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Old Brooklyn Community News
The 7th Annual Polaris Westshore Career Fair on March 26th will enable Job Seekers to be in touch with Employers from the Healthcare, Manufacturing, Services, and Construction Industries. The fair …
Revised Sign up for Refurbished Computer System Sign Up Sheet in PDF Format Old Brooklyn residents interested in purchasing a computer and laptop through our Computers for Everyone program can …
The Cleveland Metroparks will host three Job Fairs throughout Northeast Ohio to begin the hiring process for seasonal jobs at its various Parks, Reservations, Golf Courses, and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. …
Community Spotlight: Janey Oper
Community Spotlight: Janey Oper
By Jayme Lucas-Bukszar
Anyone who’s seen the mobility scooter zooming between Deaconess Krafft Center (3100 Devonshire Rd.) and the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo during the spring, summer, and autumn has probably seen volunteer extraordinaire and long- time Brooklyn/Old Brooklyn resident Janey Oper. Janey has been a volunteer with the Zoo since 2006, and can’t wait until its warm enough to get back there.
Janey helps the tram drivers with crowd control at the tram stop. She volunteers at least three days a week from mid- May until early fall. She volunteered over 300 hours in 2012, but had fewer hours last year because of the weather.
The longest running tenant at Deaconess-Krafft, Janey’s lived in Old Brooklyn since she moved there on December 3rd, 1982. She lived in the City of Brooklyn with her parents and brother before that, and graduated from Brooklyn High School in 19??.
Janey was born with cerebral palsy and has been disabled (though to a lesser degree early on) her entire life. That, however, has never stopped her from doing what she has wanted to do. Her long list of accomplishments include owning a printing business and working as a wedding invitation company representative; working at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) in a variety of capacities including a switch board operator and Business Manager and Assistant to the Editor for Tri-C’s newspaper. She graduated from Tri-C in 1984 with an Associates of Arts degree.
Janey has also volunteered at the Metrohealth System’s main campus, where she assisted patients who wanted to sign up for church on Sundays. She also volunteered and worked for Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries, helping to provide services to adult care homes. Last year, Janey ‘took the gold’ in corn hole in Senior Citizens Resources, Inc.’s Senior Olympics.
Janey has even been in protests, including an RTA protest in 1986 trying to make all of the buses handicapped-accessible. The RTA Board of Directors would not meet with Janey’s group so they stopped two buses as a protest. RTA started putting lifts on buses two years later. Janey has also been in protests regarding inaccessible curbing.
When asked what she loves most about volunteering with the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Janey’s eyes lit up. “I love the elephants,” she declared. “They are my girls! I missed them when they were at the Columbus Zoo during renovations.” (Janey lovingly refers to the four female elephants as “her girls”.)
Based on their characteristics, Janey can name each elephant. Shenga has a crook in her tail; Moshi only has one tusk; Martika carries big chunks of straw between her tusk and trunk; and Kallie holds her head down more than the other elephants. Willy is the only male elephant at the Zoo.
“One of my greatest highlights at the Zoo.” Janey added, “ was to feed an elephant. I fed Josephine one of these biscuits that they make for the elephants.” Josephine passed away a couple of years ago. According to an article from July 16, 2012, Jo, the oldest elephant at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo died at the age of 45. (http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2012/07/jo_the_elephant_at_the_clevela.htmlI
When I asked Janey what her next adventure was going to be and she said, “Besides volunteering at the Zoo this year, I want to get a miniature or toy-size dog, something I can care for and be responsible for.” Then she added with a smile, “I can’t wait to see everyone at the Zoo this spring! But, please listen to the lady at the tram!”