Ridgefield, CT

FirstLight is About People

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: 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 for our autistic son. Now at FirstLight, we are making a difference in the lives of our clients and their families each and every day.” Prior to starting FirstLight, John had a multi-year career in finance, university teaching, and consulting. “Solving complex problems to provide folks with exceptionally high quality service is what I’ve always done. I’ve learned that this begins with being a good listener.” John enjoys gardening and community service. John is a Trustee of the First Congregational Church of Ridgefield and is on the Board of Directors of Ability Beyond, a large non-profit agency caring for more than 3000 developmentally challenged adults in Connecticut and New York. John has a master’s degree in economics from the University of Wisconsin. ​ 

 Wenjun Liu-Richards: ​”​I first encountered the world of home care while searching for care for my 21 year old, autistic son. I discovered the gap between the need for care and the circumstances that prevent great caregivers from meeting that need. I decided to build a service model that both serves clients’ and also considers those hard working individuals whose calling is caregiving. That became FirstLight!​“​  Wenjun’s ​ previous career was in finance where, as a Vice President at Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch, ​she​ traded stock options. Before starting FirstLight, she​ spent some wonderful years as a stay-at-home mom caring for her​ sons and volunteering in her community. ​She has a master’s degree in environmental engineering from Penn State University. 

Ryan Ventura: Ryan joined FirstLight in 2016. “I care about people, and I have seen how people’s lives improve when they join a community that loves and supports them. In today’s world, it often takes a team to meet people’s complex care-needs, especially those of seniors and folks with special needs.” Prior to FirstLight, Ryan served as a Counselor, Pastor, and Manager in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. Today, Ryan​ works​ to strengthen community relationships, and build a robust caregiving network. In his free time, Ryan likes to travel with his family or read a great book. 

Debbie Battista: Debbie is our Executive Director serving the Shoreline & New Haven Communities. She joined FirstLight in the fall of 2019. She has spent almost three decades in Healthcare, and Education. “I have always felt that caring for others is a privilege that should not be taken lightly. I accepted this role at Firstlight because the leadership exemplifies good core values, and demonstrates a strong moral compass.” When she isn’t busy at work you will find her visiting her mother, who is Memory care, as well as, enjoying her husband and three children, snuggling with her dogs.

Patricia Hooper: Patricia started her role as office manager in August of 2020.  “Although I am not able to see the caregivers, I am can connect with them and develop a relationship over the phone or via text through personal conversations.  I like to bring a human connection into the process of filling a client’s request.”  When she isn’t in the office, she spends her time collecting spiritual books and journals, and loves being a positive light to friends, family and strangers alike.


Jennifer Lewis: Jen joined FirstLight at the end of 2019 as a Human Resource Director.  She came to work for the company with the goal of perfecting any and all Human Resource policies and procedures. She is also supporting the Branford Shoreline office. “I have many years in healthcare, and knowing that you are a part of good people helping, good people, it’s just rewarding.” Jen has a long history in Assisted Living, Human Resources, and Sales. She is a wife to her wonderful husband Adam, and a mother to her beautiful daughter, Ella. Family is her main focus in life and when she is not at work, she is with her family and her dogs. 


Heather Cairella: Heather joined FirstLight at the beginning of 2020 as Operations Manager.  In this industry, it can be challenging to have everything go perfectly all the time. Here at First Light we know that it is all about how you overcome challenges and resolve to fix them that determine the strength of your character. We work hard to ensure clients, caregivers, families & all those we interact with have an enjoyable experience.”  Heather has been an LPN in the state of Connecticut since 2012.  When she isn’t hard at work in the office, she loves spending time with her dog.  

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