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Joan, aka the “Sweet Lady” of Lynn, is a legally-blind 83-year-old who loves roller coasters and vacationing in New York and New Hampshire. This year, she celebrates more than 40 years in services as a resident of Bridgewell, a nonprofit that helps those with disabilities and other life challenges to live safe, self-directed and productive lives.

Joan is one of Bridgewell’s longest individuals currently in services. Yet because of this, she is able to live her life to the fullest despite the challenges she faces as a legally blind senior citizen. Because of Bridgewell, Joan lives independently in her apartment and enjoys cooking and other recreational activities with fellow residents. She is always encouraged to be herself, helping her achieve the “Sweet Lady” moniker by neighbors and Lynn residents.

In 1977, Joan joined Bridgewell at the age of 43 after attending the Walter E. Fernald State School (later named the Walter E. Fernald Development Center), the oldest publicly-funded institution for individuals with developmental disabilities. She has remained an active participant in her community through her work at Goodwill and participation in various community meetings. She is a true example of a Bridgewell success story.