Weekend Recreation Participants and Families Celebrate a Beloved Leader

Weekend Community Respite program

Danica Lafortune, center, is flanked by appreciative families. To her right are Kenny and his mom, Andrea. To her left are Mandy and her mom, Pamela.



For more than 18 years, Danica Lafortune had been a central figure, heading Weekend Recreation. This program serves families in Passaic and Essex counties, New Jersey. This summer, however, Danica accepted a new opportunity. As an expression of thanks, Monique Calixte, Community Support Senior Coordinator, organized a farewell party, which took place at the Little Falls Civic Center. Gratified parents and guardians contributed food and drinks. “This part of Danica’s legacy,” said Pamela McNeil, whose daughter has been part of the program for a long time. “Miss Danica is a guardian angel.”


Weekend Recreation community respite New Jersey

Alyssa is pleased with the photo frame she made, while Stephaie completes hers. The photos depicted past Weekend Recreation events.

Everyone had the opportunity to share their thoughts and wishes on a note card. Photos depicting Weekend Recreation events and the individuals enjoying them over the years were on every table. There were also portraits. Anyone who wanted to was invited to include a favorite shot with the note card. Chris, one of the participants, took a selfie and included an Instagram post in his note. “Danica was a great staff to have. She was dedicated and cares for the individuals we serve,” says Monique, “She is going to be missed.”


Many parents expressed they were sad to see her [Danica] go. But their memories were nothing but happy. Said Pamela, “I wish the world had more Miss Danicas!”


Weekend Recreation will continue, in the highly capable hands of Julissa Herrera, M.S.W. We will feature more profiles of her leadership and the individuals and their families her program will continue to serve.


Weekend Recreation community respite New Jersey

C.J. signs a card in which he shared his favorite memory of Danica.

Weekend Recreation community respite New Jersey

Weekend Recreation particpants and their families share a buffet lunch and conversation.



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