40 Years at Liberty ARC

I am Liberty Story: 40 Years at Liberty ARC. Two Headshots of Kathy Friday, a current one and an older photo.

“Kathy Friday is amazing – after 40 years of supporting the Day Program, she is in a class all by herself!” Operations Director John Glode said. “I have the utmost respect for her and for what she has accomplished during her career at Liberty ARC, and am so thankful that she has shared these years with us.”

“Kathy has been a consistent force in a day program area that has gone through many changes throughout the years,” Liberty ARC Senior Hab Coordinator Nick Pawling said. “Kathy treats those she supports and her co-workers with dignity and respect. She is always willing to share her years of experience and knowledge with staff to help them learn more about the people they support and the importance of their job. Kathy is well respected by all her peers and is a very important part of what makes day program successful.”

Kathy Friday has been working at Liberty ARC as an assistant hab specialist 2 for the last 40 years. She is one of the longest employed staff members at the agency. During the last four decades she’s seen the Liberty ARC, and society in general change, yet her reason for working at the agency remains the same, she enjoys caring for people.

“I started working here because I wanted to work with people,” Kathy said. “I wanted to care for people and do something rewarding. Assisting with the needs of the individuals that I support is my favorite aspect of this position. I feel good when I’m supporting them with their needs; I feel like I’m making a difference.”

Kathy said another favorite aspect of her position is working with the staff in her department.

“The people I work with are so sweet and supportive,” she said. “They’re just genuinely great people. For example, I was away on vacation for two weeks and I just came back to work and when I got back they all clapped their hands and cheered. They just make me feel good.”

Kathy has supported a lot of individuals over the years and she’s formed a lot of close bonds with those she supports.

“There’s an individual I currently support who inspires me every day,” she said, while tearing up. “He’s just so happy and loving. He tells me he loves me and everyone at Liberty all the time. He’s in a wheelchair and moving on his own can be a slow process, but he’s so patient with himself and he never shows frustration. He makes me think about how we take things for granted, yet he’s so appreciative of life and everyone around him.”

Kathy said she’s seen quite a few individuals who have made progress being at Liberty ARC’s Day Hab.

“It’s hard to remember everyone when you’ve been working here for 40 years, but a few individuals in particular stand out,” she said. “There was a young lady who had to be on oxygen for a while, and then one day she was suddenly better and no longer needed the oxygen tank – it was quite amazing. There was a young man who came to Liberty with some bad behavioral problems. He didn’t speak, he only used sign language, so staff really went out of their way to sign to him and his behavioral issues pretty much disappeared. And there was a young woman who also had some bad behavioral problems and staff worked with her and now she’ll go out of her way to help people and will clean up after herself and ask people how they’re doing – it’s incredible to see.”

Kathy said she feels “grateful” for the opportunity she’s had working at Liberty ARC and being able to support individuals to have a better quality of life.

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