The Arc Howard County

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Edie serves dinner to Ruth Whye

Edie’s dream came true when she received her first paycheck at Harmony Hall. The 23-year-old had been a volunteer there for more than a year, and when her volunteer work turned into a paid job, it was real cause for celebration.

As Edie’s job developer at The Arc of Howard County recalls, Edie began her volunteer work at Harmony Hall in the recreation area, where she helped with arts and crafts, singing and exercise. She loved the work, and the residents of the assisted living facility loved her. But there was a problem: Edie wanted a paying job.

The Arc reached out to Harmony Hall’s volunteer supervisor, Carrie Brister, and Brister spoke with dietary manager Edgar Zuniga. After a long interview, he agreed to try Edie as a Dietary Specialist in the dining hall for two nights.  It didn’t take him long to make a decision. On her second night, before the residents came in for dinner, he gathered all the dining room employees into a circle and announced that the job was hers if she wanted it.

Edie couldn’t have been more excited.

Edie lives in Columbia with her parents, twin sister Rose and their dog, Pongo. She excels at art and has many interests including bowling, basketball, ice skating and computers.

As a volunteer, she had shown she was hardworking, punctual and dependable. And she also had a special gift for working with seniors. The residents really enjoyed seeing her smiling face and loved her warm ways, according to Harmony Hall staff.

Edie continues to volunteer in Harmony Hall’s recreation area on Tuesdays and Thursdays. But it’s her work in the dining hall that she loves most.  She’s there three evenings a week and some weekends serving meals, helping the residents carry their trays to their tables, bringing them coffee and beverages and filling out the menus for people who can’t do it for themselves. She also helps bus the tables and set up silverware and place mats for the next meal.

Zuniga admits he has high expectations for Edie, as he does for everyone who works for him. “Edie is very dependable, always on time and a favorite with the seniors at the dining hall,” he says. “She takes time to talk to them and really cares about how they are doing. They appreciate that.”

Edie is very dependable, always on time and a favorite with the seniors at the dining hall.”

Edgar Zuniga, Dietary Manager at Harmony Hall