Matthew’s Story – Gala Mission Moment


Bringing happiness wherever he goes

He’s a son, brother, godfather, and friend – a responsible worker, with a ready smile. Matthew Gerads is the kind of person who brings happiness wherever he goes. His family says he has brought them joy from the very beginning.

Matthew’s parents, Ginny and Marty, recognized the importance of getting him involved in sports and other activities. Ginny took the lead – researching and making calls – until she made sure she found the best options. After Matthew graduated from high school, Ginny again took the active role in finding the next step for him, and Marty trusted her instincts. They felt it was important that Matthew have access to the building blocks he needed to have the best life possible. When he was 22, Matthew started at Opportunity Partners, where he has been involved in work and enrichment activities over the years.

Opportunity Partners helped Matthew find his job at Productivity, Inc., where he has now worked 15 years. His supervisor Mia Anderson says Matthew is responsible, hard-working, and kind. Matthew also spends time volunteering at the Westwood Hills Nature Center through a class at Opportunity Partners-Asplin Center. They sweep, spread mulch, and fill the bird feeders.

Matthew’s family is proud of the confident, kind, and loving man he has become – a man who cares about his community, who always wants to do his best, and who cherishes his family.

However, the past year has been especially difficult due to the death of Matthew’s mom Ginny  in summer 2017. “Matthew has been so brave,” said Matthew’s sister Mary Beth. “And I know it’s helped a lot, having Opportunity Partners and his wonderful coworkers at Productivity.”

And although Opportunity Partners can’t take away the pain of his mother’s passing, staff are there to talk and offer support – it’s a little like having a family away from home. Matthew and his dad are closer than ever; they share an amazing bond. Matthew’s family continues to seek the best for him, and they know Opportunity Partners will be there to support them, help weather the storms in life, and celebrate Matthew’s successes.

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