Team Member Spotlight: Sonja Schmidt - Penn-Mar

Team Member Spotlight: Sonja Schmidt

Posted on March 26, 2021

Each month, we’re highlighting a “behind-the-scenes” team member whose work supports our mission, but whose face you might not often see on our social media pages.

We’re excited to help you get to know our innovative team and the complex work we do.

So, tune in for our #TeamMemberSpotlight, where our team members share in their own words a bit about themselves!

What’s your job title?

Government Billing Clerk

What’s an average day like for you?        

An average day consists of reviewing timecards for program participant attendance, processing billing, and resolving billing concerns. I also have to prepare reports and our General Ledger for Month End Financial Statements and Invoicing. My job duties also consists of my filing and maintaining applications for our various site locations and residences.

What’s one thing you wish people realized about your job?

One thing that I wish people realized about my job is that it’s very enriching to be able to process billing to generate large amounts of income for our vital company while also identifying methodical difficulties for resolutions. To do this involves sincere and gratifying communication with our staff. It also involves the genuine belief in our Mission/Vision and the fact that “A life of purpose and meaning is our goal for individuals with intellectual disabilities,” to quote from our CEO Greg Miller. I believe that this also carries over into our Core Values. Transforming life into living only happens when we believe that all lives are important and valuable! I believe that we should see others with eyes of hope. (This includes the people we support, as well as friends, staff, associates, and all.) Relating to my co-workers with consistency and gratitude is very important to me on a daily basis and very necessary.

In another life, your career path is . . .

Serving as a Missionary. Helping others spiritually is just as important to me as helping them physically, materially, and mentally.

What’s one thing you wished the general public knew about people with IDD? 

People with IDD enrich all of our lives as we engage in real and productive relationships. They are real people with real emotions, values, goals, abilities . . . ! As a mother of a child who was initially diagnosed as being cognitively delayed, and then being told that meant that he was “slightly mentally handicapped,” with a mild case of Cerebral Palsy, I immediately began believing the best for my son and remained steadfast. Later, he was reevaluated and the only diagnosis that remained was a mild motor abnormality. He graduated from high school on schedule and later received an Associates Degree as a Computer Support Specialist. Today he has an IT job and is married to a Wonderful Woman who adores him! For us, hope and faith in GOD has made all of this possible!

What’s your favorite food? 

It’s forever changing as I change. It used to be Pizza. Then it was fried chicken. Currently, on my healthy days it is homemade chicken pot pie. All other times it is my Uncle’s homemade Lobster Alfredo, since it is so rich.

Any hidden talents or fun facts someone wouldn’t know about you? 

I cut a rug break dancing with my nephew only about 3-4 years ago. I am aspiring to do more break dancing. I like crocheting and writing poems. I can play the Boogie Woogie & Mary Had a Little Lamb on the Piano. I have praise danced on occasion. The last time that I praised danced was as an Angel at a fundraiser for my son’s Kidney Transplant. The Kidney Transplant was Very Successful and became a reality in August of 2020. Today he is doing very well functioning with his Kidney Transplant and on minimal medication.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, you’d visit . . . 

My first choice would be to go to Israel to be able to walk where JESUS walked. My second choice of travel would be to Hawaii because it is typically warm, tropical, and you can see through the water at the beach.

In your spare time, you’ll be found . . .  

Walking around the neighborhood.  Ministerial activities. Visiting Family & Friends.

What to you like to read or binge on TV?

A book that I loved and found very helpful to me was a book by Joyce Meyers Entitled, Enjoying Where You Are on the Way to Where You Are Going . . . It encouraged me to be able to find joy even in the most unpleasant circumstances. My favorite movie is “One Night With The King.” It involves a humble Jewish young lady (who was an orphan raised by her uncle) named Esther who divinely became the Queen of Persia. A TV show that I Love is “The Flash,” since it inspires hope even in the worst circumstances. My sports team is “The Baltimore Ravens,” since I am a fan of my husband who is a fan of theirs!  I also consider Baltimore as my hometown.

What else should others know about you?

I am a wife of a Wonderful Dashing Strong and Responsible Man who showers me with Lots of Love on a daily basis. I am a mother of two Wonderful and Handsome Young Men whom shower me with love on a daily basis as well. I have a new Grandkitty named Oaken, who is 6 months and has lots of energy and is very loving! My older son is 36 years old and my younger son is 18 years old. I like collecting old coins and baking.

Tell us a bit about your career path . . .

My career here at Penn-Mar started in the fall of 2013 as a DSP/Residential Assistant at our Woodland Drive Home caring for 4 Lovely Women who put lots of excitement and fulfillment to my every day! There wasn’t a day that went by that I did not feel loved and needed! I was told, “I Love You” daily and multiple times a day, I was shown love by their smiles, “Thank You’s,” laughter, and contentment; I was shown interest when sharing my family pictures, reading, gratitude for eating meals that I prepared, and talking with the ladies through their initiatives and my own.

Then in the Summer of 2014 I became the LISS Assistant, which I enjoyed thoroughly! It was very rewarding being able to meet and help grant special benefits to various IDD individuals of our communities to support our Mission and contribute in a way to promote and provide a more rewarding life for living.

In the Winter of 2016 I entered the extraordinary position that I hold today. Since I was a child, I’ve always liked working with figures and have excelled in those subjects academically on a consistent basis. My supervisors have all been Extreme Above and Beyond Examples of serving with Integrity, Excellence, Collaboration, and Innovation which continues to Inspire me every day! Fellowship with my co-workers is very meaningful and something that I highly value as our daily work environment is a great part of our life.

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