Gregory Fainberg is a unique and compassionate volunteer who began visiting Shady Grove Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in March of 1994. He wakes up every morning, Monday through Friday, looking forward to spending three hours of his day helping others. To date, Greg has contributed almost 5,000 hours as a volunteer at Shady Grove.
Greg is a remarkable individual who overcame many obstacles to dedicate his time to volunteering. Born visually impaired and with cerebral palsy, Greg uses a wheelchair. Although he is limited to the amount of physical activity he can do, he has an amazing will and manages to accomplish an extraordinary amount of things.
Greg is supported by SEEC, a non-profit organization dedicated to enabling persons with developmental disabilities to become contributing members of their community. SEEC and Greg’s family believe that he has the right to work within his community in the same manner as his non-disabled peers. They help him to determine what he wants for his life and support him in making his personal visions a reality.
Greg has a desire to give to his community. Part of his personal vision is to help the staff and residents at Shady Grove. Every morning, Greg takes a cab to work where he is met by a SEEC Employment Specialist. With her assistance, he helps the staff and residents with the group activities and day-to-day tasks. He greets all residents as they arrive and helps with miscellaneous tasks; such as the distribution of materials, clean up, and his favorite—calling bingo. He also provides companionship for many residents.
The residents are delighted to see Greg as he delivers their mail every morning. This social young man always has something nice to say and brightens every room he is in. He knows all of the residents’ names and their voices and he considers them his friends.
Before his work at Shady Grove, Greg spent two years with Lealand Recreation Center in Montgomery County. From 1991 to 1993, he volunteered at the activities desk, welcoming guests, checking ID’s, and handing out sports equipment. As a result of his work, Greg received an Outstanding Volunteer Award from the Montgomery County Community Service Partnership, Inc. and the Volunteer Center.
Through Greg’s charitable activities, he sets an example for other SEEC clients and staff. They see the consistency and quality of his accomplishments and realized they are also capable of helping others through volunteering. Everyone knows Greg because of his cheerful presence and because he was one of SEEC’s original clients when the nonprofit began in 1988. As a founding member of the organization, Fainberg’s mother saw the need for her son to work and give to the community.
“Greg accomplishes so much through his volunteer activities,” states Karen Lee, SEEC, Executive Director.” He not only enriches the lives of the elderly through his companionship, but he also brings attention to individuals with developmental disabilities. With the right support, he has given back to his community. It certainly has not been easy, but Greg wouldn’t have it any other way.”