Schenectady ARC – “I Make a Difference” Campaign

Schenectady ARC shared stories from their “I Make a Difference” campaign to help us shine a light on the #FacesOfbFair!  Read about Schenectady ARC’s awesome DSPs and the difference they’re making in the lives of the individuals they support below!

Dennis: Dennis at Life Prep 2 is the poster person of gallant! Dennis is ALWAYS PRESENT IN THE MOMENT with whomever he is supporting.  He is a role model and model citizen. Aside from the great life skills that he is always demonstrating and teaching, he is also a master at organizing fun and educational trips. Some of those trips have included: a group of individuals catching a CDTA bus and riding to Colonie Center where they had lunch and then returned to Life Prep 2, apple picking at River View Orchards, visiting the car museum, and accompanying individuals to the bFair2DirectCare rallies. He has organized special visitors at Life Prep 2 as well, such as inviting a WWII Veteran and Assemblymen Steck to speak to the individuals. Dennis also works relief on the weekends at Carlson where he sets time aside to do yard work with an individual. Dennis does all of this because of his huge heart and the true enjoyment that his actions bring to OTHERS!”

Erika: Erika goes above and beyond in every detail of her job. Erika is the most empathetic individual that I ever met in my 24+ years at SARC! Erika does amazing things to ensure the proper care and support of all the individuals on her caseload and within the building. Erika also does relief work and also throws her whole heart and soul into that area as well. Thank you, Erika for all of your great work in making a difference to the people we support!  We appreciate all you do!

Julita: During my weekly visits to classroom 9 at Princetown Ridge Day Center I have been privileged to work alongside an extremely impressive group of Direct Support Professionals, one of whom is Julita. Immediately, I became impressed with her positive and happy outlook and truly sincere compassion for each and every one of the individuals being served in that classroom. More so, she has served as an outstanding mentor in helping me and others learn the role and duties of being a Direct Support Professional. Julita has a heart of gold and a strong work ethic that is evident in her daily work with the people whom we support as well as her coworkers. Julita is always happy, smiling and has a positive influence on those who have the pleasure of meeting and/or working with her. She offers a lending hand wherever and whenever it is needed throughout the building. I appreciate both her infectious positivity and dedication to the people we support at Princetown Ridge.

Gabrielle: Gabrielle  is a very energetic person. She is always smiling and will always go the extra mile. She will pick up hours and come in early even at the last minute. She will volunteer her time to do nice things for the individuals. When she is out she will think of the individuals and bring back gifts or information the individuals would enjoy. She not only helps our guys with achieving their goals, but she will also get out there and do them with them to motivate them further. She writes inspiring quotes for our guys to encourage them when they get down on themselves. The list goes on. She truly is the epitome of “making a difference.” Stuart would not be the same without her!

Nancy: While interviewing Nancy Yarry as a support person for a CQL interview, it became quickly apparent that she strives to find unique and interesting experiences for the individuals she works with in Community Hab. By thinking outside of the box and allowing individuals to experience a variety of new activities, she has discovered activities and interests for individuals that had never been considered before. The staff from the CQL organization who was also present during the interview expressed how impressed he was with Nancy and the supports she provides!”

Andrea: Andrea embodies a true person centered philosophy and has done an amazing job as the Stiles house manager. Not only has Andrea done a fantastic job bringing stability to Stiles house, she has rebuilt their entire team and instilled a strong sense of person first thinking with her staff. Numerous administrators and maintenance staff have commented on what a tremendous job she has done reshaping the culture of that house and even sprucing up the physical plant. Andrea has been extraordinarily flexible and generous with her time, going the extra mile to ensure that the individuals that live at Stiles have the ability to follow through with their plans, goals and dreams. She has come in on her days off to make sure that the individuals have enough staff to facilitate their plans, go out into the community and realize their dreams. Andrea is an outstanding asset not only for Stiles house, but for other houses in residential as she routinely goes above and beyond to help other houses in the division. She has routinely chosen to come in and work extra hours at historically difficult to staff homes and has been recognized within our division for a “Residential Cares Award” for her efforts.

Lisa, Denise, and Nick: Lisa’s passion for her job is palpable. She clearly has a great affection and care for the people that she works with. I have often heard her encouraging the people that she supports and offering praise when they succeed. Denise is extremely creative and dedicated. She spends her off hours planning innovative and motivating activities like the time that she invited individuals in room 4 at Maple Ridge to join her as ‘Traveling Wellness Ambassadors’. She actually furnished a push cart with information and samples of healthy foods. Nick puts forth tremendous effort towards getting to know the individuals that he supports and finding ways to serve them best. He’ll often take the initiative in offering anecdotes or seeking counsel from clinical staff to help the people that he’s working with achieve success. And all 3 of these stellar DSPs work on a rotating basis with a gentleman at Maple Ridge that has an individualized program that includes 1-1 staffing. In this role, Denise, Nick, and Lisa have all become adept at adapting to this person’s needs on any given day and in any number of different social and volunteer contexts. This particular position also requires on-going interactions with the man’s family including written feedback. All 3 DSPs are consistently professional and courteous and often go above and beyond in taking the time to describe challenges and achievements from the day in their correspondence. It has been awesome to watch this gentleman thrive with this incredible team working by his side!”

Luke: We went to watch a couple of individuals at their basketball practice at JCC. Luke was coaching the team. We so enjoyed how he interacted with everyone and was in tuned to each person’s talents and needs. He displayed a great balance of work and fun for the whole team. He was a delight to watch, in action serving others. He has a very special talent and he is truly “Making a Difference” in the lives of individuals that are being served by Schenectady ARC and beyond. His passion for what he does shines through loud and clear. His energy is off the charts. Way to go Luke!”

Tammy and Peggy: Tammy and Peggy made a BIG difference in the life of someone supported by Community Habilitation and their actions were greatly appreciated by many! When an individual was left home alone, while his mother was admitted into the hospital on an emergency basis, Tammy and Peggy checked on the him regularly (and visited his mother in the hospital) to make sure all bases were covered.” Together they coordinated the individual’s care with other providers and a family member, ensuring that  his health, welfare and livelihood were attended to while his mother was in the hospital. Tammy and Peggy’s commitment was obvious every step of the way – they REALLY DO make a difference!


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