Zac Baenziger works with Drew Thorn as
a volunteer in Adult Services.

On nearly any workday, you will find 30-year-old Zachary Baenziger busy at his volunteer job at Abilities United.  He smiles widely and states, “It gives me pleasure to help and I know people appreciate what I do.  I am glad to provide support so we can move forward to get things done more quickly or keep from getting behind.”  Zac has a beaming personality, which has helped him create an essential role for himself at Abilities United.
Zac has volunteered between 10 to 15 hours a week for the past two years. From scanning projects to filing, he works side-by-side other Abilities United staff and brings an up-beat spirit to the office.
Born in Vallejo, Zac was raised in Los Altos, and graduated from Los Altos High. When he finished high school, he qualified for support from the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR).  He was intent on finding a job since he did not want to stay at home doing nothing in particular.   His DOR counselor sent him to Abilities United to receive job search skills and placement. He recalls that with his combination of challenges, learning these skills was very important to his ability to find employment.  Zac also took a series of business office procedures courses through adult education at the Adult Education Center in Mountain View.
Over those twelve years, Zac worked for a clothing store, an Italian deli, upscale food store, and in his father’s business. He was recently hired to do administrative work at a Ada’s Café that is scheduled to open in the new Mitchell Park Public Library.
When Zac is not at work or is in between jobs, he volunteers at Abilities United, ready to complete whatever tasks need to be done. “I like the people here and Abilities United gives me somewhere positive to go.” Doing a variety of office tasks helps keep up his office skills.
Drew Thorne, Adult Services Coordinator, is Zac’s supervisor at Abilities United. He explains that, among the administrative volunteers that work in his department, Zac works long hours, handles technically complicated tasks, and takes ownership of long-term projects. Drew continues, “Our relationship with Zac exemplifies an intrinsic approach of Abilities United: we are connecting abilities with opportunities; we’re showing that strength and inclusivity go hand in hand. We help him prepare for employment, and he helps us with our workload. Zac works hard and rises to a challenge, his impact here is immeasurable.”
Zac is thorough, pays close attention to details, and is always willing to help at a moment’s notice.  He is excited to learn new things. As a result, he has expanded his skills and effectiveness. He easily collaborates with staff and volunteers. He takes time to engage and support other volunteers in their work.  “Zac is a very supportive person,” reflects Drew. “Zac is a hard worker who takes pride in his results and rises to new challenges; his impact here is immeasurable.
Zac likes being part of an organizational community and finds it hard to imagine not coming to Abilities United.  “If I stayed home in my apartment I would be missing out, feeling unmotivated. My favorite part of Abilities United is the employees and participants.  We offer and provide good programs.” 
Based on a 2013 interview with Carol Lillibridge. Written and edited by Carol Lillibridge and Wendy Kuehnl.