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With an innate friendliness, a sense of compassion, faith, and trust, Esther creates connections


Thirty-two-year-old Esther may be new to the Berkshires, but you wouldn’t know it. With her dark braids and infectious smile, she is quick to make a joke, but it’s clear she takes some things very
seriously—among them, her community. When she made the courageous decision to move farther from her family than she had ever lived before in order to make Riverbrook her home, it was community that she had in mind.

Esther already had one friend at Riverbrook when she moved in—she and Franny were old school friends—but she has been quick to make new friends, both at Riverbrook and in the greater community. She is a deeply compassionate woman with a longtime interest in helping the elderly, so Day Program Director Colleen Powers helped her reach out to Elder Services and find a way to volunteer. Now Esther visits Estelle once a week to provide companionship. She also makes weekly trips to Kimball Farms and Fairview commons, where she visits with residents and sings inspiring, uplifting tunes from her repertoire of religious songs, folk music, and old standards. Esther is Jewish and her faith is also very important to her. Since moving to the Berkshires she has been pleased to find a faith community in the congregation at Hevreh.

While being two hours from family presents some challenges, Esther is not about to let go of her old connections either. She talks to her parents daily, remains close to her sister, and visits home often. She also stays in touch with her beau, Jonathan. Meanwhile her friendships at Riverbrook continue to blossom, thanks in large part to Esther’s own outgoing, caring nature.

“I love being around my friends at Riverbrook, and I like that I can be myself with people here. I like that I can say ‘I love you’ if I want to, because that’s who I am.”

There’s another group of people who are inevitably a part of Esther’s community—Riverbrook’s staff. Esther understands innately that building strong, trusting relationships with staff helps bolster her independence. The depth of her commitment to community means that Esther relies on having staff who know her well, and who she trusts, to remind her to practice self-care daily. At Riverbrook, where staff turnover is dramatically lower than the national average, Esther can trust her one-on-one and direct care staff to help her to be her best self for the community she is fostering.

“Riverbrook is the best thing that has ever happened to me,” Esther says with a grin. She has only just begun to make her mark on the Riverbrook community—and we are so pleased to have her with us here in Stockbridge!

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