At age 30, Molly Richards has really established herself in her community on the Seacoast of New Hampshire.

Molly grew up in Stratham and attended Exeter High. Molly has always had a big personality and a great sense of humor. She has a kind heart too, including volunteer work at a nursing home distributing snacks when she was in high school.

When she was still in school, she began receiving support for community participation from Aspire Living & Learning. Molly has Smith-Magenis Syndrome, which caused her to struggle with her emotions and with behavioral expectations in the community when she was younger. “In the beginning we spent a lot of time helping Molly manage her emotions and navigate relationships,” said Program Director Katie Kelly. “All the learning she did had a big impact.”

Molly has many friends, with whom she connects during the week, including some former classmates. On Wednesdays, she meets up with several folks at the McDonald’s for lunch and good conversation. On Fridays, she joins a group that takes day trips, both in and beyond the Seacoast. Recently, they went to a favorite spot, the Seacoast Science Center at Odiorne Point in Rye, NH. “It was all new. They had lobsters, starfish, and jellyfish,” Molly reported.

Molly continues to serve her community, as a longtime volunteer for Aspire’s “bun run.” She helps load and unload donated food from a local Hannaford’s supermarket for St. Vincent De Paul food bank in Exeter. One of the other workers at the food bank is an old neighbor of Molly’s and she enjoys connecting with her there.

When Molly moved out of her family home a few years ago, staying in the Seacoast was a priority so she could maintain all the ties to her community. She is close to her family with both her mom and sister nearby.

Molly is most proud of her new job, bagging groceries at the local Market Basket supermarket. Back at the end of 2021, her mom noticed that they were hiring and suggested it. A little cautious, Molly asked a friend of hers who had worked there what it was like. The friend gave a positive recommendation and encouraged Molly to apply. Molly got help from her then DSP, Ann Stone-Doyon, to put together her resume and prepare for the interview.

When Molly was hired in December, the Market Basket manager trained Molly and Ann on how to bag correctly, and Ann created a work checklist for Molly to refer to. She learned about providing good customer service, even when the customers aren’t always nice. Now Molly does a quick review of expectations with her DSP or program manager, Lydia Mercier, at the start of each shift and takes it from there.

Because everyone came together to support her, Molly is on her way to independence at work. “That’s what community is all about,” observed Katie.


Molly’s Day: All About Community