It’s easy for Bob Renois to explain why he has worked for 23 years at the Guild for Human Services.
“The kids and the staff make me love the job,” he declared. “Because they love me, I love them, too.”
Renois, a residential assistant at the Guild’s Walnut House on Old Billerica Road, was recently honored by the Providers’ Council, a statewide association for human services, health, education, and vocational support organizations.
In the award application, the Guild staff highlighted Renois’ “compassion, patience, and commitment to seeing those he serves grow.”
The Guild for Human Services educates, encourages, and empowers individuals with intellectual disabilities. The Guild operates nine group homes for youth, including two in Bedford as well as a special education school in Concord near Hanscom Field.
“Every day when I get dressed to come to work, I’m happy,” said Renois in an interview. “When I get home before I go to bed, I think what I must remember to do. I love my job.”
There are eight teenage boys at Walnut House. They attend the school during the week, and when Renois has a weekend shift, “they wait for me at the door. They know me as a friend.”
“Each student has an individualized plan, working on gaining more independence,” explained Rich Greif, the Guild’s director of communications and development. “These are family-style homes embedded in the community. The whole focus is on inclusion. It’s important for them to live in the type of home where they can feel included.”
Renois, who also has worked as an assistant residential manager, said, “The job requires a lot of patience, and you have to love the kids. And the way we treat the kids makes you love people.” Asked if there are challenges to his work, he just smiled.
He guides residents as they perform assigned chores at home when needed. He said he works one-to-one and in groups on basic tasks that will promote independence – how to get dressed, tie shoes, do laundry. He also helps supervise activities away from the residence – visits to stores or restaurants, or to soccer fields or basketball courts.
“Bob knows the personal traits of every student and how to support them best,” said Mark Toczylowski, a teacher at the Guild school.
Rich Burke, associate director of youth residential services, said Renois’ support for one youth “was a crucial factor in that student’s success, as he has been in my own. His guidance has been so appreciated by all of us.”
Renois, who is 64 and lives in Waltham, has thought about retirement several times but said his connection to the young residents inspires him to continue. Still, he thinks of returning to his
“This is a very good place to work,” Renois said. “The team at the Guild appreciates the way we work with the kids.”
Greif said colleagues have noted Renois’ personable, warm nature and desire to get to know everyone with whom he works.
“Bob Renois is a truly exemplary Guild employee who makes each individual he serves feel supported, respected, and heard,” said Amy Sousa, the Guild’s chief executive officer.