Making a Difference: Eric Bryant

Eric Bryant (L) with Justin (R), a participant in Frazer’s Adult Program

Being an extrovert is not a prerequisite for working with people with disabilities, but in Eric Bryant’s case, it comes in handy. Eric is a Direct Support Professional with the Frazer Center Adult Program, and he has a way of engaging those around him that seems effortless. Perhaps it was growing up with two older brothers with Down syndrome, or perhaps he was just born with it. Regardless, the adults he works with enjoy having him around.

Eric hasn’t always been in the developmental disabilities profession. He grew up in Chicago and was one of five boys being raised by their mom who worked varied shifts at a factory. Eric and his youngest brother, Antonio, often found themselves in the position of helping out with the care of their two older brothers with Down syndrome.

When Antonio grew up, he went straight into the disabilities field, but Eric worked for many years as a field manager for an environmental and consumer watchdog organization. When he maxed out his growth potential there, he decided he was ready for a change. Life took him to Michigan where Antonio was living. Eric began working in retail management, and Antonio helped him find part-time work in a group home where Eric would spend weekends helping the residents live independently.

Eventually, Eric’s fiancée Joi wanted to move south to be closer to her family. Eric was hesitant at first. He enjoys the fast pace of city life and having everything accessible to him at any time. But love prevailed, and they ended up in a suburb of Atlanta. Joi moved first and landed a teaching job with the Frazer Center’s Child Development Program. Eric eventually made the move, and it wasn’t long before a position opened up in the Adult Program.

“It’s an awesome job,” he says. “I knew I was going to be in some type of field where I could be of service to others—anywhere where you feel like you’re making a difference.” Eric was particularly drawn to the community inclusion aspect of Frazer’s mission. He appreciated that Frazer was “willing to expand, trying to carve out unique employment opportunities for these individuals.” He loves watching the program participants step outside of their comfort zones to try something new. Witnessing their growing sense of empowerment “is very gratifying,” he says. “You’re not going to get rich doing this work. You should want to do it to make a difference in people’s lives.”

Eric has been in Georgia for over three years now, and he is adapting to Southern living. He’s still full of energy, and that just might be his superpower—that, and the willingness to pay attention and engage with anyone he’s with.  “I’m very happy with what I do.”

And it shows. Thank you, Eric!

Eric and Adult Program participants enjoying a recent luau dance party…