BALTIMORE — Aubrenda Ervin played a significant role in the Arc Baltimore’s transition from traditional day programming to a more community and employment focused organization.
Meanwhile, Zelda Guster has gained a reputation for setting up food and drinks for meetings, taking crews out for Meals on Wheels deliveries, and spending time asking companies to give The Arc work crews a chance.
Both Baltimore residents were honored by The Arc recently.
Ervin received “The Arc’s Excellence in Direct Support” Award while Guster earned “The Arc’s Employee of the Year” for Direct Program Award.
“The best part of my job is knowing that I can make a difference,” Ervin said in a statement issued through a spokesperson.
Ervin, who has four children and has worked at The Arc since 1993, said an individual she is currently working with one-on-one is proving to be her most meaningful experience.
The individual described to Ervin the many challenges that prevented her from being successful. Now, a custodial worker for the MTA, the individual has been able to thrive, an Arc spokesperson said.
“Well, I’m a mother,” Ervin said when asked why she believes she was able to succeed in helping. “I can treat her like a daughter, a peer and a friend, and as a result, she’s developed trust and it’s just been the right combination.”
Dedicated to providing advocacy and high quality, life-changing supports since 1949 in Baltimore City and Baltimore County, The Arc Baltimore supports more than 6,000 adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
The Arc has approximately 800 full and part time employees and provides services at eight major facilities and more than 100 owned and leased residential sites located in the Baltimore metropolitan area.
As one of the nation’s largest and most respected organizations of its kind, officials at the nonprofit describe The Arc Baltimore as an indispensable resource, providing employment training and support, day and residential services, family support and education, treatment foster care, respite care, public policy advocacy, and information and referrals.
Affectionately known as Peaches, Guster has worked for 19 years with The Arc. She describes the best part of her job as being able to help make a difference in the lives of others. The soon-to-be newlywed who also has three grownup children says she joined the church of one individual that she supports through The Arc and their families have become close.
She says she is also excited about helping to find job opportunities for individuals in The Arc’s day program.
“They just need a chance,” Guster said. “They can do so much.”