GRAPHIC: Visionary Voices logo
Institute on Disabilities at Temple University
Interviews    Archives    Performance    ABOUT    DONATE       


Tom Delmastro chapter 7


Chapter 1: Tom's Childhood
Chapter 2: Tom's Experience at Pennhurst; Buildings, Residents, Staff
Chapter 3: Mistreatment at Pennhurst
Chapter 4: Working at Pennhurst
Chapter 5: Conditions at Pennhurst Exposed in the Media, Talk of Closure
Chapter 6: Tom Moves to the Community, Faces Challenges, Moves Temporarily to Allentown State Hospital
Chapter 7: Tom Returns to Community, Finds Employment, Becomes Active Volunteer, Presents on Pennhurst at Meetings and Conferences (you are here)
Chapter 8: Tom Reflects on Life

transcript - entire interview

Tom Delmastro Interview (Word)

transcript - current chapter

Chapter 7: Tom Returns to Community, Finds Employment, Becomes Active Volunteer, Presents on Pennhurst at Meetings and Conferences

21:08:57:04 - 21:09:13:22

Lisa: I knew you were saying that when you left Allentown you began working with providers. I think was Pan Am the first provider you worked with?

Tom: Yeah.

Lisa: So how did your services or life improve when you started working with Pan Am?

Tom: Yeah, they were working with me.

21:09:15:15 - 21:09:44:10

Lisa: And how did things change in your life?

Tom: I moved up very quickly.

Lisa: And what does that mean, to move up very quickly?

Tom: It means I went from point A to point B.

Lisa: So what was point A? Was point A choosing a place to live?

Tom: Yeah.

Lisa: And where did you choose?

Tom: Wherever they put me; that's what I got.

21:09:44:20 - 21:10:11:19

Lisa: Did you get to choose your own roommates?

Tom: Yes.

21:10:13:22 - 21:10:35:00

Lisa: So you had your house, and you had your roommates; different roommates over the years of course...

Tom: Yeah.

Lisa: Were you able to find a job in the community?

Tom: Yeah I'm working with the newspaper delivering. I do my newspaper on Wednesday then I take them.

21:10:56:20 - 21:11:13:07

Lisa: I'm wondering if you were able to tell the people who were supporting you, your providers, what you wanted from life and if they helped you get it?

Tom: I'm not too sure. I don't know.

21:11:17:20 - 21:11:51:09

Lisa: I understand that you were working in a workshop for a while.

Tom: Yeah.

Lisa: What did you think about that kind of work?

Tom: It was - it was like relatively quick. You know you get an object, you just sit there or stand there, and you get that object and someone else will - will do something by saying you got to get it - got to get it ready and get it out of here like they need to ship it right away.

21:11:54:00 - 21:12:21:16

Lisa: And did that kind of work appeal to you?

Tom: When I first started working at Course Training Center I was shown one time to put the object together and turn around. Then when they brought more stuff in, then I had to put that together or package it or whatever.

21:13:09:28 - 21:14:25:02

Lisa: Tom, I understand you do a lot of volunteer work. Can you tell me a little about that?

Tom: Work history: Morning Call - direct marketing / newspaper; volunteer history: [Bethlehem] Music Fest; Bethlehem Cancer Society; Kindlemart, Allentown; March of Dimes, Allentown; Bethlehem Recycle[ing] Center; LifePath, Pennhurst training; Celtic Classic Festival, Bethlehem; Second Harvest [Food Bank] packing food; Salvation Army organizing clothes; and Mayfair [Festival of the Arts] Allentown.

21:14:28:12 - 21:14:37:23

Lisa: Thank you. So you were just reading from your resume?

Tom: Yeah.

Lisa: That's a pretty full resume.

Tom: You can hand it back to Paul.

Lisa: Thank you.

21:14:40:07 - 21:15:14:13

Lisa: Why do you like to do so much volunteer work?

Tom: See that way, that way I would like to learn more about the community.

Lisa: And what do you learn about the community by doing volunteer work?

Tom: That I'm... that I know that if I do it I would be well prepared for that.

Lisa: Are you hoping it'll prepare you for other kind of work?

Tom: Right now I do have a job and...

21:15:20:06 - 21:16:08:17

Lisa: Okay. I'm wondering, Tom, and I don't know if you ever would have had time between work and volunteer work...

Tom: Well volunteer work is after, before hours and when I do regular work I start around 8 o'clock in the morning to deliver paper to 11. Then I call my paper route and then after I do that then I have time to go to McDonald's to either get iced tea or lunch.

21:16:11:05 - 21:16:28:28

Lisa: Tom by doing all this volunteer work you're getting to meet so many people in the community.

Tom: Yeah.

Lisa: Have you found that the community has always been welcoming to you?

Tom: Sort of.

Lisa: Why sort of?

Tom: That I'm getting used to it. Pardon me.

21:16:31:00 - 21:17:06:18

Lisa: So I'm wondering if you ever became involved in any self-advocacy groups like Speaking...

Tom: Yeah I used to be in Self... I forget the name of it.

Lisa: There are a few. Speaking for Ourselves was a good...

Tom: Yeah, Speaking for Ourselves; I didn't care for that too much...

Lisa: Why did...

Tom: ...because they wanted me to know why institutions should be closed [and I wasn't really into letting them know why that is].

21:17:09:24 - 21:17:18:12

Lisa: But you have told people about your experiences at Pennhurst?

Tom: Yeah.

Lisa: And you give presentations about that sometimes...

Tom: Yeah.

21:17:18:17 - 21:17:58:17

Lisa: So why is it important for you to share those experiences?

Tom: It is that I... that I want people to know if they ever had a person that is coming around as a new person, and if they ever open them up again they're going to end up by having problems like any other one that used to be at Pennhurst. I mean it's just like if you throw a yo-yo down it's going to come back up.

Share this page:
Follow us:
GRAPHIC: visit our blog    GRAPHIC: Like us on Facebook.      GRAPHIC: Follow us on Twitter.