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About FirstLight
in Western Connecticut

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.

Patricia Hooper, Operations Manager Norwalk

Patricia, a veteran of the industry, crossed over from assisted living to non-medical 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 team members alike. “I love bringing a human connection into the process of filling a client’s request. Forming relationships 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 services across the company. She has degrees in business management and occupational therapy. “I love seniors and their families. I was a FirstLight team member 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 assistance. I have a special needs son. It was through caring for him, I first learned how much difference I can make.” Jen loves gardening and reading a good book.

Chelsia Lawlor, Service Coordinator

Chelsia is responsible for scheduling service for our clients. She makes sure that nearly 100 team members get to the right place each day. Before becoming a scheduler, Chelsia was a hands-on service provider 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 assistane for the elderly community and others in need.” Outside of work, Chelsia enjoys caring for her son, writing, exercising, and cooking.

Liz O’Brien, Service Coordinator

Liz is responsible for scheduling and coordinating service 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 team members to join FirstLight. Prior, she was a FirstLight team member herself, for four years assisting clients with memory issues, hospice needs, and Parkinson’s disease. “I love working for a company 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 joining FirstLight, 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.

Benjamin Parke, HR Generalist

Ben is responsible for the recruiting and HR functions of our company. He makes sure our thriving organization is properly staffed and trained before our aides provide care to our valued clients. Before joining FirstLight, Ben worked in early childhood education while he was a full-time student at the University of Connecticut, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in Political Science. He feels that “Our caregivers are the most crucial part of our organization and meeting them, hearing their stories, and helping them grow is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world.” Outside of work, Ben can be found backpacking, reading, or visiting our 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’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 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.