Liberty ARC Stories
Crystal Soto’s favorite aspect of working at Liberty ARC is having the opportunity to make a difference in peoples’ lives.“
I started working at Liberty because it was important to me that I was somewhere that I could make a difference,” Crystal said. “I didn’t want to feel like I was leaving my small child at home for nothing – I wanted to know that I was leaving him for a job that was important and fulfilling.”
Crystal has been working at Liberty ARC for nearly 11 years. She’s worked in many different capacities at the agency including Residential and Day Hab Direct Support Professional (DSP) positions. She served as a Residential Assistant Manager, then worked her way up to her current managerial position as a Senior Hab Coordinator at the Mohawk Day Program.
During this challenging time – in the midst of COVID-19 – it’s important to remind everyone why we work here at Liberty ARC.
We work at Liberty ARC to fulfill and accomplish our mission:
“Together we support people with disabilities to achieve a quality of life each person values.”
Senior Hab Coordinator Kara Reed is an excellent example of someone who lives every day by the agency’s mission.
Kara has worked at Liberty ARC for the last 23 years. She started her career as a bus monitor and a residential Direct Support Professional (DSP). She worked in the residential setting for 19 years, moving from DSP to Charge then Assistant Manager. She made the transition to Senior Hab Coordinator for Liberty ARC’s Community Connections day program a few years ago.
“I was in my early twenties and was looking for something different to do in my career,” she said. “A friend of mine, who worked in the Business Office, thought I would enjoy this line of work. She was right; I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
“I never imagined myself being in a manager position because I had never supervised anyone before,” Jamie Siwik said, “but it feels so natural to me, and the nature of business here at Liberty ARC is so different from anywhere else I’ve worked; staff are compassionate and they really follow the mission and values of this agency.”
Jamie Siwik has worked at Liberty ARC for the last seven years. She started as a relief Direct Support Professional (DSP) in the Family Support Services (FSS) program, and quickly worked her way up to a manager position.
“I was waiting for the perfect opportunity to be a manager, and this was it,” Rebekah Schuyler said.
Rebekah has been working at Liberty ARC for the last 20 years. She started as a Direct Support Professional (DSP) and worked her way up to assistant manager. Over the years, she’s been encouraged to apply for manager positions, but she was very particular about what home she would oversee. That is until the agency announced it would be building a new, innovative residence on Trailer Street in the Village of Palatine Bridge.
“When you support someone – even in the smallest way – it’s so satisfying, especially when they appreciate what you’re doing for them – it just makes you feel really good,” Dan Harrison said.
Dan has been working at Liberty ARC as an awake night Direct Support Professional (DSP) for the last 15 years. He’s worked at more than 25 different residences, and has learned something new from each home he’s worked at.
Dan originally started working at the agency because he needed a night job that offered him the flexibility to continue his daytime passion: managing a horse stable.
When Maureen “Mo” Manginelli switched careers six years ago, and joined Liberty ARC as a Direct Support Professional (DSP) in the Family Support Services (FSS) program, she never dreamt she’d become a Special Olympics coach.
“I love what I do,” Mo said. “I love my job and I love coaching because it gives me the opportunity to see two different sides to the people I support.”
Mo said she was offered a coaching position not long after she started her job with the agency.
Erica Rickard and Sarah Snell have been together for 11 years as awake night Direct Support Professionals in the same residence at Liberty ARC.
“She’s the best partner I’ve ever had,” Sarah said.
“She’s the yin to my yang,” Erica replied.
Erica has been with the agency for 14 years, while Sarah’s been here for 15. Both women started their careers at Liberty ARC as daytime DSPs, but after a few years they transitioned to the awake night shift.
“I wanted to work nights because I was going back to school and it worked really well with my schedule,” Sarah said. “This was supposed to be a temporary job, but I’ve made a home here. The awake night schedule works for me now because I can be with my family and I don’t miss anything.”
“I never in a million years thought I’d go back to school…but I did,” Jane Ryle said. “And I’m so happy and proud that I did – it really boosted my confidence in my personal life and my professional life.”
Jane works a full-time job during the day doing administrative job recruitment for a home health agency, and at night she works as a full-time Direct Support Professional (DSP) Sleep-In for Liberty ARC.
Jane’s been working for Liberty ARC for 27 years, and during that time she’s worked in many different capacities as a DSP.
“Liberty ARC is my home away from home,” Liz Ubiles said. “Working for this agency for 10 years has made me who I am. The support I received while I was going to school was so amazing that I wanted to stay after I graduated.”
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.