ABOUT MELISSA RIGGIO RESIDENCE
to download the brochure.
The Residence has been built! Click here for pictures.
When the Somerset Hills YMCA received the incredible gift of a 5.5 acre
parcel of land in 1994, exciting and ambitious plans to further serve the
residents of the Somerset Hills area were immediately hatched. With its mission
to serve all people regardless of financial status, its solid tract record of
providing programming to the special needs population, and its plentiful
partnerships with like-minded organizations, a rare opportunity to offer
integrated support services to adults with developmental disabilities has now
become a reality.
Founded in honor of Melissa Ann Riggio, who was born with Down syndrome, the
Melissa Riggio Residence will represent a dream come true for individuals with
special needs in our community. It will provide them independence, dignity and
stability; a place to call their own; a home of which to be proud. Fulfilling
the dream that Melissa had to one day have her own home in Basking Ridge, New
Jersey, six residents will cross the threshold of the residence founded in her
name and will enter their new home, a place to laugh, learn, and live as
'Melissa Riggio Residence' is a ranch style home that blends perfectly
with the surrounding area and is located on property adjacent to the YMCA’s
Mount Airy Road facility. Each resident has their own bedroom, bathroom,
and kitchen area and will share all of the other spaces in the home. With
kitchen, living, dining and great rooms, a deck and walkout lower level, this
beautiful home lends each individual the rare opportunity to experience
integrated residential, vocational, educational, and recreational lifestyles.
Activities that most take for granted, such as cooking, socializing and
learning, will be a part of their everyday lives.
The Somerset Hills YMCA is proud to partner with Our House, Inc. as the service
provider to the residents of the Melissa Riggio Residence. For more information
about Our House, Inc., please call 908.464.8008 or visit http://www.ourhousenj.org/.
ABOUT OUR INSPIRATION
Melissa Ann Riggio, who was born with Down Syndrome, lived a
full and extraordinary life. She was a strong and optimistic young woman and
was an inspiration to everyone who had the opportunity to know her. In May
2003, Melissa received the Self Advocate Award from The National Down Syndrome
Society (NDSS) at their annual spring luncheon in Manhattan, which also honored
Senator Hillary Rodham-Clinton.
A graduate of Bernards High School, Class of 2007, Melissa was so loved and
admired by her classmates that they crowned her Prom Queen at her senior prom.
She was employed by the Somerset Hills YMCA in Basking Ridge, where she worked
in the office and assisted in the Wellness Center. Melissa had plans to enter a
post secondary program so that she could become a counselor at the YMCA. She
loved to read and listen to music. And she loved to write – as a poet and a
songwriter, Melissa was taking voice, drama, and dance lessons, and aspired to
become a singer one day. Melissa Ann Riggio was 20 years when she passed away
after a courageous battle with leukemia in 2008.
The 'Melissa Riggio Residence', as well as Y programs for those with
special needs made possible thanks to the Strong Kids Campaign and
our Endowment Fund, will ensure that other young adults, like Melissa, can
enjoy the benefits of being a part of the Somerset Hills YMCA for generations
information on supporting the residence through a monetary or in-kind donation,
please call 908-766-7898 x100.