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“Who” Cares ? - Samantha Rochester

Samantha RochesterSamantha Rochester has a unique ability to motivate and inspire people so that they achieve things they never thought possible...

As a Direct Care Professional working with individuals at The Arc hub in Nyack, “She has transformed them into a cohesive group eager to take on new responsibilities and tackle leadership roles,” says Jodi Taylor-Getz, The Arc’s Director of Day Habilitation.

One example is the group’s weekly visits to Helping Hands for the Homeless, an interfaith coalition. Working together, the five volunteers from The Arc managed to make 70 lunches for homeless people in less than 1⁄2 hour. On another occasion, joining other volunteers, they made more than 1,000 lunches for homeless school children in Westchester, and they wrote inspirational messages to include in the bags.

“Each member of the group found a station that they were best at—making sandwiches, putting the food in bags, adding snacks ...,” explains Ms. Rochester. “They created their own mass production line.”

“Samantha motivates the people in her group through her enthusiasm for the work that she does. That enthusiasm is contagious,” says Dorann Latarski, Team Leader. “She prompted the group to organize their own weekly schedule.”

“I asked them if they wanted to do it, and they just kind of took over,” Ms. Rochester modestly explains. “Every Wednesday we discuss plans for the coming week. They check the weather on their phones and decide if it should be outdoor or indoor activities. One designated person takes notes and keeps track of the schedule, which is then posted in the kitchen.”

Ms. Rochester also motivates the Nyack contingent to try new things. “I suggested they try river rowing, through the Rockland Rowing Association,” she notes. “They liked using the rowing machines, but were hesitant to actually go out on the water at Rockland Lake. Now they enjoy it. One member of the group is so good that I’m encouraging her to join a rowing team.”

“Samantha fosters each individual’s interests,” says Ms.Taylor-Getz. “One woman wanted to go to Central Park, and Samantha arranged for the entire group to go. They are now planning a trip to the Fashion Institute of Technology because one woman is interested in fashion design. That woman, who was shy, recently volunteered to help out at The Arc’s fashion show at Strawtown Jewelry.”

A few months ago, Volunteer NY’s RISE (Readiness Through Integrated Service Engagement) program honored Ms. Rochester with its Mentorship Award for being a positive role model and empowering her group to attain their personal best in preparing the bagged lunches for people in need. “I thought it would be the group that got the award for all the work they do,” she said. “I was so surprised that they chose me.”

But to those who work with her, and the members of the Nyack Arc in Motion group, it was no surprise at all.


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