Recognizing the Women Who are Part of Thrive’s History & Future
by Sean Rose, President & CEO
This March, two worlds collide with the celebration of Developmental Disabilities (DD) Awareness Month and Women’s History Month. Some of you may know that the history of Thrive stems from the strength and determination of a group of mothers who broke norms and barriers to support what was right for their children and families. As we mark Women’s History and DD Awareness month, I’d like to share some stories of women who have impacted this organization and my life personally.
In the early 1970s, a group of mothers who realized their children with intellectual disabilities needed a social outlet started Greater Marlborough Programs, Inc. (GMPI), now known as Thrive Support & Advocacy. The Social & Recreation program that Thrive runs today is the brainchild of these moms. Their idea to create a social network for their children set a foundation of acceptance for the community, plus, introduced their children to experiences and connections they had never known.
Like many women who have brought about change, the foresight and tenacity that these mothers demonstrated were unrivaled. Their efforts have transformed the lives of hundreds of adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The organization, which started with a few families organizing social activities for their children, now supports more than 800 individuals and families, and offers hundreds of experiences each year.
As I recognize the determined women that started Thrive, it causes me to pause and reflect on the women that have impacted my life. I was raised by a single mother, and her nine, yes nine, sisters were a huge part of my upbringing. Now, raising four daughters, I see first-hand how my childhood has given me a unique view of the power of women and the fundamental need for a woman’s perspective, especially in the workplace.
As we move through Women’s History and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Months, I pay tribute to the Thrive female founders, leaders, and staff, who, through their actions, have brought about awareness and inclusion for those with developmental disabilities. I recognize and applaud their influence in carrying out the Thrive mission and value the perspective they bring to the organization.