Filomena has lived with Jeanette, an older woman with a developmental disability and a Greater Opportunities Day program participant, for many years, and every time she’d bring Jeanette to the Day Program, all the clients would immediately come up to her and greet her. It was an open, inviting atmosphere, and she saw how well the clients were treated, how kind and knowledgeable the staff was, and immediately knew this was the organization she wanted to work for. Since 2007, Filomena has worked at Greater Opportunities as a Supported Living Services caregiver and a staff member at the Day Program.
Filomena is smart, wise, and has an easygoing personality. She takes challenges as they come. She is usually one of the first people to respond if someone is in need. Because she’s worked with many different clients and people with a wide range of disabilities, she’s learned to adapt to many different learning styles and how to quickly identify people’s needs.
She cares deeply about the people she works with. Working at with Greater Opportunities, Filomena has learned that the people they serve are truly incredible souls, “I’ve learned that they will do anything to protect us, so we have a duty to do the same for them. All of the clients are my good friends. I really like all of them and I care about them a lot.”
Because of the rotating group schedule at the Day Program, Filomena works with different clients every day. Sometimes she works with Philip and Stephanie, two young people with developmental disabilities that affect their verbal communication skills. Stephanie, who is non-ambulatory, has been coming to the Day Program for a few months, and lives at home with her mom, dad, and sister. At the Day Program, Stephanie likes to play tennis, and listen to music. She loves music and has a huge collection of songs on her iPhone.
Philip also lives at home with his parents, and through Supported Living Services works with a Greater Opportunities staff member a couple of times a week to improve his independent living skills. He volunteers at the library and at Meals on Wheels, and Filomena says he’s a handworker. He’s has a kind heart, and never refuses if someone asks for his help.
At the new Day Program facility, clients and staff have a big kitchen, music and art classrooms, and a new quiet room for clients to reconvene if they need to. In the bigger space, Filomena says clients are in better moods and have the opportunity to learn more skills in the updated facilities. At the Day Program, Filomena teaches clients to sew, and has them make squares of fabric that she crafts into beautiful quilts. There’s a special sense of community, and Filomena is proud to be a part of an organization doing such important work, “They need all the support we can give, and Greater Opportunities is a great support system.”