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Art By: Chris Muzzio

Direct Care Professionals Week 2014

Care and Respect Everyday

Direct Care Professionals Fall Class of 2014!

We are very proud of all of the professional, innovative and caring individuals who are part of the Arc of Westchester family of staff. In recognition of Direct Care Professionals Week (September 7-13) we are recognizing seventeen of some of our best employees with a CARE Award (Care and Respect Everyday). 

This recognition has been awarded to a Direct Care Professional who surpasses expectations by helping embrace and cultivate the talents and dreams of individuals with developmental disabilities. They consistently maintain a level of positivity and enthusiasm for every task at hand. By doing so, these individuals serve as an example for others and help contribute to a culture of care and respect at the Arc of Westchester. Congratulations to them all. (please note: not all recipients were available for the group photo)

Meet a Support Professional

Benny Colon has been an employee of the Arc of Westchester since 1993. Benny is a Vocational Assistant at our Yonkers Center. He is dedicated to providing community based job site instruction to our program participants. Benny has made the transition from in-house work availability to volunteer, internship and paid work opportunities in the community seamless for so many participants. As the primary staff person dedicated to facilitating the Westchester County Airport, Vernon Manor Apartments, and PCF (Publisher’s Circluation Fulfillment) paid work sites, he has paved the way for program participants to begin enjoying the benefits of paid community employment. He is an approachable, caring, and hard working employee with a superior work ethic. His work has helped motivated participants  to try new opportunities that have led to growth, accomplishment and inclusion.

Meet a Teacher

Roberta Nickelsen is a Community Habilitation Specialist/Art Teacher in the Day Habilitation program. Roberta has a diverse artistic talent and provides creative and challenging projects to participants. Roberta’s dedication is evident in the special time she takes to help individual program participants. When one woman wanted to make something special for her mother for Mother’s Day, Roberta helped her to make a bracelet and necklace. Roberta has introduced individuals to felt art and worked to help them learn color combinations, personal expression, technique, and process. It is not unusual for Roberta to shop or pick up donated materials after hours and on weekends so that clients can complete projects. With her help, many of our participants have their work on display at gallery265. Roberta inspires everyone to look deep inside their creativity.

Meet a Support Professional

Maria Lorello has been employed by Arc of Westchester since 2009. Maria works in a full-time Day Habilitation program that supports 17 people. She works as part of a team to provide support and encourage the individuals in the program to awaken their talents. She promotes choice to fulfill dreams and enrich lives. Maria is an ecologist and an artist. This is evident in her use of recycled materials to create art. She works with individuals to transform toilet paper rolls into beautifully framed flowers and transforms egg cartons into old style phonographs. Her guidance in the arts has enabled many of those she supports to win prizes in art contests and shows. Maria’s group of participants submitted several hats in the "Hats Off" exhibit at gallery265. Maria promotes a culture of caring and respect in the program and has helped the participants she supports to give their time and effort to causes such as the Ronald McDonald House, Maria Ferreri Children’s Hospital, Americares, the Ossining Children’s Center, and the Katonah Community Center. Ms. Lorello is loved by the people she supports.

Meet a Mentor

Frank Hughes has been working with program participants for over 30 years. Frank has a unique rapport with individuals as they come and go to services and programs. Frank works closely with a small group of participants and has a positive impact on them, taking an interest in their interests. He brings the daily paper and helps one participant solve the word jumbles and crosswords by offering hints. He reads the sports pages aloud to another participant so that he can follow his favorite teams. He celebrates victories and offers a high five on the latest wins. With his help and support, participants make sure that plants are watered, trash is emptied, lavatories are clean, packages are delivered, heavy boxes and furniture are moved. He makes work a positive and safe place to be.