Chimes Graduates Like Gennadi Remind Us Why Disability Awareness Matters
Disability Awareness Month is all about uplifting the rights of people with disabilities while also celebrating their contributions to our communities and society as a whole.
At Chimes, we affirm and celebrate people with disabilities, like Gennadi, every day. And because of our Chimes community — namely, friends like you — customers who meet Gennadi in his role at Home Depot would never guess that there was a time when doctors offered a grim assessment of his capabilities.
Adopted from Russia by parents Tony and Fran when he was just three years old, Gennadi was diagnosed early on with developmental delays. “[Doctors] told us we would have issues with Gennadi and that we shouldn’t expect much out of him,” Tony told us. “Boy, did he prove them wrong!”
It was Chimes who made the life-changing difference for Tony, Fran, and their young son. The couple enrolled young Gennadi in the Chimes School, “and it was the best decision we ever made for him,” Tony says. “He really blossomed.”
After graduating from Chimes School, Gennadi stayed in Chimes Maryland’s programs. Young adulthood can be an unsettling time for people with disabilities, but with help from Chimes, Gennadi developed marketable vocational skills, taking on a series of jobs and doing each one well.
Gennadi ultimately landed a role as an attendant at Home Depot, where he has been for four years. He stocks shelves, answers customer questions, loads purchases into vehicles, and recently was even honored by the Baltimore County Commission on Disabilities as their 2021 Employee of the Year!
“Gennadi has really grown into his role at Home Depot,” says his supervisor Joanna. “Everybody needs a chance, and I am proud to be a part of Home Depot’s commitment to giving people with disabilities a chance to succeed on the job,” she says. “It is great to see how they fit into a team and make a contribution every day.”
Because of the support of wonderful friends like you, Chimes will continue to be there for Gennadi and hundreds of others like him with disabilities. Chimes offers support to those already in jobs, along with social activities in our day programs and training and employment opportunities that capitalize on what peoples’ strengths and passions — should Gennadi want to pursue a new adventure down the road.
“Gennadi is the embodiment of the best Chimes has to offer — a lifetime of support and opportunity,” said Douglas Smith, Director of Employment Services at Chimes.
Proud father Tony adds, “Gennadi is a blessing to our lives. He brought joy to our entire family, and we are grateful for all Chimes has done for him.”