Employee Stories

All of our employees have a story to share about their experience at Bittersweet.  Keep reading to learn more about Bittersweet and why it's such a magical place. 

Recruiting/Admissions Specialist, Bittersweet Farms - Tammy Bolley Chambers

Testimonial TC 1

I decided to work at Bittersweet because I was coaxed by a friend who was working here at the time and knew I would love this job, but also felt I would have a lot to offer.  I was hesitant to apply only because I was unfamiliar with autism.  My friend told me I didn’t have to worry because they would teach me.  So I applied, was offered a position, and the rest is history, as they say. 

I started out working as a Direct Support Professional on evenings and weekends back in ’83.  After a few years, I transferred into day program and became the supervisor of the Animal Care and Therapeutic Horsemanship Programs.   After about ten years I became the Day Program Coordinator.  I became the Recruiting Specialist five years ago, covering all four of the locations in Ohio where we currently provide services.   Along with that, I also act as the Admissions Coordinator overseeing and managing all of the waiting lists and providing tours for families who are interested in our program (along with folks just curious about who we are and what we do).  Long story short, there is room for advancement within our organization.

A typical day at Bittersweet can be summed up with a few words:  partnership, comradery, teamwork, fun, educational, reciprocal, rewarding, challenging, comforting, and powerful. 

My role as Direct Support Professional consisted of counseling, supporting, developing, positively influencing, teaching, and acting as a role model in all facets of life!

The thing I love most about Bittersweet is the relationships I have formed with the residents and participants and their families.  The fact that my life takes on meaning, knowing that I am providing a positive influence in their lives makes this place so special.   When they specifically seek me out for questions or reassurances, I know I am trusted. 

I know I have a pretty large extended family as I have spent over half my life sharing the privilege of growing up alongside the residents and day participants.  Working at Bittersweet has provided a sense of purpose to my life.   Working here is an experience unlike any other.  As much as you believe you are teaching and positively influencing their lives, in reality these individuals are also supporting you and teaching you in ways you never could have imagined or recognized at times.   I am grateful for the honor of growing up alongside these guys and anyone who shares their experience will be impacted the same way.  

Ready to join our family?  Apply today! 

Direct Support Professional, ICF - Erika Perszon 

While vacationing in Ohio, I decided that I wanted to live here and work at Bittersweet. Bittersweet piqued my interest because of a personal attachment to autism and it was also modeled on a facility in England called Somerset Court.

There is no typical day at the farm.   We do try to encourage participants to create and follow a schedule; structure is extremely important to people who have autism. There is usually some new challenge or questions that present themselves.

My role as a Direct Support Professional (DSP) is to assist individuals in all aspects of Activities of Daily Living (ADL).  To provide holistic support. Ensure health and safety. Encourage individuals to strive to reach their maximum potential to the best of their ability. While always modeling respect and dignity. To be conscience of individuals personal preferences and family cultural backgrounds. Provide consistency and continuity to individuals while adhering to Individual Support Plans (ISP) & Behavior Support Plans (BSP).

Erika 1The participants, the tranquil setting, the philosophy, common courtesy among staff and peers, and the unexpected are what I love most about working at Bittersweet Farms.   Example:  3 weeks after my return from an overseas vacation. A resident walked up to me while working in the middle house and asked me how was my vacation. He also told me he had missed me. This was quite unusual for this particular resident.

My 9 years at Bittersweet has hopefully made me a better person. My time at the farm has served as an anchor for me and allowed me to live in the NOW. This I believe helped me pay full attention to my role as a DSP.  And hopefully I provided as much happiness and stability in their lives as they have in mine. It has also taught me that the smallest thing can be a huge achievement. This overflowed into my personal and family life.....Acceptance is good. Career wise....maybe provide respite to children and adults with autism.

It's a really fun place to work. You learn so much about all aspects of autism and how this affects the daily lives of individuals. You get to do fun stuff with the residents. The setting is beautiful in every season.