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NewsJul 22, 2022

Going ‘all-in’ to realize dreams

With support and hard work, a graduate overcomes obstacles to earn degrees from Threshold, Urban College and Lesley

Daniel Dubinsky and Jim Wilbur in academic regalia at Threshold graduation
In this 2013 photo, Daniel Dubinsky, left, chats with the late Threshold Program director Jim Wilbur, whom Dubinsky credits for giving him a strong foundation for success. Dubinsky subsequently earned an associate degree from Urban College and, this past May, earned his bachelor's degree from Lesley.

In January, when Daniel Dubinsky ’22 travels to Fort Myers, Florida, to take the field in a Red Sox Fantasy Camp, it will be another victory for the graduate of our Threshold Program, Urban College and Lesley.

With a persistent and indomitable spirit, and a supportive family and school network, the 30-year-old Dubinsky is already an expert in setting goals, overcoming challenges and turning his dreams into reality.

Daniel Dubinsky in academic regalia holding Lesley degree
This past May, Daniel Dubinsky earned his Lesley University bachelor's degree. He is also a graduate of our Threshold Program and earned an associate degree from Lesley partner Urban College of Boston.

Born with Kabuki syndrome, a rare congenital disorder, Dubinsky graduated from our Threshold Program in 2013, taking business classes. Once he accomplished that goal, he set his sights on building upon the education and independent-living skills he’d learned. He found his next step, enrolling part-time at Urban College of Boston, calling from the dean’s office to inform his mom.

“She has always encouraged me to be the best Daniel I can be,” says the 30-year-old Dubinsky.

He wasn’t quite there yet, he thought. He buckled down and, in 2018, earned his associate degree and, through our partnership with Urban College and the support of Farrah Bruny Brown in our Center for the Adult Learner, earned his bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies with an Education minor.

Dubinsky characterizes his philosophy as “reach for the stars,” and adds, “I never let anyone tell me that I can’t do something.”

But he also credits his mother and other family members for their assistance, saying, “They’re always so supportive of me, and I cannot thank them enough.”

Dubinsky also expresses gratitude for the Lesley peers and personnel who helped him along the way. From his days at Threshold, when he was learning to navigate the MBTA and the Cambridge and Boston area in general, the native New Yorker received support from Threshold’s late program director Jim Wilbur and admissions director Helen McDonald.

Daniel Dubinsky wearing Panama hat in front of Founder's Hall
"Just chillin'": Daniel Dubinsky takes a moment on our Doble Campus.

During his time at Threshold and through his undergraduate years at Lesley, Dubinsky worked at the North Cambridge Children’s Center daycare and, eventually, the Cambridge Street Upper School, a junior high where he worked with eighth-graders.

“I thoroughly enjoyed it,” Dubinsky says. “Every day you have the power and ability to change somebody’s life forever.”

Provided, Dubinsky jokes, that “eighth-graders could put down their phones for a minute.”

The challenge of inattentive students hasn’t put Dubinsky off the teaching track, however.

“I hope to one day teach at Threshold because I think that would be a great homecoming for me,” he says.

However, that’s a future goal. Amid spending his time in his Cambridge apartment “just chilling,” or eating at Cheesecake Factory, Dubinsky has a more immediate task at hand: preparing for Red Sox Fantasy Camp.

Dubinsky experienced a little difficulty out of the gate. “I’m the only Red Sox fan in my family,” he says, mentioning that he routinely takes some ribbing from his family, who are still in New York and, inevitably, root for the Yankees.

But there’s another obstacle. With his Kabuki syndrome, Dubinsky explains, “Fine-motor skills are not an easy thing for me.”

Yet, Dubinsky isn’t letting anything stand in his way. Since last August, he has been working with a personal trainer to get ready to play ball.

“I want to be able participate to the fullest extent,” Dubinsky says. “I don’t go anywhere ‘half-in,’ I always go ‘all-in’ in everything I do.”

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