The Impact of The Arc of Chester County: Andrew and Jerry’s Story
The Arc of Chester County through its Family Support Services Program (FSS) provides individuals with disabilities the opportunity to live, work and fully participate in their community through a variety of in-home and community services, including activities of daily living.
Andrew is a participant in this program with his Direct Support Professional (DSP) Jerry, by his side! Read the incredible story of Andrew and Jerry.
“I am ONE in a million! Meaning, I was born one in a million. My name is Andrew, and I was born at Bryn Mawr Hospital on January 29, 1987, with a very rare form of oral-facial digital syndrome.
“As a result, I was born with a cleft lip and palate, club feet, and extra fingers and toes. I had to have 24/7 nursing care at home and over the course of my 35- year-life, I have had 37 surgeries at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. I’ve had countless hours of speech, occupational and physical therapy. I also use an IPAD for speech output so people can understand me better.
“As a child, I went to Caley Road School and was in the Intermediate Unit at Glenwood School, Springton Lake. I graduated from Haverford High School in 2008 which is when I started at The Arc of Chester County in their Recreation Program.
“When I was five, John my real dad passed away. I currently live in West Chester with my mom, Susan, and my stepfather, Tom. I have one brother and two stepsisters. I also have seven nieces and nephews. My family and I go down the shore for three months every summer. We have fantastic dance parties and there are always lots of us every weekend! I’m also the No. 1 fan of my dad’s basketball team at Bonner Prendie. I sit with them on the bench and go into the locker room during halftime and I LOVE IT!
“Before the pandemic happened, I also worked regularly. I now do half-days of zoom there and one full day of In-Home and Community Support (IHCS) with The Arc. I have a lot of fun with The Arc of Chester County because I also participate in their recreation programs. The Arc has a Halloween party that I go to every year and love. We have Thanksgiving dinners, holiday parties, and many special events. It is so much fun seeing friends and having fun.
“Arc staff, Jerry Duncan supports me with my IHCS and he is always so nice to me. Jerry also used to be my bus/van driver. I used to greet at the nursing home. That was my favorite job. The ladies were so nice to me and gave me candy.
“Greeting is what I would like to do as my forever job. The Arc also works with me on a variety of daily-living skills. Jerry is now one of my DSPs (Direct Support Professional) and I really enjoy our time together. He supports me because I really LOVE to bake and cook a variety of things. When I cook with The Arc each week, I share it and visit with all the staff, and they really seem to enjoy what I make. I use a power chair for longer distances and sometimes during programming sessions. I use my walker for shorter distances.”
“Andrew is a super polite and very intelligent person. We have wonderful conversations and experiences together. ‘“’Things to remember,’ I say to him when we see or experience something special,” shares Arc 13-year veteran employee and Max Award winner, Jerry.
Jerry carries his motto in his wallet which reads, “As a Direct Support Professional, I am inspired by helping participants with disabilities achieve their goals. In addition to making new goals that we set together to strengthening our relationship overall.”
Working as a DSP is extremely rewarding and a very fulfilling career. The Arc of Chester County is looking to add more Direct Support Professionals to The Arc family. If you are interested in a career that truly makes a difference in other people’s lives, check out The Arc’s Employment Opportunities at https://arcofchestercounty.org/job-openings/.
The mission of The Arc of Chester County: To advocate, educate, and provide services to empower individuals with disabilities and their families to enhance the quality of their lives.
The Arc’s programs and services enhance the quality of life by preparing individuals with the skills and support they need for living in the community and speaking up for their rights. Today, The Arc serves nearly 3,000 children and adults with disabilities and their families each year through the provision of a lifetime of services beginning at birth and extending through a person’s life.
For more information on The Arc of Chester County’s programs and services or to make a donation and help support individuals with disabilities and their families please visit: www.arcofchestercounty.org
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