Elise Fredette enjoyed her first time around at Vanderheyden so much, that she decided to join our team again.
Since May, Fredette took on the title of Recreation Coordinator, who plans activities on and off campus for our individuals.
The Cohoes native was previously a School Safety Team Member at our Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center, who left briefly to become an Activities Supervisor at a nursing home in Scotia.
When Fredette, who has a Bachelor's of Science degree from SUNY Cortland in Recreation Therapy, heard about the job opening at Vanderheyden, she jumped at the chance.
"I have a passion for the kids," she says. "I built a relationship with them when I was here before."
"I grew up in a stable, fairly normal home," Fredette says. "So I want to be able to give the kids the opportunities that I had growing up."
There are many other reasons why Fredette chose to come back, including the sense of community she feels at the Vanderheyden organization.
"We're our own kind of bubble here," she says. "I like that everyone is willing to step up when you need it."
Fredette also likes the "what do I need to do, how can I help kind of thing" she finds among her peers at Vanderheyden.
In her role as Recreation Coordinator, Fredette says her goal is to help the individuals "to find something they love to do, and a skill they could carry with them."
"I want them to learn something that they thought they could never do before," Fredette says.
"I think when they learn something, it's a good self-esteem and confidence boost they can carry over into other areas."
What Fredette likes most about her position is seeing the individuals "experience things."
An example of her favorite experience, is when an individual catches their first fish at the pond on our Wynantskill campus.
"You get to see them so excited and proud...and, a little nervous," she says.
Fredette plans a variety of activities for the individuals.
"What don't I do. That's probably easier to answer," she says.
Fredette says another goal is "to get the individuals to try things, and get them out and integrated in the community."
Some of the recent activities included trips to the Saratoga County Fair, Zoom Flume, camping and Zumba outings.
In her spare time, Fredette loves playing sports such as softball, kickball, soccer, basketball, kayaking, and hiking.
She's a huge fan of the Kansas City Chiefs, and a die-hard college basketball fan, citing the Duke Blue Devils as her favorite.
Fredette's hobbies include baking cupcakes, and spending time with family, friends, and "Charlie and Max," her two doggies.
Thank you, Elise, for making a difference in the lives of the individuals we serve!