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"Who" Cares ? - Dina Sepinski

dinaPerhaps it is the calmness she projects, or her light-hearted and upbeat personality. Or perhaps it is her professionalism, and the fact that she shows a personal interest in everyone she meets.

Whatever the reason, Dina Sepinski has formed a special bond with all of the individuals she supervises within The Arc Rockland’s Employment Services Department. She helps them learn work skills and guides them through a variety of activities throughout the community.

“We spend five days a week together, all day, yet each day is different,” she says. “As in any group of people, not everyone has the same needs and interests. We individualize our interactions with one another. When one person has a problem, I do my best to help out, and if I come to work feeling a little down, there is always someone to lift my spirits.”

The people in Ms. Sepinski’s group spend half a day involved in day habilitation activities and half in pre-vocational training. “Day habilitation experiences might mean cooking, art classes, viewing a movie or shopping,” she explains. These activities promote independence and offer the opportunity to explore new areas of interest, become more involved within the community, improve communications and interpersonal skills and set and pursue personal goals.

“Pre-vocational activities include weekly work skills classes in which participants learn how to prepare for an interview, how to dress, and some specific skills such as packing groceries and stocking shelves,” she adds. “On other days, the group volunteers at various organizations. At New Bridge Medical Center in Paramus, NJ, we fold boxes for the pharmacy department, we help clean Immaculate Conception Church in Stony Point, and we make food deliveries for TOUCH Food Pantry in Congers.” About the latter activity, Ms. Sepinski notes that while driving to make the deliveries “we’re singing and chatting away throughout the ride.” The group also makes use of the time to learn additional skills regarding community interactions. These pre-vocational activities help in developing employment readiness skills in the most integrated setting. In addition, they focus on the acquisition of appropriate work attitudes and habits, exploration of work interests and adjustment to workplace routines.

Ms. Sepinski has been with Arc for almost 13 years. She began her career at The Arc’s Prime Time for Kids Early Learning Center where she worked for nine years before transferring to the Employment Division. “Working with adults was a whole new experience and a bit intimidating at first,” she admits. But her people skills have served her well in her current position.

“She genuinely cares for the people in her group,” says Assistant Director of Pre- Employment Services Avi Samaroo. “They value her guidance and assistance in helping them develop new skills.”

In addition to her daytime responsibilities and rearing three children of her own, Ms. Sepinski also works for The Arc’s Recreational Department, assisting with bowling, Bingo, and special events such as the Stardust Ball. “I love seeing people in a different environment,” she says. “They look and behave differently. At the Ball, they are all dressed up and so excited. It’s wonderful to be a part of it.”

Kathy Canter, Senior Director of Employment Services adds her own praise of Ms. Sepinski’s work. “She is a very strong advocate and always looks for creative activities that encourage growth and success. Dina takes into account the person-centered goals and strengths of each person, and she values respect and honesty.”

 

Thank You to The Arc Rockland’s 2019 Corporate Sponsors: