“It sounded like a fun job.”
That was Jorie Beyer’s reaction after hearing her friend, Sierra, Elwell’s current Household Director, describe her work at LBSA. That was eight years ago.
Jorie was recently promoted from senior residential counselor to Wright Cottage’s Household Director. Over the years, Jorie, who grew up in Northfield, has moved away several times to places like Hawaii and Texas. Yet, she keeps coming back. Executive Director Sandi Gerdes has jokingly told Jorie, “You don’t need to keep taking your furniture on vacation!” After moving away last summer, Jorie declares she’s back for good.
It’s clear that one thing that keeps Jorie coming back to LBSA is the people. She lights up when she talks about the individuals she has worked with over the years. “Sarah was so much fun. I took her everywhere. We would go to garage sales. Her personality was great,” Jorie shares. “Tim. He’s my buddy. He’s funny. I enjoy his hugs, and he has such a great sense of humor.” Jorie loves traveling, and even when she has been away from LBSA, she never really leaves. She often sends clients postcards, maintaining her connection when she is far away.
Jorie explains that one of the ways that LBSA benefits the greater community is by creating awareness – breaking down misconceptions that people have about individuals with developmental disabilities. “A lot of people have the impression that our clients are violent – that’s what’s in their heads – until they meet them. That’s when things change.”
Jorie plans to make social service her career. She currently has a degree in human services and is working towards her bachelor’s degree in social work while working at LBSA.
Jorie sums up the most satisfying aspect of her job simply. “It’s cliché … but it’s the clients. They teach me as much as I teach them. They give me a different outlook on life.”
LBSA is thankful for staff like Jorie who keep coming back!