What is Maria's Place?
Is to impact the world of older adults through uplifting and purposeful content, support, and resources to maintain or enhance quality of life.
Activities for Everyone
Maria’s Place was created for older adults and all the people and organizations serving this demographic. We believe quality activities should be accessible to everyone, so we have created a free library of over 700 activities catering to social, emotional, cognitive, and physical well-being.
For Organizations and Professionals
Connection is the key to successful interaction with clients. Combining our activities with your initiatives and goals enhances your message and strengthens relationships. Learn more about how we can collaborate together.
And remember, “we don’t stop playing because we
grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.”
(wise words from Mr. George Bernard Shaw).
Our Trusted Experts
Meet the individuals who have made Maria’s place possible. Click on a portrait to read their biographies.
Maria BradyChief of Content
Maria has a passion and love for the older generation.
She embraces the challenge of working with people in varying stages of cognitive ability. In Maria’s Place, she aims to educate, share fun activities, and inspire people to broaden their horizons and expand their life journey.
Maria enjoys the stories of a life lived and believes that it is never too late to learn a new skill.
Maria has a degree in Fine Arts and 20+ years of crafting experience. She has for many years combined her interest in arts and crafts with working with the older generation. Facilitating craft workshops and as an activity director in nursing homes.
Maria is originally from Sweden and lives in Ireland, where she has spent most of her life.
Nichole BontragerChief Executive Officer
Nichole Bontrager is here to serve and lead a life and company full of purpose. She strives to make a difference in the world and has a passion for the older generation.
She is deep-rooted in business and leadership and believes that combining business, purpose, and impact makes for a better world.
Nichole brings team members together who are passionate and are leaders in their fields. Together, they create a powerful force for good.
Nichole lives in the mountains of Colorado with her two children, husband, and animals.
Ulf is a co-founder of Maria's Place along with Nichole, Maria and Ryan. Ulf is a key advisor to the management team. He has been a successful business owner for decades and has a passion for leadership and advising teams on strategy. Ulf cares about having a positive impact on the world, and has found fulfillment while working with the team to enhance the lives of older adults.
Originally from Sweden, the Rocky Mountains in Colorado has been home to him for most of his adult life. When he is not working, he can often be found in the woods exploring with his dog.
Ryan IguchiChief Tech Officer
Ryan is the brains behind the Maria's Place website. With over 25 years of web development and project management experience, he leads Maria’s Place's digital team. Ryan is a solution finder and a creative innovator. He is always thinking up new ways to share education and resources with caregivers around the world.
Through personal experience with his Grandma, he has a deep affinity for caregiver support and lifelong learning. Ryan is based in California, with roots in Colorado.
Destia TaylorVP of Sales
Destia Taylor is passionate about sales, team building, and spreading the message of Maria's Place far and wide. Before Maria’s Place, she managed the top sales team in one of the largest web companies in the US.
Destia is a caring and motivational person who inspires others. She lives in the mountains of Colorado with her husband and two children.
Stephanie GiangiulioDirector of Therapeutic Recreation
Stephanie has a Bachelor's Degree in Therapeutic Recreation and is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist.
She is an expert in adapting and providing meaningful, individualized programming for older adults. Stephanie has a deep passion for helping activity departments to thrive. She serves as a mentor, coach, and success partner to Maria's Place clients.
Before Maria's Place, she served as the Director of Life Enrichment and Volunteer Services in a senior living community. She designed the Life Engagement program from the ground up and brought the community to 5 stars.
Stephanie is from Michigan and now lives in the mountains of Colorado. She is adventurous and family-oriented.
Colbi VaillancourtDirector of Development
Karen FrancisCaregiver Support
Karen is a passionate supporter and educator to both caregivers and people who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia. She is a “Memory Care” consultant.
In Maria’s Place, Karen facilitates online support groups and shares her vast knowledge and experience with us in videos and articles.
Karen is a two-time recipient of the Alzheimer’s Association “Caring Hearts, Helping Hands” Volunteer-of-the-Year award. She also received the Presidential Service Award in 2009 for service to the Alzheimer’s population.
Karen has a Masters Degree in Social Work, a Bachelor of Science in Clinical Psychology, and a Certificate of Gerontology.
She lives in Pennsylvania.