Jerry Carbone Uses Experiences
With Disability to Advocate for Others
Windsor, N.J. - Jerry Carbone '03 (A.S., General Business)
never lets challenges stand in his way. In fact, his gung-ho
personality, coupled with his drive and ambition, have made
him the perfect match in his job as outreach coordinator and
program assistant for the Progressive Center for Independent
Living (PCIL) in Hamilton. Every day, Carbone and other staff
members strive to provide resources and services such as accessible
housing, transportation and other support programs to individuals
have always been outspoken about my rights and things I know
to be true," Carbone said. Born with cerebral palsy and
a wheelchair user since age three, Carbone is dyslexic and
has limited use of his right hand. "I use the knowledge
I have acquired to help others. I have always let people know
the ways they can make something better for a person with
a disability. Now, I get paid to do it!"
Carbone joined the PCIL staff three years ago, his responsibilities
have grown as he spreads the word about the non-profit's mission
at community events and trade shows, and works behind the
scenes developing brochures, flyers and newsletters. He also
serves as a training coordinator, assisting in the center's
Emergency Preparedness Program, which educates emergency personnel
in the basics of helping people with disabilities. He also
presents disability sensitivity and emergency preparedness
workshops to companies and community leaders.
is certain that Mercer was the right place to begin his college
education. "Mercer's Business program was a great springboard,"
he said. "Without the knowledge and experiences I had at Mercer,
moving on to a university would have been extremely difficult. I
learned just as much outside the classroom as inside. I obtained
a good education in a safe and friendly environment. Part of feeling
that way came from the faculty and staff with whom I interacted
on a daily basis. I also met my girlfriend on Mercer's campus and
we're still together today. Mercer changed my life."
faculty members in particular left an indelible impression -- Herb
Spiegel, who taught marketing, and Don Lowing, who taught photography.
"Both taught me about real life situations and different ways
to deal with people," said Carbone, who was a conscientious
and accomplished student. Named to both the President's and Dean's
lists, he was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor
Society and was selected as the Student Government Association representative
for the society. In 2004, he returned to MCCC to earn a Certificate
of Proficiency in Small Business Management.
transferred to Rider University, where he majored in Business Administration.
Rider's Student Support Services/TRIO Program honored Carbone by
establishing The Gerald V. Carbone Award in his name in 2008. The
award recognizes students who display courage, a tenacious attitude
and a desire to succeed in the face of personal and academic challenges.
makes a positive difference in the lives of others no matter where
he goes," said Queen Jones, director of Rider's SSS/TRIO Program.
"He is a highly knowledgeable individual who has mentored so
One of Carbone's guiding principles is Henry Ford's mantra, "Obstacles
are those frightening things you see when you take your eyes off
advises, "It takes life's experiences to help shape you as
a person, so get involved. Everyone has challenges. You can still
lead a productive and meaningful life."
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