success_peter_ymcaPeter, an upbeat, ambitious and outgoing young man, has many hobbies and interests, including a passion for photography which began during his sophomore year of high school. An avid sports fan, the Worcester, MA-based teenager loved attending his high school’s sporting events, and began taking photos to capture the action.

After graduating from high school, Peter came to Work Opportunities Unlimited, hoping to pursue a career as a photographer. His Career Resource Specialist, Bernadette Denson, was determined to help him pursue his artistic passion.

Bernadette helped Peter secure an intern position at a local photography studio, where he assisted the owner and learned more about the proper composition and lighting of good photographs. Now, Peter works part-time at the studio, working on photo shoots and processing orders while learning more about photography.

The position at the studio has allowed Peter to gain valuable first-hand experience, as he has photographed special events, real estate and local businesses. He has also successfully taken a variety of student portraits. He especially enjoys photographing nature, including landscapes in Maine and on Cape Cod. He exquisitely captures the beauty of the nearby beaches and New England lighthouses – photos that remind him of his favorite vacation memories.

Peter’s portfolio is quite impressive, but perhaps even more so when considering the many obstacles he’s had to overcome in his life. When he was born, his parents were told that Peter would never walk or talk. He was later diagnosed with global developmental delays, apraxia, ADD and Lujan Fryns, a rare disorder that causes intellectual challenges similar to Down Syndrome.

He has had many therapy sessions over the years, including speech therapy, physical therapy, sensory therapy and occupational therapy. What came naturally to his peers took Peter many hours, days, weeks or months to accomplish. But Peter was always determined, and willing to put in the hard work necessary to achieve his goals.

In addition to his part-time position at the photography studio, Peter has been a loyal volunteer at both the YMCA and Meals on Wheels centers in his Massachusetts hometown. One of the YMCA staff members saw Peter’s photographs and was impressed, suggesting that he display them at the YMCA. Peter was thrilled with the idea of sharing his talent with the YMCA members that he has come to know so well. Together, Peter, his mother, and Bernadette worked out the logistics for his YMCA photography show.

Soon, Peter’s photos were displayed on the entry wall of the Hockomock YMCA in Franklin, MA for all to see. The response from the YMCA staff and members has been truly amazing. The local YMCA community has been effusive with their praise of Peter’s work, complimenting his talent and asking about buying his photographs. The YMCA staff has been so pleased with the display – and the members’ response to Peter’s photographs – that they’ve requested that Peter exhibit his work seasonally, showcasing different photographs throughout the year. Peter is thrilled about this opportunity and is working on new photos for his next exhibition.

Bernadette and the entire Worcester Work Opportunities Unlimited team are proud of Peter’s hard work, passion, enthusiasm and talent. They’re thrilled that he’s thriving in his photography career, and they’re proud of his determination to overcome any obstacles. The Work Opportunities Unlimited team – and his supporters at the YMCA – are all eager to see his next photography exhibit and excited to watch his continued successes.