“They say the days are long, and the years are quick”
By Tracey Hempel
Associate Executive Director of Community Supports
April 29, 2016 will be my 20th Anniversary with The Arc of Rensselaer County; thankfully it’s also a Friday! I can say for certain that when I crossed over the river, I didn’t anticipate the journey that I was about to begin. We had 28 hour shifts back then, I was a floater (DSP) which meant I worked at every location, but Hoosick St., Detroit and Euclid Ave were places that I called home. They were the absolute joys of my work schedule; now that’s not to say that I didn’t love other place or people, but I had an undeniable, almost innate, connection with the people who lived in those places. I look back at those memories, like I do my childhood memories. For all intents and purposes, they could be because no place and no one person has defined me more than The Arc. Ok, maybe my kids and my husband have had a hand in shaping me too, but in three years, I will have been working at The Arc for half of my adult life. I would be lying if I told you that statement doesn’t impact me; I am who I am because of all of the people who I have crossed paths with over the years, all of the experiences they shared with me and the lessons that came along the way. For that, I am thankful.
I don’t know what the next 20 years will bring, but I hope that for any young man or woman who chooses The Arc for an employer that they will soon realize that here, you can have more than a work place. I hope that you find The Arc a place where you can find relationships that mean something, appreciate the impact people you come across have on you and realize the impact that you can have on others. Embrace the learning, the growth and opportunities The Arc can give you. I know if someone would have told me 20 years ago to pay attention because I would end up being “the boss” that I would have NOT believed them. I probably would have promptly stopped paying attention, but at 23, I was a sponge, I was ready to learn and be influenced. Thank goodness I landed here, with the people who were here then (and still for the most part now). For anyone who knows me, they know I hate titles, I would be content being seen as the same “young woman” I was when I started, but when you are given access to people like Henrietta Messier, Chris Liuzzo, Beth Mount, Hanns Meissner, John O’Brien, Michael Kendrick and David Pitonyak, you can’t help being impacted and strive for more; no day is mundane and everyday demands us to see a better future for the people we are here for. So I am surprised, but proud that I am still here, and sit in the seat that I do; I hope to be able to foster the same environment of growth and development for the men and woman of The Arc. When are better for ourselves we can be better for the people we support and we are all better for all being a part of The Arc.
Tracey with Ed Black in 1996
Tracey with Phil Wentworth in 1997