Bristol Woman Wins State Award And Rediscovers Her Love Of Music In The Process photo provided Helen Zamojski, stage name, Portia, belts out a torch song at Living Well’s Bee a Honey Fun-Raisin’ Dinner at Mary’s Restaurant in Bristol, last November. Tuesday March 23, 2010 It wasn’t long ago that Helen Zamojski thought she would never have fun again, much less earn a living. This was a tough pill to swallow for someone who had once been lucky enough to work as a classically-trained musician. Helen spent years playing the viola in the Washington, D.C area with various orchestras, even performing in the National Cathedral. It was her dream job, but that dream turned into something of a nightmare when Helen developed a debilitating arthritic condition in her spine that made it impossible to hold a viola under her chin. After several risky surgeries and almost being paralyzed, Helen was forced to give up her dream. Helen then moved to Vermont to get away from the stresses of city life that only aggravated her health problems, but found there wasn’t much call for an ex-violist, no matter how talented they were. But Helen wasn’t about to let her disability sideline her for long. With the help of Vermont’s own Department of Vocational and Rehabilitation, Helen was able to build on other skills and find another way to support herself. VocRehab Vermont has been very successful in helping Vermonters with disabilities find employment. Their job placement rate is higher than the national average and has experienced a 142% increase over the last 12 years; moving more than 1200 Vermonters off public assistance and into gainful employment. VocRehab works with the Vermont Association of Business, Industry and Rehabilitation (VABIR) to place people like Helen with employers that are progressive enough to see the advantage of hiring people with disabilities. Living Well Residential Care Home in Bristol is one of those organizations. The holistic and nurturing environment at Living Well Residential Care Home was the perfect place for Helen to begin her new career where she is now serves as their Operations Manager. In fact, Helen’s return to the work world has been so successful she was recently honored with the Director’s Award from Diane Dalmasse, Director of VocRehab and from Chris McCarthy, Executive Director of VABIR. They also honored Living Well Residential Care Home their Director’s Employer Award for their work with Helen. Finding a new way to earn a living inspired Helen to find a new way to bring music back into her life, as well. She may not be able to hold a viola anymore, but she can still hold a microphone and, brother, can she sing!
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