Thank you, Mainstay, for allowing me to grow with you. 

Forty years is a long time, but they fly right by when you love what you do. And as Mainstay’s longest working employee, I am honored and lucky to have loved what I do throughout my entire career.

MaryKay and Ray

I got my start with Mainstay when I was just 19 years old. I was still attending CCAC, studying child development and special education. For my practicums, we were able to choose where we completed them, and I chose Idlewood Center. After I completed my practicums and finished my classes, I worked part-time for Idlewood and was eventually brought on full-time in 1978. I never would have guessed that I would be around to watch Idlewood join to form Mainstay and would still be working here 40 years later, but I am so grateful that’s how everything worked out.

As you can imagine, a lot can change over the course of 40 years and I have certainly had a front row seat for Mainstay’s evolution. When I started, we had nothing but a four-person office staff and one maintenance man. One of the biggest adjustments over the years has been adapting to the much larger staff and management teams – oh, and the computers!

I feel like I have grown up right alongside Mainstay. I was so young when I started – I really was just a kid. I’ve grown in maturity and learned something different in each of my specific types of jobs – part-time employee, program manager and direct care position. I’ve adapted to all of the changes over the years and have learned to always remember to listen, be patient and learn as much as I can about those we support, because that’s how you make the biggest impact.

MaryKay with Michelle Georgakis and Grace Urda at the annual staff appreciation luncheon.

Though my job can be challenging at times, there is nothing more rewarding than helping those we support lead fulfilling lives. I love sharing good days and even the bad ones. Offering support through health declines or tough times isn’t always easy but it’s important and I know it makes a huge difference. I love my job and look forward to tomorrow’s challenges.

Over 40 years, there is bound to be ups and downs, but I’ve always tried to remember that every day counts, and if today doesn’t turn out as well as it could have, tomorrow is another chance to be better.

And I couldn’t ask for a better place to have spent the last 40 years than with Mainstay.

-MaryKay Adams, Community Living Specialist, Mainstay Life Services