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Wendy's Journey with Devereux

“Wendy is thriving with the care and support that she has been receiving at Devereux. She feels more confident and is able to do things that she has never done before.”

I will never forget the day when I received the phone call. My heart sank when the nursery school teacher called me about my daughter Wendy, who was struggling in class. It was the late 1960s, and services were extremely limited for individuals with behavioral, cognitive and/or intellectual differences. Wendy was placed in special education classes as a child, none of which worked, or didn’t work for long.

As an adult, Wendy has been in several different living situations with various agencies. Moving her in and out of programs was extremely exhausting, disheartening and very frustrating both for Wendy, and for us as a family. None of the places were the right fit. Wendy went through extreme bouts of depression, mood swings, irritability, frequent outbursts, and she was uncontrollably impulsive. She had a difficult time socializing with others, and she would never participate in group conversations—she would just watch what was going on around her. Throughout her life, Wendy has seen many professionals and has been through a lot of testing, and a clear diagnosis has been difficult. After years of going through this struggle of finding a program and living situation that was a good fit for my daughter, my husband and I decided it was time to call Devereux for help.

Thank you for taking a moment to let me share my story about my daughter. I hope that you will be inspired by our journey and will join me in supporting Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health’s mission to Unlock Human Potential in the lives of people like my daughter, Wendy.

Over the years, Devereux has worked with us to provide the best services to meet Wendy’s needs as they have changed. A significant turn of events occurred after Wendy came to live in one of the group homes at Devereux California for respite care. She was, at the time, receiving Devereux’s Supported Living Services while living in her own apartment. This living situation proved to be too isolating for Wendy. To my surprise, after Wendy returned to her apartment from respite care, she wanted to return because she missed her friends. Wendy had never had friends before, which resulted in severe loneliness. I was so overwhelmed at the time that it didn’t occur to me that she might like it and miss the people she interacted with at Devereux. I called Amy Evans, Executive Director at Devereux California to see if there was a way Wendy could come back. Her response? “We are dedicated to finding a solution to help Wendy.

As a result, Wendy came to live in one of the group homes, where she has been happily living among her peers and friends since 2015. Being among her peers in a safe and warm environment at Devereux is what made the difference for Wendy. Now, when it comes time for me to leave after my visits with Wendy, these good-byes are not riddled with guilt on my part and anxiety for both of us. This stress has all but disappeared. Wendy does not become anxious when I leave, and I now have the peace of mind that I have never known before with the knowledge that I am leaving my daughter in reliable and caring hands. This trust has brought a huge relief for me and my family. It’s lifesaving. Believe me, it’s a scary thought if we hadn’t found Devereux.

My daughter is able to do more than I would have ever expected since her time at Devereux California. The warm and encouraging atmosphere and care Wendy is receiving is enabling her personality to come to life. She even cracks jokes! The sociability is like night and day. She goes to the movies, the beach, and she takes walks in nature every day. She also prepares her famous Cobb salad for meals in her home. This is so uncharacteristic of how Wendy was before. It took the right staff and the right setting for Wendy to feel comfortable living in a home with others, and it took an organization who listened, observed and that cared enough to provide individualized support.

You can’t provide a one-size-fits-all kind of treatment for a spectrum of differences. This individualized care is what sets Devereux apart. Wendy also participates in the Adult Day Program and has learned employment skills and social skills as a result. Along with her peers, she sells plants at the Farmer’s Market that she helps grow in the greenhouse, and she absolutely loves it. She now has a quality of life that she has never been able to experience before.

Thanks to the wonderful generosity of people like you, Devereux has been able to provide outstanding advanced behavioral health care to individuals and families for over 100 years.

These individuals are the most vulnerable, yet they are the lowest people on the ladder when it comes to services and funding. They are not capable of being their own advocates. Devereux cannot bring together compassionate care, industry-leading interventions, advocacy, and family engagement without your support. Public agencies which fund our services simply do not cover the cost of our advanced care. Please make your gift today by visiting our secure online donation.

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration. With your help, Devereux can help more families find peace, happiness and hope.

Sincerely,

Julie Schwartz
Mother of Wendy - individual served by Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health California

PS: Your gift to Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health unlocks human potential and is needed now. You have the power to help us nurture adults like Wendy so that they may be the best they can be.

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