Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

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Sheryl Wnuk

REGION: 1– Western New York
standing in front of white house, black eye glasses, long blonde straight hair

Position: Direct Support Assistant

Years of Service: 6


Sheryl Wnuk says she enjoys cooking and brings her love of cooking to the home where she works. Sheryl says she spearheads the house’s weekly Saturday brunch and makes it a special time for everyone. Each week one person who lives in the home choses the breakfast they most like and the music that they listen to when they eat. She says everyone looks forward to this weekly ritual and gets especially excited when it is their turn to choose the music and menu. Sheryl is always finding different ways to give each person their own personal experience.

“Whether it’s The Beatles, Chicago, Frank Sinatra or even Bob Marley, and whether it’s omelets, pancakes, eggs or breakfast casserole, everyone in the house is excited to help prepare the meal and dance and sing along with the music,” Sheryl says.


“When I think of the unsung hero of the home, one person comes to mind, and that is Sheryl,” says Diane Patterson, Developmental Assistant III and Sheryl’s supervisor. Patterson said Sheryl has been at the same home since she started with OPWDD in 2013.

“Sheryl comes to work every day with a positive attitude and has a very energetic work ethic,” Patterson adds. “She is always willing to do the little extra things around the house. If it is extra cleaning or help with the daily paperwork, she is ready and willing to help out as much as she can.”

Patterson says Sheryl is very reliable and has an excellent time and attendance records.

“She is always on time for work,” Patterson says. “She will volunteer to take on assignments that others shy away from. She knows the people she supports so well that she can assist them with life plans and advocating for their interests. You can see every day that she loves her job and takes it very seriously. She is a one-of-a-kind staff and I am honored to be able to work with her.”

Patterson says when it comes to working with people in the home, Sheryl does an amazing job providing everyone with their own personal connection.

“She is always excited to see them on a daily basis,” Patterson continues. “She personally greets each one with a smile and asks them about their day.

“Every day with Sheryl is a new experience for people she supports, as she tries to help them have the best day that they can have. You can tell that she cares greatly for the people whom she works with,” Patterson adds. “She encourages them to make independent choices on what they like best, from making them their favorite breakfast to driving them to their favorite place, she is always asking them what they want and how she can help them.”

Patterson says Sheryl is a respected, hard working and well-rounded employee. When she works alongside trainees, she mentors them and keeps a positive attitude.

“She is a role model for those she works with and for,” Patterson adds. “Sheryl’s compassion and strength are visible during each and every shift she works. People living in the home love and respect Sheryl as a mother figure and a leader.”