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About FirstLight
in New Haven

Home Care is Not a Career, It’s a Calling

We know your first priority when choosing a home care provider is finding someone you can trust and rely on… someone who will care for 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 home care 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 home care while searching for care for my adult autistic son. I discovered circumstances that created a gap between the need for care and the ability of great caregivers to meet that need. I decided to create a service model that both serves clients and the hard working individuals whose calling is caregiving. 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 therapy 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 home care 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.

Patricia Hooper, Operations Manager Norwalk

Patricia Hooper, Operations Manager Norwalk

Patricia, a veteran of the senior care industry, crossed over from assisted living to home care when she joined FirstLight. Having managed both standard and memory care assisted living, she brings a wealth of understanding to identifying and addressing the needs of both clients and caregivers alike. “I love bringing a human connection into the process of filling a client’s request. Forming relationships with our clients and caregivers brings me great joy.”  Patricia holds a Bachelors of Science from North Carolina Central University.  She spends her free time collecting spiritual books and journals, and loves being a positive light to friends, family and strangers alike.

Jennifer White, Office Manager

Jen manages our Southbury office and is responsible for scheduling and coordinating client care across the company. She has degrees in business management and occupational therapy. “I love caring for seniors and their families. I was a FirstLight caregiver before becoming an office manager. In my current position, I am able to leverage my training and experience to help the entire FirstLight client base, although at times I still miss providing hands on care. I have a special needs son. It was through caring for him, I first learned how much difference good care can make.” Jen loves gardening and reading a good book.

Chelsia Lawlor, Care Coordinator

Chelsia is responsible for scheduling care for our clients. She makes sure that nearly 100 caregivers get to the right place each day. Before becoming a scheduler, Chelsia was a CNA for several years. “I am a problem solver by nature and I love applying my skills to ensuring that FirstLight’s clients are well served. It is an honor to provide care for the elderly community and others in need.” Outside of work, Chelsia enjoys caring for her son, writing, exercising, and cooking.

Emily Thomann, Outreach Coordinator

Emily is Firstlight’s Outreach Coordinator where she helps to build relationships with the many diverse communities served by FirstLight. “I was a caregiver to my grandmother for several years. In the process I learned how satisfying working with seniors could be.” Emily has an associate degree in business and is working on her Bachelor’s degree. “I was also a hairdresser for seven years and that’s where I learned how to connect with people and build relationships.” Outside of work, Emily loves spending time with her large family and with her dog, Brody.

Liz O’Brien, Care Coordinator

Liz is responsible for scheduling and coordinating care for FirstLight’s live in clients. Before joining FirstLight’s Norwalk office, Liz worked for many years for a landscaping company, where she was office manager, scheduler, and all around problem solver. “I’ve always been the one to jump in help when someone was in need. That makes FirstLight a great place for me now.” Over her career, Liz has been responsible for a wide range of management functions including HR, scheduling, invoicing, and bookkeeping.

Heather Young, Recruiter

Heather is responsible for recruiting caregivers to join the FirstLight team. Prior, she was a FirstLight caregiver herself, for four years working with clients with dementia, hospice needs, and Parkinson’s disease. “I love working for where I can really make a difference in the world.

For instance, during the Covid pandemic, I worked exclusively for one family served by FirstLight. Because of quarantine restrictions, I became their window to the outside world.” Before becoming a caregiver, Heather had a successful career in finance and retail sales. She holds an associate degree in early childhood education and a bachelor’s degree in history.

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 home care business really was. I soon realized that in addition to providing empathic and clinically sound care, a good home care company must excel at handling the rapidly changing information created by our clients and their families, as well as by our caregivers and their families.” Now I’m applying my skills to helping FirstLight help our clients.

Sandra Palmer, Payroll and Receiable

Sandra handles a number of human resource functions for FirstLight. Sandra was a FirstLight caregiver for several years before transitioning to our office. “I wanted to join a caregiving company because I wanted others to have the same kind of care that I wanted for my own parents. I really enjoy working directly with our FirstLight caregivers 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, Registered Nurse

Nancy has been a registered nurse for more than 40 years. She is FirstLight’s nurse-consultant. In addition to her private practice, Nancy does insurance-related assessments for FirstLight and advises the company on clients’ care plans. Her experience spans hospital work, home care, sub-acute care, and long-term care. “I always see the glass as half full. I stress this to my patients because I know that my positive attitude will speed their recoveries.” 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’s what we believe in above all else as they guide our 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 Culture of Care philosophy that motivates us to do more as we serve others.

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.

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.