NEWS // February 17, 2021

Arc of San Diego Employees Step-Up to Help Clients with Disabilities Navigate the Pandemic

Megan Bosse, Marketing & Community Outreach Manager, The Arc of San Diego

The COVID-19 pandemic brought on fear and uncertainty for so many over the past year. Businesses shuttered, people were afraid to go to work, and even leave their homes. But for Heurys Ramirez and Miguel Sanchez, there was never any doubt that they would continue to provide their clients with the care and support needed to help them through the challenges of the pandemic. Both have been essential in supporting individuals with disabilities for the past year through their work at The Arc of San Diego

Meet Heurys Ramirez

 Heurys Ramirez is an Independent Living Professional who supports 15 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are living independently throughout San Diego. He helps them with the tasks and skills necessary to live on their own, such as grocery shopping and cooking, household and money management, using public transportation, and accessing medical and community resources.

When the pandemic-related shutdown first occurred, the daily resources that so many people often take for granted became even harder for Heurys’ clients to access. Supermarkets became flooded with people, many with lines that wrapped around the block. Doctors’ and dentists’ offices closed or reduced their hours. Public attractions and community centers closed. There were also new safety regulations in place and different procedures to be followed to access these vital resources.

Learning how to navigate the new normal was difficult for everyone, but especially for Heurys’ clients. Heurys helped them to develop strategies to stay busy during their time at home and encouraged them to sign up for webinars and virtual classes. He began accompanying his clients to the grocery store, making sure they wore personal protective equipment and adhered to social distancing protocols. For clients that were not able to leave the house to get to the store, Heurys picked up food for them and delivered it himself.  For those who were struggling financially and were food insecure, he helped them in accessing local food distribution events, and even transported food from these events to clients without transportation.

When the vaccine became available, Heurys assisted eight of his clients with getting vaccinated, even providing his own vehicle for transportation for some. Heurys, who has worked at The Arc of San Diego for nine years, says that in his job “part of the culture is about flexibility.”        

Thanks to Heurys’ flexibility and dedication, he has been able to keep his clients safe and healthy during these unprecedented times. Despite the challenges, Heurys continues to empower his clients to live their most independent and fulfilling lives.


Meet Miguel Sanchez

Miguel Sanchez is a Residential Direct Support Professional for The Arc of San Diego’s Helmer House, one of ten residential homes throughout San Diego County that are operated by The Arc. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Miguel has been working tirelessly to ensure his residents receive the care they need 24/7. Miguel supports six residents with day-to-day activities like cooking, self-care, laundry, cleaning, and money management.

“Miguel has gone above and beyond throughout the pandemic to help support clients living in Arc residential homes and helping to meet all of their needs during these difficult times by working extra shifts or extended hours whenever he is asked to do so on a moment's notice,” said Tamara Degner, Director of Residential Services for The Arc of San Diego.

Miguel is committed to caring for his residents and makes it his goal to get to know each and every client living in the homes, even going out of his way to surprise his residents with things he knows will make them happy. Miguel has a way of bonding with every resident and encourages them to participate in house activities.

When the stay-at-home order went into effect last year, many of the residents started getting stir-crazy and frustrated. To keep them engaged, Miguel created activities for his clients to do at home, like starting a garden.

Miguel works hard to maximize the independence of each and every resident he interacts with.  Not only has Miguel put the needs of others before his own, but he continues to make a difference in the lives of others every day.

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