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Gwynedd Mercy University alum Andrew Harbaugh '20 was named Program Manager of the Year for the Pennsylvania division of Best Buddies.
As Andrew was finishing his bachelor's degree in English and Secondary Education, he was working as a substitute teacher at local public schools. During that time, he was also serving as the Chapter President of GMercyU's chapter of Best Buddies, and accepted an internship with the Best Buddies state office during his senior year.
Little did Andrew know that a Program Manager role would open up and he would be offered the opportunity to start part-time while finishing up his degree. After graduation, he started his role full time, and he's now been in the position for two years.
Although his responsibilities within Best Buddies have grown, Andrew is still proud to be a Program Manager. Within his role, his main focus is on community engagement and overseeing their regional and local adult friendship program called "Citizens." The Citizens Program matches adults with disabilities with a peer from the local community.
Since joining full-time, Andrew has had the opportunity to work with other program members across the country. At the Best Buddies' staff leadership conference in December 2021, Andrew's colleagues nominated him to be Program Manager of the Year. The award was accompanied by a bonus and a plaque. Andrew's boss surprised him with a sweet introduction, and he got the chance to celebrate with his colleagues when the video went live.
"Needless to say, Mercy guided me and GMercyU brought me to where I am. Having that attitude that embraces always leads you into the direction you are destined to be in," Andrew said.