They didn’t meet at the Berkshire County Arc. By the time he talked her into applying for a position, they were engaged. Since starting the job, they’ve married, bought a house, and are now expecting a baby.
Julianna Kishko and Yevgeney Pyshnyak are one of several married couples who work at BCArc, some who met on the job, some who started together to arrange their shifts around child daycare, and some who found other scenarios that suited their situations.
“I pushed for her to apply for a job at BCArc,” said Yev, a Westfield, Mass., native. “I knew she would like it.” At the time, Julianna worked as an administrative assistant in a medical office. After her 9 to 5 day, she always came home exhausted.
“Yev would come home and never say a negative thing about his job,” she recalled. “More than that, I watched it transform him. Even at home he developed more patience, he listened more, and he seemed more grateful for what we have.”
“I am more grateful,” Yev interrupted. “It’s like my five senses came alive.”
“I like the flexibility of working when I want, and where I want.”
While Yev works full time at one house—a house that serves people with brain injury—Julianna chose to serve as a relief worker, essentially she substitutes for full time workers. “I like the flexibility of working when I want, and where I want,” she said. “Sometimes I’ll work more than a full-time schedule, depending on what’s going on that week.” An electronic board lists the shifts that relief workers are needed among the 40-plus group homes BCArc manages which serves individuals with developmental disabilities and brain injury.
They both make sure to take off Sundays, when they attend church together, the place they first met.
“Some people may prefer the desk job over what we do,” she said. “I like them both. But in this case I truly care for the individuals. Once you get to know them, you can really have a positive impact on their lives. It requires a certain skill, you have to pay attention and think on your feet a lot. For me helping people feels very fulfilling.”
Both raised in Western Massachusetts but different towns, they both speak fluent Russian, since it was the language of their household. Given their Christian faith, they agreed it was their duty to be compassionate without requiring anything in return. “But that’s not the case here,” Yev said. “We get plenty in return.”