In the return of our “10 Questions With…” series, we’re sitting down with Eden employees to learn more about their career, interests, and goals.
This month, we spoke with Bertie Batson. Bertie has been a direct support professional at Eden Autism for 25 years.
What brought you to Eden?
One of my step daughters used to work here years ago. I used to work as a correctional officer, and when I left I wanted to do something that I really liked. When I saw what was at Eden, I liked what I saw. And I guess I really liked it because it’s been 25 years and I’m still here.
What is a typical day like as a DSP at Eden?
Your main concern is the health and welfare of your guys, of course. Then you have dinner, laundry, showers, all of the chores. We now bring the guys into the backyard to get outside and move around. Because of the coronavirus, we can’t take them places with crowds. We then run their programs. We teach them what they need to know.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of the job is the same as when I came in 25 years ago — teaching the participants and improving their lives and their independence.
What do you enjoy doing most in your time off?
I played a lot of soccer when I was younger. I now do a lot of walking with my wife in the park, or around the block in our neighborhood. It’s more than a walk, it’s time spent together, time enjoyed together.
Why did you choose your profession?
I wanted to help people. I was a correctional officer for 20 years at Trenton State Prison, and I saw so much violence and meanness there. When I got out, I wanted to do something different. I wanted to help people.
Who would play you in the movie about your life?
I’m stroking my ego, but Denzel Washington. I chose him not because he’s a nice looking guy, but because of the performances he gave in The Hurricane and American Gangster. Those performances he gave were amazing.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I would like to go see Africa. I want to see the origin of my race. I want to learn as much as I can learn about Africa and Africans in general.
What’s your favorite food?
I’m a foodie. My favorite is eggplant parmesan.
How would your friends describe you?
Very caring, very compassionate, very patient, and a comedian. One of the things I’ve always said — you make a living by the things you get, you make a life by the things you give.
What’s the biggest goal you have set for the adults in your care at Eden over the next year?
I’m 73 years old, and I’m still working. I still enjoy what I do. My biggest goal for the next year is what I’ve been doing all along — teaching the participants as much as I possibly can before I leave here.