As we transition through fall, I’m reminded of the spirit of community that is such a vibrant part of our lives in Otsego County. This sense of connection and shared values that sustains us through good times and challenging times is why “community matters”.
Each October, Pathfinder Village observes National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. This year, like many prior, we celebrated with many on and off-campus activities. One of our favorite traditions is hosting the Edmeston Community Trick or Treat event here at Pathfinder. Residents and staff decorate our Village, design and decorate the haunted hall in the Commons Building, and most importantly, hand out Halloween candy from our many homes and community buildings. Over 200 children and their families enjoy this annual event. The significance of this event is that 42 years ago when Pathfinder Village was founded, there was very little community engagement for people living with intellectual disabilities in our communities. Today, we are living, working, and contributing together to our communities.
Pathfinder Village is a unique setting here in the western part of Otsego County, attracting families, educators, researchers, and other interested individuals from over 23 countries and 20 different states. This attraction is primarily because we have created a place where individuals and families touched by Down syndrome can find their community, no different than you and me…we all search for community in our lives. Yes, we provide state of art education, employment and residential supports for children and adults, but our sustaining mission is to facilitate community so, as our tagline states, “…that each life may find meaning.” Part of the magic of Pathfinder is this region, this county and its openness and compassion for one another.
As we approach the holiday season and continue to battle COVID-19, on behalf of Pathfinder Village, I want to say Thank You Otsego County for helping people with intellectual disabilities find community in their lives. Over the coming months, I will share stories and events of Pathfinder Village that illustrate how we are all part of the same community and why “community matters.”
To find out more about Pathfinder Village visit our website: www.pathfindervillage.org.
Paul C. Landers
President & CEO,