Growing up, Rachel was frequently around people with disabilities. Her parents cared for and adopted multiple special-needs children. And her younger brother, Aaron, was born prematurely and lives with an intellectual disability.

Rachel is grateful for that opportunity. She’s grateful for the experience and perspective it gave her. Now, as an adult, she’s giving her own children that same opportunity as she takes care of Aaron full time. Rachel and her family moved to Ridgefield three years ago, and she now attends nursing school.

“I love that my kids have the opportunity to be around people with disabilities. There’s so many people who grow up and live their whole lives and never have that experience. And then when they do finally see someone with a disability, it’s kind of jarring, and they don’t know how to interact with that person.”

Rachel already sees the empathy in her own children that she learned at a young age.

“When they see other people that are not exactly like them, they’re really good at recognizing that those people are still people, and those people have wants and needs and interests, just like them. I love that.”