"What My Staff Means to Me"

Within the last few months Direct Support Professionals have been making their voices heard on the subject of needing a living wage. But what are the thoughts of those receiving the services? Ed Bartz a self-advocate at The Arc of Rensselaer County speaks on his disability and what his staff means to him.

Success Stories & Testimonials

Lauren's Story

Meet Lauren, a young woman who has an upbeat, energetic, engaging personality along with a remarkable enthusiasm for life. Her interests include the medical field, forensic science, and sports. Lauren has become a first responder with the Hoags Corner volunteer ambulance company where she has been a member for over a year.

But one of the most important parts of Lauren’s life was her love of music. This love for music led her to meet Rachel, an employee at The Arc of Rensselaer. One day, Lauren was rockin’ out in the hallway with drum sticks and air drums. Rachel asked her if she played drums. She replied, “Yes!” and insisted she was going to be a rock star!

Shawn's Story

Shawn Fultz is confident, smart and determined. He can most definitely run circles around most of us with his thrill-seeking energy and enthusiasm to try new and exciting athletic ventures, including sled hockey and skiing.

He credits much of his success in these areas to The Arc of Rensselaer County. “I’m in a much better place now than I used to be in,” he said, explaining that he is receiving the level of care that he needs to function at his best. And his best possible level is pretty amazing.

“They say the days are long, and the years are quick”

By Tracey Hempel
Associate Executive Director of Community Supports

April 29, 2016 will be my 20th Anniversary with The Arc of Rensselaer County; thankfully it’s also a Friday! I can say for certain that when I crossed over the river, I didn’t anticipate the journey that I was about to begin. We had 28 hour shifts back then, I was a floater (DSP) which meant I worked at every location, but Hoosick St., Detroit and Euclid Ave were places that I called home. They were the absolute joys of my work schedule; now that’s not to say that I didn’t love other place or people, but I had an undeniable, almost innate, connection with the people who lived in those places. I look back at those memories, like I do my childhood memories. For all intents and purposes, they could be because no place and no one person has defined me more than The Arc. Ok, maybe my kids and my husband have had a hand in shaping me too, but in three years, I will have been working at The Arc for half of my adult life. I would be lying if I told you that statement doesn’t impact me; I am who I am because of all of the people who I have crossed paths with over the years, all of the experiences they shared with me and the lessons that came along the way. For that, I am thankful.

(Tracey is shown in the picture above with Rob Beza in 1997)

We don't know where we would be without The Arc of Rensselaer County. They have been our lifeline for nearly forty years.

–Sally, Marty and Becky Dunbar, Family Supported

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The Arc has benefited me by helping me to do things like JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), volunteering and becoming a team captain, and going to St.RoseCollege.

 

–Stephen Roberts, Self-Advocate

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In November of 2004 I broke my leg and taking care of my then 24 year old son was a huge challenge. He had multiple needs, which required me to be physically fit to manage him. My husband was working full time and couldn't take time off and my other three children were grown and out on their own. Sandy VanEck heard of my plight and organized a wonderful group of people from The Arc office and residential programs to come in and help take care of Jimmy. Sandy also arranged for grant money so people could be paid for their generosity. It was simply wonderful seeing such caring people and I made many new friends. The Arc will always have a special place in my heart.

–Diane Dearborn, Parent

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It is said that you teach what you need to learn and I have learned that people are capable of so much more than we can ever imagine. This is true of the amazing people we support as well as the amazing staff who support them. As the staff trainer for the agency for the past 10 years, I have seen staff grow in competence and compassion. I have seen people we support defy expectations, including their own! I see perseverance, love and commitment. It’s an honor to be here.

–Deborah Foss, Staff Development Specialist
The Arc of Rensselaer County

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My favorite part about working at The Arc is the welcoming and laid back atmosphere. I very much enjoy the closeness everyone shares. People here are real, honest, and working for the right reasons. I have made a lot of good memories and good friends here. I have received smiles, hugs, and laughter from people at The Arc. I also met my wife here, so that was nice.

I believe it is very important that people show up, do the work, and keep pushing forward with both small changes and large scale systematic changes. The world needs open hearts and open minds to keep growing. The Arc is a place where those open hearts and open minds will be valued and put to work.

–Kyle Bartlett, Innovation and Design Specialist
The Arc of Rensselaer County

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I love working with so many very good, very kind, helpful and humble staff, and I enjoy the team spirit. I like the administration’s recognition of personal needs and pleasures in terms of reasonable flex time. I love the “family spirit” as well. Many of us have become lifelong friends. I also love the benefit package – it is very valuable.

I have learned to remember that some, many people, our customers, have it harder in almost all aspects of being alive; I now am more aware of the need to upgrade their experiences and also advocate for social respect for them. I would recommend that people learn, for themselves, more about who is less fortunate, to get involved in a personal and experiential way, to say hello, to decidedly open their hearts and see the reality of these persons’ dilemmas and perhaps get involved in solutions; Then I would recommend they volunteer, help financially if feasible, and if inclined, consider a career or a vocation in a helping field. Finally, I would encourage them to talk about these matters with their friends, family, and everyone they know and meet. Pass it on - Plant a seed - Grow it!

–Sally McCracken, Innovation Specialist (7 years) and Relief Staff (10 years)
The Arc of Rensselaer County

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The support and care I receive from everyone I work with and the joy I get serving the students is why I like working at The Arc. One student I worked with recently said the experience I took her to was empowering. That is why I love my job!.

–Patricia Zirpoli, Transition Specialist for the Promise Study
The Arc of Rensselaer County

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Fourteen years ago I met a very special young woman who changed my life forever. I grew up here, I learned about relationships and unconditional love. I always tell people that once you meet the people you will be supporting you will form a bond that lasts forever. I have learned the joy in assisting people to achieve the things in life that matter to them.

–Lisa Anderson, Director of Family Supports & Self-Direction
The Arc of Rensselaer County

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Those that are employed with The Arc have a genuine desire to do the work and partner with others. Some of the practices and philosophies of the agency that I have learned over the years have made me a better person both at home and in the community.

–Don Morse, MSC Coordinator
The Arc of Rensselaer County

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I would like to thank all of our wonderful DSP staff for the amazing work you do every day to support people in having healthy, happy and meaningful lives. This is not easy work and I am constantly amazed by the amount of dedication and caring you all exhibit each and every day. You are the best, and you should be very proud of your contributions. Enjoy your week of celebration. It is well deserved.

–Glenda L. Hughes, RN, BSN, The Arc Employee
The Arc of Rensselaer County

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I came to The Arc looking for a job and I’ve found so much more - family, friends, and the opportunity to learn and make an amazing difference not only in my life but all those I come in contact with. I am truly blessed to be a part of such a wonderful place and to work side by side with such loving and caring people. I respect each and every one of you for all that you do.

–Rachel Ambuhl, Human Resources Department
The Arc of Rensselaer County

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I have been working here at The Arc for almost a year now. I started out as a DSP in an IRA home and currently have moved into the position of Senior Lifestyle Specialist. Working with The Arc has been the biggest and best jump in my life. I have loved working hard and staying late for these wonderful people we support for one reason, a smile. One smile is all it takes to remind me why I do what I do.

–Walter T. Hatz, III, Senior Lifestyle Specialist
The Arc of Rensselaer County

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I have been with this agency for nearly 39 years, and it has offered me a professional and personal experience of continuous learning. I am so appreciative of what this agency has meant in my life and the opportunity it has given me to be in service to others. My wish for new staff joining our team is that they immerse themselves in the available learning opportunities, and learn that the rewards found in the agency go much deeper than the paycheck.

–Edward Martin, Associate Executive Director
The Arc of Rensselaer County

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I like to work with the ARC because we treat people like people. We reach for the stars but also remember there that the ground still exists. We have dreamers, visionaries, revolutionaries and natural born leader who are all under the same umbrella. It’s a wonderful place to work and a wonderful place to meet all these awesome people. I honestly believe we are the best in the world at what we do and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

–Chad Roose, Direct Service Manager
The Arc of Rensselaer County

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Testimonials and Success Stories

Lauren's Story

Meet Lauren, a young woman who has an upbeat, energetic, engaging personality along with a remarkable enthusiasm for life. Her interests include the medical field, forensic science, and sports. Lauren has become a first responder with the Hoags Corner volunteer ambulance company where she has been a member for over a year.

But one of the most important parts of Lauren’s life was her love of music. This love for music led her to meet Rachel, an employee at The Arc of Rensselaer. One day, Lauren was rockin’ out in the hallway with drum sticks and air drums. Rachel asked her if she played drums. She replied, “Yes!” and insisted she was going to be a rock star!

Read more ...

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