Rising to the Challenge!

Meet Marcus G.

Marcus relaxingPeople come and go in Ithaca all the time, but for Marcus, Ithaca is home. He’s lived here all his life, end even graduated from Ithaca High School in 2002.
Once he got out of school, Marcus discovered that he liked to cook. He got into the business of cooking at nursing homes for about 12 years, but says he wanted a change.
Before that change came, one of his best friends had told him to come to Challenge to get the training and support he would need to be a success. That’s exactly what Marcus did in September of 2015, and now, he’s one of the most important people inside the Robert Purcell Community Center dish room on the Cornell campus (Challenge, if you didn’t know, is in charge of running that dish room).
His day starts at 8 a.m., and Marcus works by himself for the first few hours. He tackles the commissary dishes, the catering dishes and then starts cleaning the dishes and equipment used by the kitchen staff to prepare meals.

“It’s pretty hectic in the morning,” Marcus says.

And while it is hard work, with some long shifts mixed in here and there, Marcus says he loves the environment and loves the workers there. He says the job helped “open my eyes to things. It brought me out of my shell.” He says he loves to meet new faces and talk to new people, all thanks to this position and the support of Challenge.

His plan is to stay at the dish room for a while, where he’s built up great relationships with his co-workers.
Outside of work, Marcus loves to cook, and describes himself as a “shoe fanatic.”

When we asked him what message he’d like to pass along to the public about Challenge, Marcus said that a lot of people he’s talked to think that Challenge only works with individuals with disabilities.
“There’s more to it,” he says.

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