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Arc of Rensselaer County gives money from fundraisers to staff

April 03, 2019 07:05 PM

TROY - Troy Trent has been a direct support professional at the Arc of Rensselaer County for the past four months. 

"One thing that I learned when I joined this field of work is they said if you're here for a paycheck, then this is not the job for you," said Trent. 

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Donald Davis gets services here.  

"I like it here," he said.  "I've been here for 15 years."

Direct support professionals provide daily support and care, and they say they're not getting a living wage.

This year's state budget included a raise, and they're grateful, but the pay is still less than at a fast food place or big box store. 

The low salary leads to turnover and vacancies, and that could hurt the 130,000 New Yorkers with developmental disabilities. 

"We have to be a voice for them," said Employment Specialist Tamara Holmes. "We have to help them be able to live their best lives -- and we need more help doing that."

Faced with this situation, the Arc of Rensselaer County made the decision to donate the money from fundraisers to the people who work one-on-one with clients. 

"What can we do differently with our resources to help them make a living wage because they deserve it.  They're really the glue of everything that we do here," said Chief Executive Officer Don Mulllin.  

Staff members say they do this work because it's meaningful. 

"Personally, because it's a rewarding feeling for me. The fact that they can't fully support themselves as much as they would like to," said Trent. "And having individuals like us who can help them get to where they want to be personally, it's one of the biggest reasons why I've taken this job."

"New adventure!" said Program Manager Mike Korotitsch.  "It's a new adventure every time I come to work. And then when a person smiles at you, it makes my day."

This year's big fundraiser for the Arc of Rensselaer County is on June 26 at the Crooked Lake House. 

Every week, the office in Troy holds walk-in Wednesdays from 10-2, so anyone looking for a job can get an interview on the spot. 

You can also look for employment or donate through the website: https://www.renarc.org/

Credits

Kumi Tucker

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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