Project SEARCH Graduates Honored at Middlesex Health

May 31, 2023
Project SEARCH

To the familiar notes of “Pomp and Circumstance,” Project SEARCH graduates, with their decorated caps and blue gowns, proudly filed into the David A. Baggish Conference Center at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown on May 26.  

Project SEARCH is a program run by MARC Community Resources. It helps individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities gain real-world job experience by interning with Middlesex Health. 

Family members, mentors and friends teared up as each of the seven graduates received their certificates and shared a few words about their nine-month internships with Middlesex Health. 

During her internship, Brianna Stange learned new skills and made new friends, while Crystal Reid’s experience in the Middlesex Hospital Gift Shop helped her with her money skills. Benjamin Szymanski learned how to ask for help when needed. 

All seven graduates began their internships last fall and have worked in various departments throughout Middlesex Health - from Linen Services and Food and Nutrition to Patient Transport and Physical Rehabilitation. Upon graduation, they all received employment offers from the health system.

Today is a celebration of your hard work over the past nine months,” David Giuffrida, vice president of operations, told the graduates during the May 26 ceremony.

The Class of 2023 is the first class to graduate from Project SEARCH at Middlesex Health. The next internship class will arrive in September. 

“This program is a shining example of how we give back to the community,” Giuffrida says. 

The Project SEARCH Class of 2023 includes Ricky Fabian, of Glastonbury; Nicholas Gibertoni, Meriden; Anthony Palaia, Newington; Crystal Reid, East Hampton; Brianna Stange, of Meriden, and Benjamin Szymanski, of Middlefield. 

“We are so very proud of all of our interns,” says Olivia Lespier, Project SEARCH coordinator and skills trainer. 

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