Our longest-serving employee
Sherry Opper’s inspiration has always been her son, Geoff, now 25, who has autism. When Sherry started working at BrickWays 20 years ago — our longest serving employee — her main focus at the beginning was to better her son’s life.
In the course of doing that, she learned so much more. “The longer I work with BrickWays clients, I myself become a better person,” she said. “I can’t see myself not being a part of their lives. They are my everything.”
Sherry, BrickWays housing manager and a life skills coach, remembers one client having his Social Security money cut drastically and suddenly. “He could still pay rent, but couldn’t afford food.” She took him to the Salvation Army, where he got a week’s worth of food and toiletries, then helped him navigate other community resources to keep him going.
“That’s absolutely the BrickWays way,” she says.
She has taught clients to cook, once beginning with cucumber sandwiches (“It
took four hours to get through one cucumber”) and moving onto lasagna roll-ups, meatballs and chef salads. And she continues to learn from them, she insists. “From the older generation, I’ve learned the more everyday stuff, like clothes and hygiene. The younger generation has taught me about electronics, appointments, meds.”
And she’s still inspired by her son. “He taught me to be more patient and to learn more. He prepared me for caring for the individuals I care for at BrickWays.”