George Chamis’ Upbeat Personality is a Light for Others

George Chamis in a black suit, tie and yellow rose on his lapel smiling broadly.Editor’s Note: The New Beginnings series of features aim at highlighting staff and people we support who provide an optimistic outlook on life as we head into 2021.

As we start fresh in 2021, we can all learn a thing or two from George Chamis. His smile is broad and bright. His zest for life lights up a room. He is happiest when participating in social events and with his friends and family.

His outlook, personality and ever-present smile have earned him many dear friends. One of his past direct support professionals once said, “You can’t be sad around George.”

CHOICES at the Ridge day program Community Engagement Team Leader Beth Myers said Chamis, a day program attendee for the past 19 years, has adjusted to changes created by the pandemic even though many of his favorite activities have been paused. An active member of the Winston-Salem day program, Chamis spends most days with his family and misses the many activities that filled his social calendar. He is hoping to get back to his typical busy schedule in the new year.

Myers explained that before the pandemic, CHOICES attendees could select from many events which included the Carolina Panthers Fan Fest, Winston-Salem Dash minor league baseball games, the Night to Shine event, community volunteering and fundraising events. Chamis was an active participant in all of them.

Myers added that community inclusion and integration is key to the success of the day program attendees with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “Building community relationships and having those connections is so important to the people we support. We support thoseBanner emblazoned with George Chamis' photo clapping his hands for The Arc of the Carolinas. connections,” she explained. “The people we support are no different than anyone else. Social relationships and community inclusion and integration increases all of our quality of life.”

Chamis is most often the first to sign up and keeps Myers on her toes because he is always asking for details about upcoming events. Myers, who acts most often as photographer at many of the events attended, says Chamis is the life of the party and his presence makes events that much more fun.

“George just loves to go. He enjoys eating out, bowling and the movies. If asked to go anywhere he is always up for it,” shared Myers.

“He always has me laughing,” she noted. As 2020 came to an end, Chamis took a moment to share his answers to a few questions about his secret to staying positive.

What are some of the reasons that you are so upbeat?
I don’t know. I just am. His mom says he has always been happy.

What are you looking forward to in the New Year?
Coming back to work, going to dances, attending the self-advocacy convention, attending baseball games. I miss all the things that I did before the virus.

What is your secret to enjoying life?
Having family and friends who love me.

What is the best way you that you like to spread your enthusiasm for life?
I like to make everybody happy. I like to laugh and talk nice to people.

Find out more about George Chamis by watching the video below that details how he enjoys an active lifestyle, savors life’s adventures and relishes being on the go.