La Bodeguita

Creativity is required in any person-centered approach for those we support and serve, as underscored within the first pillar of the Justice Center's Code of Conduct.  
Here at Sinergia and throughout the years, our very own Efrain Nater exudes this in every aspect of his work as one of our esteemed DSPs (Direct Support Professionals) who is an integral part of the Sinergia team where he currently serves as the Art Specialist within our Day Services team. His leadership, ingenuity, and selflessness modeled daily is so impactful and noteworthy that his achievements were recently recognized at this year's annual Community Care Rx gala!  
We want to seize this opportunity to also highlight his diligent and innovative efforts supporting our Day Services program recipients with the creation of our very own bodega called "La Bodeguita." La Bodeguita, however, was no small feat, but instead one that required months of diligence, planning, and coordination. Efrain’s vision for La Bodeguita derived from his daily mission in his own work for the individuals he serves: to find new ways for them to have fun and to create new resources. 
Drawing inspiration from a pre-pandemic practice at Sinergia called Café Café where Day Services individuals could sell donated baked goods to employees and visitors in efforts to fundraise for art supplies and activities, Efrain wanted to scale this even more! He wanted to build a bodega that modeled any other NYC bodega filled with yummy snacks, tasty treats, and beverages—even healthy options, such as fruits and nuts! How to successfully do this would not only require creativity in the traditional sense (as well as entrepreneurship!), but also creative fundraising.  
Efrain masterfully harnessed his craft to fundraise for the construction of La Bodeguita through something we all love: greeting cards! By creating both traditional and personalized greeting cards, the Day Services participants were able to raise funds for all the supplies they would need to construct La Bodeguita. The cards created for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and others always included a unique warmth, wit, and humor—something missing in greeting cards we see today. Over time, their efforts generated enough funds to make bigger purchases needed for La Bodeguita like an awning, a cash register, shelving, an electric sign, as well as poster-sized color photo printing. Additional donations, such as a refrigerator, would also make nice touches that would be instrumental to the success of the new and upcoming La Bodeguita!  
Moreover, Efrain's novel take on this truly New York staple creates unique opportunities to not only foster additional community within our program and workplace, but also incorporate teachable moments to enhance skills like financial literacy, money management, both as a consumer as well as a small business owner, as well as customer service and interpersonal skills—all of this while eliminating risk, promoting healthy relationships, increasing independence, and celebrating aspects of our truly rich diverse New York culture and traditions.  
Please join us and our Sinergia Familia in uplifting our Day Services participants, Efrain, and all those who came together to make La Bodeguita transform from a dream to reality!  We salute you and thank you for your dedication and commitment to our individuals and to living up to Sinergia's vision that people with disabilities will have the opportunity to achieve maximum wellness through individualization, independence, integration and productivity. We are tremendously proud of you all and thank you for your inspiration and reminder of the power of art! True heart and inspiration! Brav@!  
#TeamSinergia #DayHabilitation #DisabilityDoesNotMeanInability #ItTakesAVillage #BeSomeonesInspiration