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Compassion in action: Devereux PA CARES staff shine during community outing

At Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health, our mission-minded team members are committed to helping the children, adolescents and adults in their care live their best possible lives.

Recently, Devereux Senior Vice President of People Operations, Mike Ernst, SHRM-SCP, witnessed our team members’ compassion in action.

While grabbing lunch at Jad’s Pizza in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, Ernst saw staff from Devereux Pennsylvania’s Center for Autism Research and Education Services (PA CARES) go above and beyond while supporting students during a community outing. Devereux PA CARES Special Education Teacher Janine Lanni and Teacher Assistant Lydia Kao, and Amber Pupko, who is a contractor through CRESS, were helping students order lunch at the restaurant.

“Our employees did an amazing job with the students – they were attentive and kind. When each student approached the counter, staff prompted and assisted them as they worked through the process of ordering and paying for their lunch. I was so impressed with how they supported our individuals, redirecting challenging behaviors and empowering them to make their own decisions,” said Ernst. “I went up to one of the team members afterward and told them they were doing a fantastic job. The owner of Jad’s Pizza also was extremely supportive. He addressed each student directly and positively. I was inspired by the entire experience.”

Engaging in the community

Going out into the community and visiting an establishment, such as a restaurant, is just one way Devereux Pennsylvania CARES helps students build essential life, social and communication skills.

“When our students visit a restaurant, they have an opportunity to learn how to express their preferences when ordering and appropriately interact with restaurant staff,” explained Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Services Executive Director Patricia Hillis-Clark, Psy.D. “The experience also teaches students about budgeting, table manners and how to effectively manage their emotions or behaviors if they become overwhelmed or anxious. Our dedicated staff are by their side the entire time, offering support and encouragement. I am incredibly proud of our team members who were observed at Jad’s Pizza doing what they do best – providing the highest quality and most compassionate care.”

Learn more about Devereux Pennsylvania CARES, and learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health.


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