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Gale Curry has been working at HeartShare for the past five years. During this time, Gale has become known as “Mama Gale,” for her nurturing character as a Direct Support Professional at Queens Day Habilitation Program. When Gale started working with Brian, he was non-verbal and communicated only with gestures. Gale encouraged Brian to initiate conversations with his peers and staff, as well as members of the community. Gale started this process by bringing Brian around the program each day to say “Good morning” to everyone. With Gale’s positive reinforcement, Brian started using more facial expressions and maintaining eye contact with others. Sometimes, he can be heard counting out loud or repeating other lessons that he works on with his HeartShare Speech Therapist. In Gale’s efforts to help Brian express himself, she encouraged Brian to write his name, which he can now do without Gale’s help. Brian also has used those writing skills to create artwork for the ArtShare for HeartShare program and pieces with his signature letter “B” has been sold at the agency’s Annual Spring Gala and Auction. “Over the past five years, Brian has taught me a lot. It doesn’t matter who you are. If you really listen, everyone something to say,” explained Gale.
Gale also has become an advocate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She frequently accompanies our individuals out in the community to volunteer and work sites, as well as on recreational outings. During those outings, Gale has approached neighbors and residents to explain that our individuals have the same rights as others. “One of my biggest challenges has been trying to educate those within our communities to accept them and to understand that they deserve the same rights, respect and kindness that all of us do,” Gale explained. For her meaningful connection to Brian and her deep care for the equal treatment of individuals with developmental disabilities, Gale Curry was promoted to Senior Direct Support Professional and is a 2016 HeartShare Everyday Hero.
Thank you for all you do, Gale!