Photo submitted – Kyle Gay and Tatianna Pearsall, both participants of Arc Herkimer’s STEPS program, are proud to be awarded “Volunteer of the Year” by the YMCA of the Greater Tri-Valley.

Herkimer, NY – This month, Arc Herkimer was recognized by the YMCA of the Greater Tri-Valley for their excellence in volunteerism. The YMCA held its 152nd annual meeting, recognizing individuals and organizations that made a significant impact in 2022.

The STEPS program of Arc Herkimer received the award for “Volunteer of the Year” for their commitment and dedication to the Rome branch of the YMCA. At the facility, individuals work closely with staff to maintain the cleanliness of wellness spaces, including sanitizing workout equipment, cleaning gymnasiums, and tidying yoga and exercise rooms.

“I chose Arc Herkimer for this award because participants of STEPS have been consistent volunteers and do a great job assisting staff with their daily duties in the wellness area,” says Bruce Hairston, Branch Director of the Rome Family YMCA. “The members appreciate them, and my staff look forward to working with them. We hope to continue this relationship in the future.”

“We are proud to be recognized for a job well done, as well as for the experience our people supported are able to gain through this volunteer work,” says Shayna Huyck, Assistant Program Director for Arc Herkimer’s Career Connections division. “Participants of STEPS were the first to return to volunteering at the YMCA after the height of the pandemic, and it’s been an important part of their work readiness training.”

STEPS, Supportive Training & Education: A Plan for Success, is an integrated work experience program for people with disabilities in the preliminary stages of career exploration. In the program, individuals identify personalized career goals and receive hands-on job training through volunteerism, community engagement, and classroom skill-building. Arc Herkimer staff lead participants in interacting with supervisors, timeliness, social skill development, communication, stress management, and professionalism.