Karen Roskin: A Vibrant Life, A Legacy of Friendship (1966-2021)

Karen Roskin passed away recently, leaving behind a beautiful legacy of friendship and memories.

A member of the Abilities First Residential Services community for over 20 years, Karen lived in several places throughout her life, including Violet Gardens, Ermo IRA, Vassar Road IRA, and Sterling Road IRA, touching the lives of so many along the way.

“While Karen lived in supporting environments most of her life, she always wanted to be as independent as possible,” said her sister, Cynthia. “The AF staff supported that, and made Karen feel like family.”

“We knew she was loved very much and well cared for,” added Cynthia.

In earlier years, Karen attended the Abilities First Work Training Center, where she completed piece work. Karen took pride in the work she accomplished at the WTC, and was given the nickname “Rockin Roskin” for all the enthusiasm she had when completing her assignments. 

No matter how large or small her paycheck was, Karen would bring it home at the end of her pay period and proudly display it as she talked about how much she enjoyed working. 

She was selfless with her earnings too, as she often spent her money on gifts for her family or ice cream for her nephews.

Karen was full of light, always the life of the party! She loved dancing at Residential/Day Hab parties and picnics, and she was always a social butterfly. She also enjoyed taking annual vacations with her fellow residents and peers to places like Lake George and area casinos. Despite her battle with diabetes and the challenges life may have thrown at her, Karen never let anything drag her down. She truly lived her life to the fullest.

“For families [who are] making those hard decisions of letting their child live in the community, I empathize with you. However… we never looked at it as ‘putting Karen somewhere’,” Cynthia said. “Rather, we were setting her up for success, protected and supported. We are always family, [always] part of them, but they also need to have their own family, peers, socialization, relevant age activities, and everything else that they desire. Abilities First was that – and more – for Karen.”

Abilities First is pleased to have helped enrich Karen’s life and support her independence, but Karen enriched all of our lives just as much. We are all fortunate to have known her and witness first-hand her enthusiasm for life.