Robert Makes a Lasting Impact
Robert—a 2008 Ripple of Hope award winner—makes an impact on everyone that he meets, regardless of whether they’re coworkers or participants at the day program known as Alternative to Employment (ATE) where he provides support. Throughout his 13-year career, Robert has served individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities with a caring, patient and gentle nature that is difficult to describe.
“It’s impossible not to be rewarded by his mere presence,” said Chris Cagliostro, a regional administrator for MENTOR Oregon. “He is eternally calm and kind, but he is not passive. People sit up and listen when Robert talks. He has a gift for connecting with others that’s simply not teachable.”
Connecting with Others is Robert’s Gift
Perhaps that gift is what keeps Robert working at MENTOR Oregon. Just three days after Robert reluctantly retired from his full-time position as a Direct Support Professional (DSP) with MENTOR Oregon due to health challenges, he called to say that he wasn’t quite done working with the individuals at his ATE program. He wanted to return part-time. Although Robert’s health keeps him from working as much as he’d like, his heart is still with the program participants every day.
“It’s just a matter of connecting with their world,” Robert said of those served at the ATE program. “The smallest thing—a touch, a smile—can be the biggest thing in the world for these folks. All anyone wants is for you to connect with them in some way. With the program here, and MENTOR Oregon in general, the individuals receive care that leads to growth in self-confidence.”
Those connections are what have made Robert’s career so remarkable.
“Robert’s impact at MENTOR Oregon has been immeasurable,” said Kristin Davolt, lead staff member at the ATE in Halsey. “He brings an aura of humor, kindness and empathy to everyone he meets. His spirit is inspiring to us all.”