Sterling Terry has always loved working among people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). In fact, he has done so for many years before joining Advancing Opportunities in 2016. His experiences include 15 years of working with troubled youth in foster care and patients with Alzheimer’s in the geriatrics unit at a psychiatric hospital. It is this devotion to caring for children, teens, and adults with I/DD that Sterling brings to his work among the residents in Robbinsville and other group homes. “I love working with individuals with IDD,” says Sterling. “We’re all human,” he adds. “Working with people with disabilities—they’re just like us! To me they are regular people, who just need a hand occasionally.”
With Sterling, being a direct-support professional is much more than a job. At Robbinsville, as at other group homes, the residents have as much a say in their meals as possible, when Sterling is in the kitchen, they are in for a pleasant surprise. Sterling takes the menu and, in his words, “makes it more gourmet.” Sterling adds, “I love seeing the guys’ faces. The men love this—they feel it is really their home. It’s so joyful to see their faces light up.” The joy continues beyond the walls of the house as well. Sterling has accompanied the residents on trips, such as to Atlantic City. Seeing the guys enjoying life, “it brought tears to my eyes,” says Sterling. “Life is all about joy,” he adds. “The gates should open to you if you bring joy to others.”
This article is the second of a continuing feature on our Direct-Support Professional of the Month program, recognizing the talents of one of our specialists in the Residential Services program. The Robbinsville group home will be the subject of a future article in this space.