Two young men at the Human Resources Center give their communities a boost

Hawley. Matthew Giansanti saw the need for better lighting after dark in Milford Borough and set to work to make that happen. Zachary Potter is celebrating his one-year work anniversary at the Wayne County Courthouse.

06 Jan 2021 | 02:26

The Human Resources Center has spotlighted two young men who have been making big moves in their communities.

“Our consumers are always giving us a reason to brag about them,” said a statement from the center, a nonprofit agency established in 1973 dedicated to serving and supporting people with disabilities in Pike, Wayne, Carbon, Monroe, Lackawanna, and Susquehanna counties.

Matthew Giansanti shines a light

Matthew Giansanti, a participant of the center’s Small Group Employment program, recently headed up an initiative to bring better lighting to Milford Borough crosswalks.

Matt’s employment hours often required him to walk home after dark, especially during the bleak winter months. He quickly noticed that lack of adequate lighting at crosswalks resulted in cars not stopping for pedestrians at marked crosswalks.

Identifying the danger this situation posed, Matt decided to create a petition and garner support for the introduction of more sufficient lighting at Milford Borough crosswalks. He collected a staggering 130 names in support. Matt is slated to present his case at the Milford Borough Council meeting via Zoom.

In the meantime, Matt has focused his efforts on promoting the wearing of orange wristbands by individuals with disabilities. This endeavor comes on the heels of a viral CNN video depicting a 16-year old diagnosed with epilepsy and autism being hit and handcuffed by Fresno police while having a seizure. The orange wristbands more clearly identify people with disabilities to law enforcement officers and rescue teams. Matt also advocates for better training for law and rescue personnel, remarking that this horrifying instance of misconduct “shouldn’t happen” and can be prevented.

Both of Matt’s initiatives were brought to life by his support team, which was inspired and moved by his concern for others. His mother, Karen Guest, and co-workers, Ashley Collman and Sean Cavalone, helped Matt bring his aspiration to fruition.

Pike County Commissioner Matt Osterberg was also an avid supporter of Matt’s efforts, along with Milford’s residents, who offered their signatures. Human Resources Center employee Cindy Hansen summed up Matt’s intentions: “He wants to make a difference.”

Zachary Potter achieves milestone

Zachary Potter, a Honesdale High School graduate, recently celebrated his one-year work anniversary at the Wayne County Courthouse.

Prior to serving the county, Zach participated in the Project SEARCH program at the Wayne Memorial Hospital, an innovative business-led employment preparation program that transitions people to community-based employment. Having successfully completed the program, Zach obtained his first job at the courthouse where he remains over a year later.

The Human Resources Center says this huge accomplishment is a result of Zach’s incredible work ethic and ability to adjust to changing expectations, specifically after returning to his role in the maintenance department following the COVID-19 layoff. His steadfast support system of family, co-workers, and job coaches played a key role in helping Zach achieve this milestone.

“Pandemic-related routine changes helped to make his role easier on him, improving his work amazingly!” said his former job coach and Human Resources Center employee, Ariel Hoherchak. Another job coach and center employee, Megan Sherman, said, “Zach isn’t one for the spotlight. He does his job with focus and doesn’t expect accolades. He is reliable and rarely misses a day of work. I’m happy to be part of his team!”

Sean Donohoe, the director of Career Options and Development at the center, said he couldn’t be more thrilled for Zach’s latest achievement. “We are so proud of him,” he said. Congratulations, Zach!

At the time of the Human Resources Center’s inception, there were very few options for people with disabilities, and community acceptance was sparse. Its visionary founders, a group of local professionals and parents, believed in a brighter and more inclusive future for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“We are incredibly proud of both Zach and Matt’s commitment to their communities and the betterment of them in their own unique ways. The Human Resources Center would like to thank these young men for their dedication and service!”