Liberty ARC Stories
“God saved my life a few years ago, so I decided I wanted to pursue becoming a minister,” Ben Martin, a Direct Support Professional at Liberty ARC said. Ben says working at the agency has allowed him to pursue his dream of studying Pastoral Ministries at Asbury University in Kentucky. “It’s been tough because the academic level is very high, but I’ve had so much support from Liberty ARC,” he said. “The flexibility of working here has made it possible for me to pursue this dream and come back home to a job when the semester is over.” Ben has only worked at the agency for a year, however, he says he’s already deeply connected to his job and is excited to be coming back for the summer.
When she’s not away at school, Keisha Carter works fulltime as a Direct Support Professional (DSP) in Liberty ARC’s Family Support Services (FSS) program. Keisha said that her position as a DSP in the FSS program, as well as her mom, have influenced her to pursue a career working with children who have disabilities. “My mother has worked at Liberty ARC my whole life,” she said. “I would go visit the programs and meet the individuals and go to some of the Christmas events – I grew up with Liberty ARC, so it’s no surprise that I got a job here as well. I love coming back to work here – I love seeing how happy the individuals get when they see me; it’s a great feeling knowing you can make them happy.”
Kierra Reid, an Assistant Habilitation Specialist 2 at Liberty ARC, says the flexibility of her schedule, coupled with having understanding supervisors, made working and going to college not only possible – but enjoyable. “Liberty ARC is so flexible with hours,” Kierra said. “I chose when I could work around my classes and when I couldn’t. I even had to change those hours a couple of times because my supervisor and I realized that I wasn’t allowing myself enough time to study and do my homework. They really helped me make the schedule I needed to do both.” Kierra has worked at Liberty ARC for the past year, and during that time she’s attended Fulton Montgomery Community College. She’ll be receiving her Associate Degree in Health Studies on Wednesday, and after that she plans to take a year off from school so she can apply to nursing programs in the area.
Tayler Motyl, an Assistant Habilitation Specialist 2 at Liberty ARC, said she’s always known she wanted to work in a field where she helped people. “I just love being given the opportunity to help people get through tough times and being someone to rely on,” Tayler said. Tayler’s been working at Liberty ARC for the past eight months while taking pre-requisite courses at Fulton Montgomery Community College for the Registered Nursing Program, which she’ll start in the fall. Tayler said she was able to keep her position at the agency while also going to all of her classes and maintaining a high grade point average, because of the flexibility the position offers.
Cheryl Wagner’s advice for someone considering working at Liberty ARC is to “just do it.” “My favorite aspect of working at Liberty ARC is the relationships I’ve built,” Cheryl said. “There are people I’ve supported and worked with over the years who still remember my kids’ names and they remember certain things about me. It warms my heart.” Cheryl has been working at Liberty ARC since 1987. She works full-time as a special education teacher at Sacandaga Elementary School and also works full-time hours doing nights as a Direct Support Sleep-In for Liberty ARC. “I’ve always loved working here – I think it’s a great agency full of wonderful people and it’s got great benefits,” Cheryl said.
Jaime Field says going to work at Liberty ARC doesn’t feel like work – it feels like visiting a friend’s home. “When I walk into a home that I’m going to be working at, I always feel so welcomed,” Jaime said. “We all say ‘hello’ to each other and talk about our day and get to know each other and it’s just so nice. It doesn’t feel like I’m working a shift, it’s like I’m hanging out with my friends.” Jaime works as a fourth grade teaching assistant at Northville Central School District and she also works as relief staff at Liberty ARC as an Assistant Habilitation Specialist 2. Jamie worked for the agency 20 years ago as a Direct Support Professional. Last year she decided she wanted a part-time position while school was out for the summer – the first place she thought of working at was Liberty ARC.
Pat Wellman, a Direct Support Professional at Liberty ARC, will never forget the time when staff and individuals helped her out when she needed it most. “In 2011, we lost our home to a fire,” Pat said. “The outpouring of support my husband and I received was amazing. Staff and individuals showed so much love and compassion to us. They organized a spaghetti dinner at the Mohawk Day Hab. It was a wonderful thing they did for us and it’s something I will never forget.” Pat has been working for Liberty ARC since 2003. Her favorite aspect of her position is that it gives her the opportunity to help people and get to know them at the same time.
Every time Sandra Moore – a live-in assistant manager at Liberty ARC – starts her seven-day shift, the individuals she supports always say “you’re back home!” “They greet me with hugs and tell me ‘welcome back,’” Sandra said. “And it really does feel like I’ve come back home – I love it.” Sandra has been working for the agency for nearly three years. She works seven days in a row as a live-in assistant manager, then she has the following seven days off. When she isn’t working at Liberty ARC, Sandra works as the secretary for her church, Crossroads Community Church in Amsterdam. She creates graphics for Sunday service, updates weekly bulletins, she organizes events and keeps a record of church members, amongst other tasks.
Do you have a ‘big heart?’ If so, Stefanie Ackerknecht strongly suggests applying for a position at Liberty ARC! “If you think [that’s you] and you need a job that can work with your schedule and/or your family, then it’s definitely worth looking into Liberty ARC,” she said. Stefanie has been working as a Relief Direct Support Professional (DSP) for more than 17 years. She enjoys the flexibility the position provides her, especially since it allows her to run her own business.
“Listen to people – just listen,” is the biggest piece of advice Andy Stegeland, Liberty ARC’s Quality Assurance Coordinator, can give to new employees. “In the 33 years that I’ve been working here that’s the most valuable advice I can give anyone starting out,” Andy said. “Once you start listening to the people you support and the people you work with then good things happen.” Andy started at Liberty ARC as a Direct Support Professional (DSP) in 1986. He thought he’d be at the agency briefly but his job turned into a fulfilling career. Aside from meeting the individuals he helped support, Andy’s favorite aspect when he began working as a DSP was the freedom the job offered.