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Pathlight Awards $5,000 Scholarship, Supervision Award to Staff Member

SPRINGFIELD — Pathlight, a Valley leader in residential and community services for people with intellectual disabilities and autism, named Program Manager Victoria Barsaleau the recipient of its annual Donald Fletcher Scholarship.

The $5,000 scholarship, which is awarded yearly, is meant to assist an employee in obtaining an undergraduate degree. A committee of Pathlight board members and staff made the selection after receiving applications from employees. The scholarship is named after Donald Fletcher, Pathlight’s former executive director, who was committed to helping staff pursue their education. This scholarship is in addition to Pathlight’s current tuition-reimbursement program.

“We are so proud to be able to support our employees in their education,” said Pathlight Executive Director Ruth Banta, who announced the award on April 7 at the organization’s annual awards lunch at the Log Cabin. “We know that the key to a better life for people with disabilities is a well-supported staff, and this scholarship is one way we can show that support.”

Barsaleau was also recognized for her leadership with Pathlight’s Michelle Reberkenny Supervisor Recognition award.

She started at Pathlight in 2016, but began her career in human services nine years ago, serving as a direct-support professional supporting people with intellectual disabilities and intensive behavioral needs. She got her start in the field after her father drove her to a day program that supports adults with disabilities and encouraged her to apply for a job. “He knew I was destined for this kind of work,” she said. “And he was right. I immediately fell in love.”

Barsaleau is currently working toward her undergraduate degree at Bay Path University, majoring in human services and rehabilitation.

“I was so shocked,” she said about receiving the scholarship. “I’ve been taking out student loans, and this will pay for the remainder of my education.”

Pathlight programs include Whole Children in Hadley and Autism Connections in Easthampton.

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