Personal Stories


John O’Connell, a Lifeworks Custodian for the past eleven years is an easy-going gentleman. He is known as the “go to guy” at the administrative offices on Clapboardtree Street. John receives Lifeworks’ In-Home-Support (IHS) services thru his long time Case Manager Mary Perry. Living on his own, John enjoys his freedom and independence. He cooks and does all his own grocery shopping. John stays physically fit by doing a lot of walking while running errands. Prior to residing in Norwood, John grew up with a close-knit family of 5 siblings in Foxboro where he cut grass and shoveled snow for his neighbors.

In pre-pandemic times, John helped out at Hip Hop dances in the kitchen serving pizza and setting up refreshments. John is also a member of Lifeworks’ Special Olympics’ basketball team formerly known as The South Norfolk Eagles winning a gold medal in 2020. John takes great pride in his athletic achievements. The walls of John’s home are adorned with many of his Special Olympics medals. One of his favorite sports in his younger days was softball. John also goes bowling occasionally. A self-advocate, John serves on the board of Our Club as Vice President. John recently participated in a “Standing Strong” promotional video for the Social-Recreational program.

John is a loyal and devoted friend. He recently came to a friend’s aid during a medical emergency. EMTs praised John for his calm, quick thinking, stating his actions saved his friend’s life. The two are inseparable and often walk to local shops and restaurants. John’s friend is a frequent guest at John’s extended family gatherings.


Lifeworks has been an integral part of Tom Warren’s life since receiving Early Intervention services as a young child through what was then Lifework’s sister agency, The Arc of South Norfolk. Tom’s mom Mercedes served as a Human Rights Committee member volunteer for The Arc.  A native of Medfield, Tom has three siblings. Outgrowing his previous group home in Dedham, earlier this year he moved into a Lifeworks group home and has found it to be a great fit.

Tom has participated in the William F. Abel Day Habilitation Program on Clapboardtree Street since 2014. He is very socially connected and in pre-pandemic times attended Hip Hop dances, bowling outings in both Millis and Norwood. He has also participated in bocce as well as backyard barbeques at Lifeworks.  Tom navigates technology with ease and has stayed in touch with friends through Zoom and FaceTime. Tom has quite an impressive resume. His first job was working at Stop & Shop for Peapod, followed by Ames, Target and the TJ Maxx Corporate office in the Accounts Payable department. Tom’s most recent job was at Kings Bowling at Legacy Place. Tom stays active by gardening, swimming, and bike riding. Tom loves to travel with his siblings and has taken trips to Disney in both California and Florida as well as a Disney Cruise.  Those who know Tom well, know he is quite the prankster and according to his sister Susan has great comedic timing. Tom is a fan of all the Boston sports teams especially the Red Sox and follows Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tom loves spending time with his family especially his nieces and nephews.


As a teenager, Michael Foley began receiving support from Lifeworks’ Family Autism Center (FAC). Now an independent young adult, Michael is very appreciative of staff who’ve have helped him move into his own apartment and secure an internship which led to his present full time job. Michael is employed as a front of house wait staff at the senior living facility, NewBridge on the Charles. He truly enjoys his job and helping residents at the facility. Michael regularly participates in outdoor walks as well as virtual social group check-ins, game nights, and movie discussion groups held by FAC. He often gets together with friends he’s made through Lifeworks’ activities. A self-advocate, Michael has attended Autism Awareness Day events at the Statehouse. In pre-pandemic times, Michael often volunteered at Halloween parties and Hip Hop dances as well as toy making workshops for younger children and families. Michael likes pop musicians Alicia Keys and Taylor Swift and says one of his favorite Taylor Swift songs is ‘Shake it Off’’.




Thanks so much for today! We all had a fabulous time most importantly Luke! Like I said, we never have the courage to try these things unless they are with a group.  Successful trips like this open up our world a lot!!


We are so grateful for all your guidance and support. Our recent family crisis was so stressful for us, and yet you always seemed to provide us with hope.


I would like you to know how much we appreciate you.  It is rare to have such a constant feature in our lives.  We are so blessed to witness the beauty in humanity exhibited by your staff. Thank you.


I would like to thank all of you at Lifeworks' Family Autism Center  and the folks at LoJack for sponsoring the holiday party on Sunday. We got to meet some new people and say hello to others we have not seen in a while.

Big Y

At Big Y, we are incredibly proud of the partnership we have at Lifeworks. It has been a pleasure working alongside them to hire qualified employees to fit our open positions.  Lifeworks has made this collaboration smooth and it has been an easy transition for these new employees joining our family.  Lifeworks has provided constant communication, support and follow thru with job coaching.  It has been a pleasure working with this organization.

Siemens Healthineers

Siemens Healthineers is honored to partner with Lifeworks to employ people with developmental disabilities as a vital part of our culture", said Chuck Fives, VP of Manufacturing for Laboratory Diagnostics at Siemens Healthineers in Walpole. "Since 2015, it has been a very humbling and uplifting experience to work side by side with these individuals who bring a positive attitude, are filled with energy, and do their jobs well by helping our shipping department run smoothly every day they are here.  We're the lucky ones as they bring so much more to the meaning of work.