Sharing inspirational messages of hope and resilience
Public health emergencies, like COVID-19 (Coronavirus), can be stressful and challenging for families and communities. At Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health, we believe it is important to promote positivity and a sense of calm as we navigate these unprecedented times together. One way we are doing this is by finding inspiration amid the uncertainty.
We invite you to look below for videos, and excerpts from letters and emails, offering messages of hope, kindness and resilience from Devereux’s families, caregivers, employees and supporters as we strive to emerge safer, stronger and healthier than ever before. Please note we are withholding last names for privacy purposes.
Look below to see what we are hearing from Devereux family members, caregivers and employees.
A former Devereux Massachusetts and Rhode Island student showed her support for the individuals in our care by donating recreational supplies, including toys, games and arts and crafts to help our youth learn new skills and have fun, while spending more time indoors.
Recently, a parent sent a letter of gratitude to team members at Devereux Pennsylvania’s Center for Autism Research and Education Services (CARES) for serving and supporting her son for the past 14 years.
“I can't say it enough - you all form the MOST amazing team, and we are incredibly thankful for all of the ways you have loved my son these past 14 years. He is a fundamentally different person because of you. Some of you remember the painful shell he lived under when he first came to Devereux CARES at age 5. It was such a fight to get him to engage or interact in even the smallest way!
Now look at him - we call him the "mayor" of our block. He knows everyone, and everyone knows him!
THANK YOU. I hope you take deep joy and satisfaction, knowing each one of you has played a real role in who he has become today.”
On June 1, team members raised a rainbow flag on campus to celebrate the start of Pride Month and show their support for LGBTQ colleagues, as well as the individuals and families they serve.
This was one of several Pride events scheduled throughout the month. Youth enrolled in a culinary class baked brownies and Pride-themed cupcakes for their peers and Devereux Arizona staff. The tasty and colorful treats were part of a display in the cafeteria that also included LGBTQ educational materials on the history of LGBTQ Pride from 1970 - when the first Pride march took place - to today.
Devereux Arizona Outpatient Services Clinical Program Manager Evette Richardson, LMSW, BHP, said youth also are sharing what LGBTQ Pride means to them. “During individual, group and recreational therapy sessions, we have been talking about the riots that started the Pride movement, as well as the current civil unrest in our country following the deaths of George Floyd, and others in the Black Community. This has given youth a safe space to talk about their identities and how they feel about the current civil unrest, while allowing them to reflect on the riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York City in 1969. Those riots marked the turning point of the LGBTQ movement in the U.S., and led to the June Pride celebrations we have today.”
Look below to view photos from Pride events at Devereux Arizona.
Congratulations to the class of 2020!
“I really appreciate Behavior Coach Shannon Maclean, she is always going above and beyond. I appreciate her connection with my kids. This is a very challenging time, and she makes tons of recommendations. I’m so thankful for her. My kids miss her when she’s gone, but love when people like Monica, Kylie and Safari fill in.
Everyone my kids work with at Devereux is so compassionate. We have been supported during the most difficult time (COVID-19). Staff members check in all the time, making sure we feel supported. I’m so appreciative of that. I give Devereux an A++ because I wouldn’t have known what to do during COVID-19. I appreciate all you have done. I love everyone in the respite homes. The staff has no idea how much I appreciate them. When my kids are there, I know they are safe and taken care of.
Crisis Clinician Tamara Klein is amazing. She just gets the kids. She had a connection with me right away. It was like she knew me, and was ready to work with the kids. She was willing to learn and help them. I appreciate Devereux paying attention to all of the little things. My kids are doing so well. It’s amazing. My son is building his self-esteem and relationships. He is really working effectively. I’m so happy there is an agency that meets us where we are as a family. I can’t thank you enough.”
Students at Devereux Texas’ Victoria campus are spreading kindness by spelling out “Muchas Gracias” (Thanks a lot) in rainbow-colored letters, and posting them on the center’s cafeteria windows for all essential employees to see.
Devereux Texas Teacher Lina Kruger organized the art project to teach students about the power of kindness and compassion.
“Our students are aware of how the pandemic has impacted all of us - they see team members wearing face masks and frequently cleaning and sanitizing surfaces,” Kruger said. “I explained how Devereux New York brightened up its campus with rainbow-colored decorations to show support for its front-line staff, and we could do the same! We decided to post ‘Muchas Gracias’ on the center’s cafeteria windows to show gratitude and appreciation for our multicultural staff - and to bring smiles to the faces of everyone who passes by. This was a fun and empowering project for our students. They learned they can make a positive difference in people’s lives just by spreading a little kindness.”
Look below to view photos of the rainbow display.
Devereux Pennsylvania - Adult Services is recognizing its hard-working and dedicated front-line staff by holding weekly giveaways throughout the month of May. Every Wednesday and Friday, three essential workers are randomly selected to receive an “Essential Employee” mug; a tote bag that says “I’m an essential worker so, basically I’m kind of a big deal;” or a badge holder that says “We are all in this together … 6 feet apart.”
“Our front-line staff are definitely a big deal,” said Devereux Pennsylvania Adult Services Executive Director Christopher Betts, M.A. “Our employees work incredibly hard every day, and we are extremely proud of their efforts. This recognition program is a way to show our team members how much we appreciate all they are doing to support the adults we are privileged to serve.”
Look below to view photos of recent winners.
Devereux Georgia recently celebrated “Superhero Day” to honor and thank its frontline staff for going above and beyond to support the individuals in our care.
Team members wore superhero-themed T-shirts, facemasks and other attire, and enjoyed a lunch featuring Chick-fil-A sandwiches, as well as Powerade sports drinks generously donated by Coca-Cola. “Our employees demonstrate incredible courage, strength and resilience on a daily basis - and they are all superheroes,” said Devereux Vice President of Operations Gwen Skinner. “This event provided our staff with an opportunity to relax and reflect on their hard work and accomplishments, while enjoying the company of colleagues.”
Look below to view photos from the event.
Youth at Devereux Pennsylvania’s Children’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Services (CIDDS) center showed their appreciation for the center’s front-line staff by creating a beautiful rainbow mural with messages of hope and resilience.
Devereux Connecticut - The Glenholme School is honoring its essential employees through weekly “Thanks for Being Awesome” celebrations.
A foster parent wrote a letter of gratitude recently to Devereux Arizona team members who delivered face masks and coffee filters to foster homes throughout Maricopa County.
The Worcester Railers Hockey Club, a minor league affiliate of the New York Islanders, delivered pizzas recently to Devereux Massachusetts and Rhode Island front-line staff as part of the hockey club’s “Food for Frontliners” program.
Devereux Pennsylvania’s Children’s Behavioral Health Services (CBHS) center recently served breakfast and lunch to essential staff at our Malvern and Glenmoore campuses to thank them for their efforts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Devereux Georgia is honoring its dedicated front-line staff through daily “shoutouts” on loud speakers and telephone intercoms across campus.
More than 100 years ago, our beloved founder, Helena T. Devereux, led the organization through the Spanish flu (with far fewer resources than we have at our disposal today).
Recently, a parent sent a note of thanks to Devereux California Director of Behavioral Services Noelle Escovedo and team members at the center’s Foothill house, expressing his gratitude for their unwavering dedication and support as they continue to care for his son.
Devereux Connecticut - The Glenholme School Executive Director Noah Noyes, M.Ed., recently wrote a letter thanking team members for their dedication and service during COVID-19.
Devereux New York team members - with help from the Red Hook Police Department - held a parade to show their support for the center’s front-line staff, and the youth and adults entrusted to our care, amid the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Devereux Arizona’s outpatient services team recently wrote down positive words and phrases that have helped them cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, and shared them with colleagues during a Zoom video conferencing meeting.
Students at Devereux Connecticut – The Glenholme School showed their gratitude and appreciation to local hospital staff on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic by preparing meals and creating greeting cards. Look below to read a letter of thanks from the Glenholme community to New Milford Hospital staff.
Devereux Texas is showing its support for our front-line staff and local first responders amid the COVID-19 pandemic in a big and colorful way.
A Devereux California team member recently wrote a letter to her colleagues, praising them for their compassion, collaboration and dedication. In addition, she noted how the center successfully launched Devereux Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports three months ahead of schedule to help the individuals we serve stay safe and healthy.
“Often in times of crisis, it can be so easy to only focus on what insurmountable challenges lie ahead. Here at Devereux California, we decided to have our own narrative, and go above and beyond to focus on our core values and mission statement by continuing to change lives by unlocking and nurturing human potential.
To show our resilience, Devereux California launched its Devereux Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (D-PBIS) initiative three months earlier than planned. Members of our team rallied together to kick off D-PBIS in the hope we could provide time to focus on the good things that occur every day, and help teach skills that focus on safety, responsibility and respect.
A week after implementation, we (individuals and staff) celebrated with an ice cream social (keeping social distancing in mind). So many good things happened in just five days! Our individuals worked on being safe by washing and sanitizing their hands. They had shown responsibility by helping with their routines and continue to focus on exercise and group activities. They had also shown respectfulness by informing staff when others needed help, and by using their words when they were frustrated.
By starting D-PBIS earlier than planned, we have provided an outlet for folks to nurture their potential with a positive outlook on the current crisis.”
“I am so grateful for the staff of Devereux Texas, not only for their bravery and dedication to the students during this pandemic, but also for the help given to my son while he was a client there. Even then, the staff of Devereux showed their strength, endurance and dedication to their students. My son was a client at League City during Hurricane Harvey.
“We wanted to thank you and your team (at Devereux Arizona) for your work and efforts toward helping our daughter toward healing. We are looking forward to her homecoming and are optimistic going forward. We realize there will be challenges and trials in our future, but we’re very hopeful that what she has learned at Devereux will be a positive factor and will benefit greatly.”
Devereux New York’s “Rainbow Initiative” is in full effect.
We’ve spoken with my son, often by phone, and have been pleased with how he seems to be managing with the excellent care and support from the Devereux staff. We’re very grateful to Ryan (staff member) for loaning my son his iPad to have occasional chats by Zoom. That has made an amazing difference!
(About a recent family meeting) “It was wonderful that we were all able to meet when we did. It gave me confidence to know how prepared Devereux was for what came so soon after. This time is certainly a stark reminder of what’s most important in life. Here’s to a thoughtful end of this crisis. May you all stay safe and well.”
“Thank you for doing your best to lead during these crazy times. I think it’s really important to focus on positive things during anxiety-provoking times. Sara is that positive thing for us. She is always thorough, and so kind, but this email was above and beyond. She did not need to converse with my son about if he has chatted with us, nor did she have to delve into knowing how much we must miss him. Those little conversations, about these things, are GOLD. This whole thing has been very hard for us as a family. Knowing that my son is at a place where people care so much for his whole health makes a huge difference. I just want all of Sara's supervisors to know what a blessing she is, and what an incredible nurse and person she is. I’d also like to say how much I appreciate Chrystal’s (a case manager) availability and responsiveness to our concerns. She was thorough in her approach to answering our questions, and that's very reassuring for us.”
“I would like to take the time to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of Devereux New York Direct Support Professional Kristen. For the past four years, I have seen Kristen exhibit nothing but extreme care and compassion for the individuals in her care. In times of difficulty, Kristen helps provide a stable and caring environment. Whether she is providing comfort in moments of emotional distress, running my appointments or taking an interest in my education, Kristen exemplifies what a direct support professional should aspire to be.”
Devereux New York is spreading positive spring vibes. Recently, our team members - and individuals enrolled in our residential program - painted flowers and other sunny images (later posted on our windows) to generate smiles and good cheer across campus.
In a note to Devereux New York staff member Michelle (who led the painting exercise), fellow colleague, Krista, wrote: “Thank you for being a source of happiness and stability for the individuals we serve - and bringing smiles to the faces of staff. You truly are a gift to the organization and we are lucky to have you. Thank you for coming to work each and every day and giving 100 percent. Stay healthy and keep being amazing!”
"I am very impressed and appreciative of the dedication and good care that is being provided for my son by the staff at Devereux Pennsylvania – Adult Services. I know they really care about the guys, and are working very hard to keep them safe and engaged. They are truly fantastic.”
“Just got off the phone with (name here)’s mom and she was so grateful we are providing video therapy. She said (another nonprofit) told her they don't know when they will be able to see her other daughter for therapy, and she felt like they dropped the ball. Our client (name here) also really appreciated it. She was sad thinking she wouldn't be able to see me in person and got so excited knowing she could still see me on video, and maybe even get to meet my dog over the camera. Mom was beyond appreciative and just kept saying ‘Wow!’ So please know all of your hard work to make sure our families are being supported through this is such a HUGE deal. Sending all the virtual hugs your way as you work through all of this!”
“I reached out to a group of staff at Devereux who were instrumental in helping my son through an emergency during this crisis. I wanted to know if they accepted deliveries, as (spouse) and I wanted to send a gift package to show our gratitude. The staff caught on as to what we were trying to do and simply said, ‘This is what we do for our children and adults at Devereux. We are here for (individual name here) and we will not accept any gifts, a thank you is all we need.’ Those words say it all.”
“Thank you, and each and every staff member at Devereux! My heart aches that in this time of national, or should I say international, uncertainty and insecurity, the most important person in my life is away from me. In my heart and gut I believe my son is safer there with you than he would be here with me. How in the world did it happen that someone else could protect my child better than I could? I don’t even know how to fully process that, to be honest. I am so grateful to you and everyone there for your commitment to our children, and to doing everything you are able to keep them safe. Thank you for your stellar and regular communications and updates. What little sleep I’m getting really is because I know that, at this moment in this crisis, my son is safe, and that I can trust if that changes, I will be notified immediately. I can’t begin to express how grateful I am to you and your team.”
"I am a teacher at Devereux. I just wanted to express my gratitude for the way Devereux is handling this difficult time. Management could be draconian, using threats and warnings about losing our jobs if we don’t come to work, but instead, you are supporting us and offering incentives for doing things as simple as just coming to work. The way you are respecting your employees is doing a lot to reduce the stress we are all feeling. Thanks again and we appreciate you too."
“We want to express our heartfelt appreciation for each of you during this unprecedented time. Thank you for lovingly, skillfully providing for our children/relatives, and the most vulnerable, with your unsurpassable care, quality, and expertise. This pandemic has triggered a lot of fear and anxiety for me with our children’s health conditions/concerns. (Individual #1 name here) was scheduled for ENT/GI procedures, which have been cancelled. And (individual #2 name here) being immunocompromised in the midst of COVID-19 is terrifying. UCLA was already in the process of coordinating her immune globulin infusions before the pandemic, but everything is delayed. All that to say, we are very sensitive to, and supportive of, your cautious, conservative position in minimizing exposure and promoting health for your clients, residents, staff and community.
You have miraculously adapted and optimally protected everyone at Devereux. We have told our family, friends, and colleagues what a model of excellence y’all are. You have been on top of all the details and managing the situation like the best hospitals. Your tireless efforts, countless hours, reassuring family conversations, endless task force meetings, continuous corporate and community agency discussions, are obvious and fruitful.
Along with our fellow parents and families, we have the utmost confidence and overflowing gratitude in your executive team, leadership and staff at Devereux. We forever celebrate that God connected us to (individual #2 name here) at Devereux almost a year ago. And each of you played an instrumental role in making this MIRACLE happen! (Individual #1 name here) is now thriving in his new home, achieving his full potential and experiencing breakthrough beyond what we could have ever imagined. Be assured of our ongoing prayers for Health, Peace, Provision, and Protection upon you, your loved ones, and entire Devereux Family.”
Judy said she thinks Devereux’s response to the current crisis, “should be the gold standard for how it’s handled. I know that I can be a tough customer, so if I’m this happy then you guys must really be doing it right!”
Watch inspirational and educational videos below from Devereux team members.
The importance of being flexible
Poyner says, “Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned, or a better ‘you’ to be cultivated because you allowed yourself to be flexible.”
Strengthening resilience through self-reflection
Poyner says, “If you need to make some changes in your life, reflect upon them. If nothing changes, nothing is going to change.”
The importance of practicing empathy
In this video, Devereux Center for Resilient Children Early Childhood Specialist and National Trainer Nefertiti B. Poyner, Ed.D., discusses the importance of putting yourself in another person’s shoes. Poyner suggests that, in your efforts to be empathetic, ask yourself the following questions:
Poyner says, “Empathy doesn’t mean you have to agree with the person. You’re just trying to have a better understanding of how they are feeling.”
Make time for quiet
In this video, Devereux Center for Resilient Children Early Childhood Specialist and National Trainer Nefertiti B. Poyner, Ed.D., discusses the importance of pressing the pause button on life and making time - even if it’s just a few minutes - for quiet. Poyner explains that you can use that time for meditation or self-reflection. She says, “In those moments of quiet, just become closer to you. Make time to be still - and be you.”
Select a “family member of the week”
Using music to practice self-control
The importance of morning rituals
The Devereux Center for Resilient Children wants to know how you are staying positive and resilient throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage you to participate in this brief survey to share your personal strategies for staying resilient.
Thank you to Devereux Texas front-line staff
Turning the ordinary into something extraordinary
In this video, Devereux Center for Resilient Children Early Childhood Specialist and National Trainer Nefertiti B. Poyner, Ed.D., explains the importance of taking ordinary moments throughout the day, such as dinner time or a walk around the block, and making them extraordinary. Poyner says, “There are things you and I can start doing right now that may seem ordinary, but are rather extraordinary when you think about doing them with intention. Look for those ordinary moments and try to make them magical. I challenge you to see how many you can find each day.”
The importance of self-compassion
In this video, Devereux Center for Resilient Children Early Childhood Specialist and National Trainer Nefertiti B. Poyner, Ed.D., explains the importance of being kind and gentle with yourself, especially during these challenging times. Poyner says, “If your friend was having a tough moment, what would you say to him or her? I bet you would find a way to be kind, and that’s self-compassion: treating yourself like you would a good friend.”
Using humor to build resilience
Thank you to our #HealthcareHeroes
Look below to read just a few of these inspirational messages from Devereux Arizona employees:
“Thank you for giving it your ALL every day! I am so proud and inspired by each of you.”
“Your efforts and perseverance humble me. Every single day, you go out there and put our individuals some of the most vulnerable people in the state, first. You sacrifice so others can get the valuable care they need. To say you’re heroes is an understatement, a statement I will never stop believing in! From the bottom of my heart, I want to personally thank each and every one of you. I can’t wait to get back on campus, brief residential, kitchen, school or wherever you are, to tell you that in person!”
Look below to view the video honoring our healthcare heroes.
We are #DevereuxStrong
Look below to watch a video of Devereux Arizona’s fun and uplifting team building dance.
Managing time more effectively
In this video, Devereux Center for Resilient Children Early Childhood Specialist and National Trainer Nefertiti B. Poyner, Ed.D., explains the Pomodoro Technique, a time management tool that uses a timer to break down work into intervals.
Doing something kind for someone else
Nurturing social connections
The importance of rules
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