplishment. I go home every day knowing that I put a smile on someone’s face and helped build quality relationships between my clients and caregivers.” Outside of work, you can find Bailey walking her Dog Rosie with a cup of coffee in hand.

Vanessa Lucewicz, Care Coordinator

Vanessa works as a Care Coordinator in Southbury. Vanessa started her career as an LPN providing skilled nursing services to the elderly. After earning a Ph.D. In Healthcare Administration, Vanessa transitioned into the office where she has worked in a variety of healthcare settings over the last 40 years. “I started in homecare to provide support and help enable clients to remain as independent as possible in the comfort of their own homes”. Outside of work, she likes to spend time with her cat, 3 dogs, her husband, and work on her jewelry business, Impressive Designs, which features in a variety of shows and craft fairs in New Haven County.

Sheryl King, Care Coordinator

Sheryl is a Care Coordinator based in our Norwalk office.  She oversees the coordination of caregiver scheduling and the implementation of client care plans.  Sheryl is responsible for building and maintaining positive relationships with caregivers and clients, while ensuring the needs of our client’s are being met on all levels.  Prior to joining First Light, Sheryl was an SVP and key contributor with a consulting firm focused on how to achieve sustainable high performance in the workplace.  It is those unique skills, as well as her passion to serve others beyond herself, that shine through and drive Sheryl to add value and make a positive difference.  In her spare time, Sheryl enjoys being by the sea, gardening and hiking with her pup, Rosie.

Priscilla, Talent Acquisition Specialist

Priscilla is a Talent Acquisition Specialist based in Southbury. Priscilla is responsible for recruiting, retaining, and training our 200 caregivers. Before FirstLight, Priscilla had 7 years of experience sourcing and onboarding employees in the manufacturing industry. Priscilla also worked as a caregiver for over 5 years and as a Secretary at the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services for the State of Connecticut. “I have a passion for helping people and connecting clients with their perfect caregivers. I derive joy from helping grow the bond between people.” When not hiring the next generation of caregivers, Priscilla is jewelry making and traveling.

Benjamin Parke, Operations Manager

Ben initially joined FirstLight in a human resources capacity and later transitioned into his role as Operations Manager. Ben is responsible for ensuring a high quality of service for our over 100 clients. Before FirstLight, Ben studied English and Political Science at the University of Connecticut where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. “This company has become the start of a career for me. I was initially hesitant to join the home care industry having minimal knowledge of the field, but as time went on I have continued to expand the wealth and depth of my knowledge to serve adults across CT. Providing quality solutions, building a base of well-trained and personable caregivers, and cultivating a team that can quickly and efficiently address any home care need are paramount to my work here. I know that our size, experience, and methods put us in a position to handle nearly any request for care, no matter what that may entail.” After hours, Ben enjoys spending time with his cat Pumpkin, reading, and visiting local coffee shops.

Henin Chen, System Analyst

Henin’s training is in information systems and problem-solving. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology from National Yunlin University, Taiwan. “Before I joined FirstLight, I did not realize how complex the business really was. I soon realized that in addition to providing empathic and clinically sound service, a good company must excel at handling the rapidly changing information created by our clients and their families, as well as by our staff and their families.” Now I’m applying my skills to helping FirstLight help our clients.

Sandra Palmer, Payroll and Receivable

Sandra handles a number of human resource functions for FirstLight. Sandra was a FirstLight team member for several years before transitioning to our office. “I wanted to join a company like FirstLight because I wanted others to have the same kind of attention that I wanted for my own parents. I really enjoy working directly with our FirstLight team and with my office colleagues.” Before joining FirstLight, Sandra worked with National Public Radio. She attended UCLA, specializing in the life sciences. When not working, Sandra most enjoys her family and travel to exotic places.

Nancy Prescott, Consultant

Nancy advises the company on how best to coordinate our non-medical services with the care provided by medical professionals. In addition to her private practice, Nancy also does insurance-related assessments. “I always see the glass as half full. I stress this because I know that my positive attitude will speed recovery. Nancy’s nursing degree is from Stamford Hospital School of Nursing. She enjoys travel, homemaking, and her new grandson.

Vision & Mission

At FirstLight Home Care, we envision a world in which all adults may age with comfort, dignity and independence in the place they call home. We exist to help people have their best day, every day. Our mission is to provide compassionate home care so that the families we serve have peace of mind knowing their loved ones are receiving the support they need to enjoy the quality of life they deserve.

Core Values

We live these core values every day, without compromise. It is what we believe in above all else as they guide our home care company and team members to help us achieve our mission.

Focus Relationships First

Focus on Relationships First

We have a genuine concern for the health and well-being of others and an incredible opportunity to help people live their best lives. By focusing on relationships, we create caring environments where people are encouraged to use their unique experiences and backgrounds to create lasting bonds. This is our philosophy, which motivates us to do more as we serve others.

Act with Integrity

Act with Integrity

We’re honest, trustworthy and committed to doing the right thing. Providing service with integrity means we consistently do what we say we’re going to do, communicate with transparency and hold ourselves accountable for our actions.

Give Joy

Give Joy

We find, bring and share joy in our work every day. By practicing kindness, gratitude, and having a positive attitude, we bring happiness and genuinely make people feel good.

Grow Together

Grow Together

We strive to build and nurture a culture that creates strong teams, fosters curiosity and connects ideas. This drives us to break the status quo and, together, find ways to consistently improve and grow.

Make A Difference Every Day

Make a Difference Every Day

Each day we are inspired to make a difference in people’s lives, and we have a sincere desire to make the world a better place. We seek to improve the lives of others through our dedication to reliable, professional first-class service.