Written by Becki Grainger, LIFE Individual and blogger

A few months ago, I learned that Diane Enochs was planning to retire this coming new year. I decided it would be a great idea to do an introspective on her.

It’s a great way for me to get back into what is my biggest interest, which is writing, and I know how much of an impact Diane has had on the community over the past thirteen years.

I’ve been a resident of LIFE Inc.’s Mashpee SIL program since June 2010, just a few months before Diane became the executive director. When I first came here there were only about thirty residents on this campus, including myself. The six-plex hadn’t been built yet because there wasn’t as high a demand for advanced support then as there is now. As of 2023, the Mashpee campus has been filled to its maximum capacity with about 46 residents. That’s an increase of about 25%! Not only has the Mashpee campus grown in that time, but LIFE, Inc. has expanded across the Cape.

Since Diane Enochs has been the executive director of LIFE, Inc., the program has expanded not only with support provided to individuals such as myself, but we have a wider variety of offerings today. In October 2010, we only had the Mashpee and Hyannis SIL campuses, with less than one hundred individuals receiving support.

Today, we have not only these two campuses, but we also have the SIL campus up in Plymouth, as well as an individual supports program and the Community-based Day Services (CBDS) program for those who are not residents. As of 2023, we have more than three hundred individuals who receive services through the various programs provided by LIFE, Inc.

When four residents of Mashpee’s SIL program were asked questions on how LIFE, Inc. has changed over the years and in what ways Diane Enochs has impacted them, the answers were both varied and very similar. These four residents have been part of the program since as far back as the 1990s to as recently as 2018.

When Amanda C. was asked how LIFE, Inc. has improved for her in the nine years since she’s been part of the program, she commented that, “LIFE, Inc. has changed my life so much since 2014 when I first started. I have learned a lot, grown more independent and most important of all want to strive to live a happy and healthy lifestyle.”

Group of walkers on the path next to the Cape Cod Canal
(Photo: group LIFE fitness walk along the Cape Cod canal)

Since I’ve been living here, I’ve noticed that LIFE, Inc. has begun to offer more services and fun activities to residents. I’m now able to enjoy social outings that were not available to us back in 2010, like going to Providence, RI this past spring to see the Tudor-era inspired musical Six!

Austin K., who has been part of the program since 1999, notes that when he first joined there was no such thing as a vacation club. They just didn’t have the funds or means for that until the late 2000s/early 2010s, around the time Diane Enochs became the CEO. Since then, there have been fun visits to Disney World, the cruise to Bahamas, and even a trip to Mexico.

When they were asked how Diane Enochs has impacted the community, all four Mashpee SIL residents shared very similar praise. “Diane has changed my life by supporting me in every aspect of my life from having the best staff to being a part of the best community.” Amanda C. says. “She did the newsletter feature on my weight loss earlier this year.” Ben M. says, with a look of pride on his face.

“The impact Diane has made on the community is embracing the individual.” Corinne W., a part-time LIFE, Inc. employee in Mashpee says. “When you grow a business, you don’t always have a community feeling because it gets too big. But this was not the case with LIFE, Inc.; Diane has always been great at continuing to be inclusive. We still have that sense of community here in Mashpee.”

I asked a couple Mashpee SIL staff how Diane Enochs has impacted the LIFE, Inc. community and how she has been an inspiration for them. “Diane Enochs has always been a friendly face. She always says hi and is around to talk if you ever need to.” Emily, an employment counselor with the Hyannis SIL program, says.

“Diane was very supportive during the COVID-19 Pandemic. It was nice that she continued to support us so that we felt comfortable coming to work or were able to work from home. It was a scary time, navigating unknown territory.” Rachelle J., service coordinator of the Mashpee SIL program says. I recall that there were letters of reassurance that got sent out to parents and guardians of residents that their loved ones were being taken care of by staff at the program.

“DIane has always been supportive of the Special Olympics program, allowing everyone that wants to participate. Not only has Diane been a supporter of the Lovin’ LIFE 5k, but she has even participated. That isn’t something a lot of CEO’s would do, they just stay out of the way.” Corinne says. “So, Diane has been incredibly supportive.”

The consensus among Mashpee SIL residents and staff is that Diane Enochs has been an inspiration and I asked them in what way Diane has inspired them. “She makes sure you are heard.” Amanda C. says and I agree. She has a wholesome heart, she’s kind, whenever I go to the rec hall and see her, she always says hi to me with a big smile on her face. “She has inspired me to be the best person I can be, and to believe I can do anything.” Jill C says.

“Diane Enochs fosters a supportive and open environment. As an employment counselor in Hyannis, I want to be able to do the same for those that I work with. I want to inspire these individuals just as Diane has inspired me. In fact, I think everyone should do that, foster a supportive and open work environment.” Emily says.

“I have always enjoyed working with Diane. She is a great listener, she has great communication skills. I think always being supportive, allowing us to trial and error to reach for greater things instead of limiting us. It was nice that, when I was overseeing individuals to see whether individuals were a nice fit for Mashpee or having a roommate with a current resident, Diane was always respectful of my thoughts on the matter. That makes a big difference when you work with someone, to share your opinions with someone who listens.” Rachelle Jonas says.

“I would say Diane has inspired me to be the best person I can be both as a private individual, and a staff. I’m impressed that she addresses everyone by their first name. It’s an inspiration that she takes what’s important to her and takes the time to know what really matters.” Corinne says.

The most inspiring thing to me is that Diane Enochs has made LIFE feel like home.

About the Author

Becki G. was born and raised in Framingham, MA where she attended a school for the Deaf all throughout childhood. She first moved to LIFE at Mashpee in 2010 and enjoys the support she gets from the staff on campus. She likes reading on her Kindle, taking pictures of nature, listening to music, streaming TV shows, and writing on her blog.