Since 1989, Larry has been bringing his own brand of joy to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) who look to him for support in community living settings. He brings hope to people who suffer from a variety of disabilities by providing them with safe living environments, helping them with daily tasks, and teaching them life skills. He has known some of his clients for decades; he says “they are almost like family”. And they depend on him to learn the simple skills they need to live, like tying your shoe and buttoning your shirt. When he began his career, he discovered many were more able than their medical histories indicated; and, as he worked with them, he considered himself a teacher with students who had been isolated or institutionalized but wanted to learn. His job can be a roller coaster ride; however, he finds it enjoyable and rewarding when he sees his people now able to cook simple meals and build lives for themselves.
As a DSP in these troubling times of the COVID-19 crisis, he continues to serve despite the threat to his life and health. Larry has worked around the clock since the epidemic hit JEVS and several of his coworkers contracted the disease. He also watched as some clients, dear friends he has served for years, died from this devastating disease. He is one of the nation’s essential workers; we thank him for his courage and dedication.
He has seen his job change over 30 years and he’s been part of the union negotiating team that fought for better pay, medical benefits and working conditions. He credits the union with stabilizing the profession in Philadelphia and says “negotiating contracts is not as easy as you think”.
Larry is looking forward to retirement…but not for a couple of years. His advice for the younger people coming into to union? “Sign up for the 401K!’’