Tori Gerstley is an outgoing, personable young woman whose goal was to work with the elderly in a nursing home as an activities staff person. She knew she would excel in a job that allowed her to be social and plan events.
She began her career as a Project SEARCH Intern at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital. After graduating from the program in 2015, there were, unfortunately, no openings or opportunities that fit within her interests.
After speaking with a workforce development specialist at Project SEARCH, Tori decided to stay at the hospital’s Calvert Lab as a receptionist. She knew her chance to prove herself would arrive soon.
Neil MacDonald, The Arc’s Board President at the time, reached out to a colleague Holly O’Shea at FutureCare, a local network of short-term rehabilitation and skilled nursing care centers, to tell them about the Project SEARCH program and see if they had any openings that would be a fit for the interns.
In 2016, a group of managers from FutureCare, including Dawn Worsley, who oversees their therapeutic recreation services, toured Union to learn more about Project SEARCH and ran into Tori. Tori dazzled her visitors with her outgoing personality and positivity. Tori’s opportunity for her dream job had finally come knocking—or, visiting.
That same day, Dawn called the program coordinator at The Arc and advocated for Tori to attend the 90 hour education program to obtain an activities program national certification class that she taught even though Tori didn’t have the required high school diploma. Dawn knew there was no way a piece of paper would keep Tori out of the program and prevent her from this professional development opportunity.
Shortly after she started the class, Dawn hired Tori as a full time activities assistant in June of 2016.
This past summer, Tori celebrated her one year work anniversary and passed her certification class with flying colors.
The residents respond brightly to her bubbly personality and she’s known around the center as Miss Congeniality. She takes pride in knowing that she is where she is supposed to be.
Neil MacDonald – Vice President of Operations at MedStar Union Memorial & Good Samaritan Hospitals
Holly O’Shea, RN, Esq. – Vice President of Human Relations & Corporate Counsel Corporate Compliance Officer at FutureCare
Dawn Worsley ADC/EDU/MC, CADDCT, CDP – Director of Recreation and Volunteer Services at FutureCare