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 independent adults.
THANK YOU! - Questions?
The '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 to come.
For information on supporting the residence through a monetary or in-kind donation, please call 908-766-7898 x371 or email