Marie Schleinkofer has been with The Arc of Atlantic County for over 20 years. Marie began her career as a Direct Support Professional (DSP) teaching life skills. Her desire to see individuals grow in new ways led her to creating the Recreation Program; currently the largest and most popular program offered at The Arc of Atlantic County. As the first Recreations Coordinator, Marie enjoyed seeing program participants learn new skills, make friends and grow their confidence and self-esteem. 10 years after developing the Recreation Program, Marie started working in the Supportive Living Program. This program offers one-on-one relationships with the individuals, and an intimate connection that Marie greatly appreciates. Marie diligently encourages people to push their limitations and strive to succeed.
Marie’s passion goes beyond the people she supports at the Arc; she is an advisor and liaison to the local Aktion Club of the Kiwanis. The Aktion Club is for adults with disabilities interested in community service. Her dedication has helped individuals discover their hidden talents and what truly makes them happy. By encouraging involvement in a creative arts club, five participants have art work representing North America in a traveling exhibit starting in Germany that is now in Italy. Marie saw beyond the immediate social benefits of the club and recognized opportunities for greater connections within the community.
Students grow in positive and creative ways through the influence and guidance of Marie. She continues to find new educational outlets and has been a strong force in their progress though her enthusiasm and interest in their well being. Her genuine concern for those she serves and her keen intuitive sense help to lead both consumers and staff in reaching their goals. Her many years of experience and clear vision guide all at The Arc in delivering quality care.
“My position as a Direct Support Professional (DSP) has provided me with many opportunities to assist the individuals supported by The Arc of Atlantic County to enrich their lives. I have had the privilege of getting to know several of the wonderful individuals we support. I am able to be part of their lives and contribute in small ways to their accomplishments. How many jobs give a person the chance to support an individual to vote for the first time at age 40, or to see someone who believed he could only color in coloring books, produce an original painting that was sold at a juried art show? Additionally, through my experience knowing and working with the individuals we support I have come to challenge my own assumptions about their abilities and capabilities. I continue to witness their strength, courage, persistence and creativity and this enriches my own life.”