To Molly Weiner, it’s a straightforward concept: “We have to take care of each other,” The Guild School counselor declares, “so, in turn, we can take care of the students.”

Molly and her colleague Jovana Bass did just that last month, soliciting money from fellow employees to express their gratitude to The Guild’s hard-working day housekeeper, Fanny Martinez. They presented her with a generous gift card, flowers, teddy bear and a thank you card. One of the Bridge classroom students carefully selected the teddy bear and card, and led the presentation.

“It was so unexpected, I was overcome with emotion,” says Fanny, an employee of Jan’s Janitorial who has worked at The Guild for four years. “It was such a surprise.”

Fanny maintains that The Guild has a different feel to it than any of the other large institutions where she has worked before. She feels valued and part of a caring community.

“I feel comfortable here because everybody treats me with respect,” she says. “It’s like a big family.”

She is so dedicated to her job that she tolerates a taxing commute – she takes three trains and a bus – to get to work every day. The mother of two children, one being a 15-year-old boy with special needs, she observes closely how Guild staff engages with the students.

“I watch the way they interact with the students and I learn a lot,” Fanny says. “They are so patient and understanding.”

The originating idea to recognize Fanny came while Jovana was visiting Molly’s house. The two dedicated, long-term Guild employees were discussing Fanny’s ever-present smile – even when she’s confronted with a particularly messy situation to clean up.

“We just care about everybody and wanted to do something special for her,” says Jovana, who has served in a number of roles over her decade at The Guild and is now a teaching assistant. “We’re a family and we have to be there for each other.”