Giana Daley started working for the Berkshire County Arc as a senior in high school, working weekday shifts after school. For six months she served as a relief worker– subbing in for full-time workers at numerous different residences. Now she works full time at one house, calling it her favorite house.
“I love the people who live in this house,” she said. “Every home has such a different personality. I liked working at all of them, it’s always different, it’s always new.”
Giana encourages new employees to start as a relief worker to experience the variety of residences. “The houses all have a different feel, there are so many great houses,” she said, “but one will eventually stand out for you and really grab you. For me it was this house.”
She rattled off a list of traits she enjoyed from each of the individuals who lived there while helping two of the residents prepare to eat dinner. “Don’t get between him and his food, he’ll get grumpy,” she said of the closest resident, nudging him to provoke a smile.
Nodding to the other individual, she noted: “He likes his rock music. The louder the better.” He smiled without a nudge.
She looks forward to staying at the job next year while earning her Bachelor’s degree at MCLA and eventually her Master’s in social work.
Feeling Supported Goes A Long Way
Brandon Page has done similar work for other agencies, he said, but this time it’s different. “You feel more supported here, there’s a friendliness in the houses, like we’re in this together,” he said. Like Giana, he started as a relief worker. Unlike Giana, he prefers to stay in the relief position.
“I like the freedom and flexibility it gives me,” he said, noting that he works full time at BCArc, but on a variety of day and night shifts.
“This is the first time for me at this house,” he said. “Like the other houses, everyone is happy to help me.”
When he worked at a nursing home, he said there was one staff member serving at least a dozen people. “With this type of work, it’s almost a one-on-one situation, so you can pay attention to the individual and make a genuine difference in their lives.”
“The houses all have a different feel, there are so many great houses” she said, “but one will eventually stand out for you and really grab you. For me it was this house.”