Every year, Rob Germosen, driver at Williamsbridge Family Residence, looks forward to socializing and celebrating with fellow staff and Williamsbridge residents at their annual holiday party.
“I was with the cotton candy machine,” he recalls of the previous year’s event.
That kind of enthusiastic participation is characteristic of Germosen’s welcoming presence at Williamsbridge.
“Rob is that employee that is willing to help anyone who needs it,” says Marisol Santiago, Administrator at Williamsbridge Family Residence, of Germosen’s friendly and proactive presence at Williamsbridge
“I’m a driver,” Germosen says. “But I’m not just a driver.”
Through his role, he regularly works with the full diversity of HFH staff, partners, and families at Williamsbridge, often establishing a warm and conversational rapport.
“I get along with everybody,” he says. “I talk about food. Even with the kids.”
He also enjoys chatting about hunting, fishing, the outdoors, and his two sons, one of whom is a student and the other of whom is preparing to join the army.
In addition to bringing families and housing specialists to apartment viewings, transporting students for field trips and events, and picking up donations from around New York City, Germosen regularly provides additional support to Williamsbridge that extends beyond the driver’s seat.
He notes that his own strong family ties inform how he interacts with children at Williamsbridge.
“I’m a family man and it’s a family shelter,” he says. “I’ve got a family that supports me so I think that I can shed a little love too.”
With that in mind, he takes special care while interacting with children at Williamsbridge, who know him as Mr. Rob. He offers them consistency through his warming presence and even, when requested, the occasional homework help.
“They’re already in a hard situation so I try to make it as comfortable as I can,” he says. “I always ask them how school is and what did they learn today. A simple good morning will take you a long way.”
For Germosen, the most rewarding part of his position comes when he coordinates with housing specialists as families prepare to move into permanent housing, providing transport to appointments and apartment viewings.
He often finds himself comforting the families he has gotten to know during this emotional transition.
“These kids look at me and that’s the parent in me kicking in,” he says. “I tell them that everything is going to be fine. I feel good that we’re getting them out of here on a positive note.”