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“Who” Cares ? - Gregory Gwizdak

Gregory GwizdakAs a student in Atmospheric and Environmental Science at the University of Albany, Greg Gwizdak learned to observe and understand the challenges to our physical environment.

As a Direct Service Professional with The Arc Rockland, he has learned to understand the human environment and the challenges faced by each individual with whom he interacts. So what led him to this change in focus? “I was inspired by my aunt,” he explains. “After earning my Bachelor’s degree, I worked part-time at the Lamont Earth Observatory in Palisades, NY, while looking for a full-time job. My aunt had worked at Letchworth Village Developmental Center for over 40 years, and I noticed her love for working with people who have developmental disabilities. Seeing her passion for this field, I applied to Camp Venture, where I worked for nine years before coming to The Arc two years ago.”

At The Arc, Mr. Gwizdak leads a group of five individuals through a variety of community-based activities. They start each day from The Arc hub at Glaze Pottery and Art Studio in Orangeburg. From there, they head out to various volunteer assignments: delivering meals for Meals on Wheels in Nanuet, bringing groceries to people with chronic illnesses through the non-profit TOUCH organization in Congers, or feeding cats and cleaning cages at Petco in Nanuet.

“The volunteers especially love being at Petco,” notes Mr. Gwizdak. “They are also interested in the arts, so we try to go to art exhibits and museums.”

“Gregory’s gentle demeanor appeals to the people with whom he works, and he has gained their confidence. He is even- tempered, he listens and responds with kindness,” says Jodi Taylor-Getz, Director of Day Habilitation. “He is truly dedicated to his profession. In addition to working full time at The Arc, he spends evenings and weekends accompanying three individuals with developmental disabilities who are all from one family to community-based activities, and doing the same for a fourth individual.”

Mr. Gwizdak has noticed changes in the individuals in the Arc Day Habilitation group since he began working with them. “I have seen how much more connected they are to the members of the community, how they’ve built relationships with the people they meet as they volunteer.”

He cites one example of an individual who, during the group’s weekly outings to a local store, developed a friendship with the cashier. After consulting with The Arc staff, he decided to invite the cashier to his birthday party. “The invitation was gladly accepted and the two are still friends to this day,” says Mr. Gwizdak.

“Making impacts like that is what makes this profession worthwhile,” he explains. “Knowing that you are helping people live their lives to the fullest is a great feeling.”

“I’ve also learned a lot from the individuals I work with,” he adds. “I’ve learned that you have to let go of your ego and think of others first, before yourself. And, I’ve learned to always think positively. No matter what is going on in life, you have to believe that everything will be OK.”

 

The Arc Rockland has partnered with the Empire State Purchasing Group. Vendors may submit bids electronically. Please visit https://www.bidnetdirect.com/new-york/arc-of-rockland for RFP and bidding opportunities.

Thank You to The Arc Rockland’s 2021 Corporate Sponsors:

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