S:US Employee Who Overcame Homelessness Wins Award
Photo credit: NYN Media
S:US’ Gary Caldwell was recently awarded a Front Line Heroes Award from New York Nonprofit Media for his dedication, excellence, and commitment to serving those in need. Gary helps individuals receiving psychiatric treatment at the hospital to find secure housing so that they have a safe place to live when they are discharged. He also helps them re-integrate into the community as they manage all components of a successful life.
As a peer coordinator, Gary’s work is especially meaningful to him. He helps individuals overcome circumstances he himself struggled with in the past.
“I tell [my peers], ‘I’ve been homeless. I’ve been incarcerated and you can get better if you want to. The help is here.'”
“Gary has a deep personal wisdom, gained while overcoming many of his own struggles and life’s harsh circumstances…[his] genuineness, kindness, and non-judgmental approach has led to people reconsidering negative behaviors like drug use, aggression, or not caring for their health,” say his colleagues Barry Granek and Sylvia Andreatto, who nominated Gary for the award.
“When you work with people who have gone through similar struggles that you have gone through, you have so much empathy,” Gary continues. “You remember how you felt when you were going through these struggles and how good it felt when someone was willing to help you.”
Every day, S:US’ front line staff work directly with individuals challenged by homelessness, addiction, and the aftermath of trauma. Their work takes strength, hope, and dedication, and it is an honor to have their accomplishments recognized.