Kathy Opperman, Founder and President
Kathy Opperman, Certified Life Coach, has a passion for helping others become the best version of themselves! A graduate of Gwynedd Mercy College, she practiced as a Registered Nurse in the 1980's. She later joined her family's business as a Realtor where she became a Manager, Trainer and then Owner. She is a well-known award winning REALTOR and Branch Manager for Long and Foster Real Estate Companies in Collegeville, PA.
In 2011 after extensive surgery for a rare skin cancer on her scalp, Kathy was inspired to open a different kind of Wellness Center in 2013. However, she discovered many people needed stress relief services and Life Coaching offered there, but they could not afford it. She was encouraged to start a non-Profit whose mission would be to help youth to adult to lead happier and successful lives.
In a name spoken to her while praying, Pillars of Light and Love was formed in the Fall of 2014 and received IRS 501c3 charity status in January of 2015. In December of 2014, the Wellness Center was closed and Pillars of Light and Love became the main tenant of newly named building, the Empowering U Center owned by Kathy on Main Street in Trappe, PA.
Pillars of Light and Love exists solely on donations and grants, and is partially funded by Kathy to sustain its mission since 2014. Kathy is completing a self-improvement book and teaches several workshops onsite and at local businesses on Stress and Time Management, Creating Peace in Your Life, and more. Many lives have been positively transformed at the Empowering U Center.
In November of 2022, Kathy spearheaded the renovations and opening of the So Much to Give Inclusive Café under Pillars. "So Much to Give” was a program created by Maureen Stanko launched in early 2022 within Pillars of Light and Love. Inspired by the need to create opportunities for her son with autism, its mission is to help young adults with disabilities to gain personal fulfillment by utilizing their unique gifts and talents to make a positive difference in the community.
Maureen's friend, Tyler Kammerle, had been developing an innovative restaurant concept that seeks to further this mission by merging the idea of employing people with amazing abilities and implementing accessible systems to help create a truly inclusive dining experience for all. Because of this, Kathy Opperman and the Board of Directors of Pillars of Light and Love decided to work in tandem with Tyler to open the So Much to Give Inclusive Café, and Maureen was more than eager to help with the project. Thanks to the hard work of many and endless support from the community, the So Much to Give Inclusive Café was able to open in November of 2022, just six months after Kathy and Tyler crossed paths!
Tyler is now the restaurant's General Manager who works closely with Kathy, and Maureen, as they continue to create and develop the model of the inclusive Cafe with great plans in the works for the future! Read more about it HERE
There is no telling the next idea Kathy will take on, but we are sure it will involve her mission of helping others to live their best lives! “When there’s a need in the community, or someone comes to me and says, ‘I’d like to do a program for young adults with disabilities,’ I say, ‘OK, let’s create it,’” said Kathy.
Kathy was the recipient of an honorable mention and Web Choice Favorite award for her charity work from the National Association of REALTORS in November of 2022. Watch the nomination video here
"The above photo is of me contemplating my life's purpose atop the Airport Vortex in Sedona in April 2017. It was the day before this photo that I heard of the suicide of 14 year-old Julia Morath, a child I did not know but who has had a huge impact on my life. Now, because of the inspiration I was praying for atop this mountain, many lives of tweens and teens have been transformed and positively impacted in many ways."
"I was inspired to start a program called "Julia's Joy", and with her parents permission the program was born in memory of Julia in May of 2017. I wanted to be able to help other teens find their joy in life, and to help them know they are not alone-even though they may think they are! "
Julia was a fun-loving teen who had many friends, a loving family, and yet she could not find peace and joy in her heart. She was a giving soul who helped others and served at missions. Her family told me it would bring her much happiness to know that a program in her name is inspiring others and helping them to find their joy! I thank God and Julia for the inspiration to make a difference with Julia's Joy, and the many lives she will touch!" ~ Kathy Opperman
The Cafe logo was created by Brandon Fredette, a 2022 graduate of Perkiomen Valley High School. See Brandon's artwork HERE
Co-Founders of the Cafe project are left to right, Maureen Stanko, Tyler Kammerle who is the General Manager and Kathy Opperman, Founder of Pillars of Light and Love. Located at 3401 W Skippack Pk in Cedars, our mission is to provide a welcoming & inclusive Cafe to empower all, including those with disabilities & their families, to have equal opportunities to work, dine, socialize, volunteer & learn. Learn more and see menu and upcoming events HERE