City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More
Program manager Lisa Montero with greeter Jessica Williams

Featured Article

Shining On at Sunshine Village

Local Agency Provides Growth Opportunities

In a large warehouse-style building that has been customized to offer its clients a vast array of experiences, Sunshine Village’s doors open to reveal an agency that has been making a difference for over 50 years. Located near Agawam’s industrial park area, Sunshine Village provides a place for adults with developmental or intellectual disabilities to learn and grow.

This nonprofit organization has provided an assortment of activities and services as a way to enrich and enhance the lives of its members. In addition to a variety of employment and community service programs, Sunshine Village offers art and culinary classes, fitness sessions, professional development initiatives, and other courses that teach and promote lifelong skills.

Sunshine Village has returned to providing in-person services for its clients. During the pandemic, the organization had to adapt its offerings, providing programs, activities, and resources, providing many of these services remotely. The return to in-person participation has required modifications – such as updates to mask policies – along the way.

Jessica Williams, a member of the organization, says, “Sunshine Village is awesome.  They give us so many great opportunities. I love to come to Sunshine Village, and I really like the staff. They care about me. It’s a great place to be.”

Lisa Montero, the Program Manager, appreciates that “the folks we support are given the opportunity to grow and ‘SHINE’ daily” through the initiatives provided by Sunshine Village.

Not only is it a great place for the clients, but it is also a lovely place of employment. Gina Kos, the Executive Director of Sunshine Village, takes great pride in her career: “I celebrated my 30-year anniversary with Sunshine Village just a few months ago – and that milestone anniversary was a reminder that I am so lucky that I have a career that has offered me the gift of helping people achieve their dreams.”

The Agawam chapter, located at 588 Silver Street, is a branch of the main campus, which is on 75 Litwin Lane in Chicopee. There is also a third branch, located at 4 Springfield Street in Three Rivers.

  • Gina Kos, executive director, at Sunshine Village's Agawam location
  • Pamela Gardner, Jason Ramos, and Ellen Spadoni in front of the seasonally decorated holiday tree
  • Program manager Lisa Montero with greeter Jessica Williams