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The Gift of Unlocking Human Potential

"When you see the difference you’re making in another person’s life and the difference they’re making in yours it’s all worth it.”
- Devereux lifeshare provider Suzanne

 

Devereux life share providers, Suzanne and her husband, Matthew recently received an award from the the Lifesharing Coalition for their dedication and commitment to helping adults in need.

The couple became life share providers in 2015, and currently support two young men, Oleg and Sean. Pictured from left: Matthew, Suzanne and Oleg.

The family teaches individuals with disabilities daily living and social skills, and help them build relationships and integrate into the community. Pictured from left: Matthew and Sean.

When you speak with Suzanne you are immediately struck by the warmth, joy and laughter in her voice. You are also awed by her optimism and resiliency after experiencing so many challenges and hardships. Soon, you realize how incredibly fortunate Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health is to have such a wonderful lifesharing family. 

Suzanne and her husband, Matthew, had built a good life for their family in Trinidad. Suzanne had always loved taking care of others, especially working in a home for abandoned children. When their oldest son was seven years old, Suzanne and Matthew’s world came crashing down. He was critically ill and required a heart transplant in the United States to save his life. As Suzanne relates: “These were the darkest days of our lives. We needed a miracle.” Their child’s ongoing health issues required them to relocate permanently to the United States where, in addition to raising their four children, they both found rewarding careers in health care.  

When their own children were becoming more independent, Suzanne and Matthew decided to become lifeshare providers. Devereux’s lifeshare program provides adults with emotional, behavioral and cognitive differences the opportunity to live in a family setting while receiving services and support to improve their quality of life and increase their independence. 

Initially, Suzanne and Matthew served as substitute care providers, offering respite or short-term support to other life share families. After a couple of years in that role, the couple opened their hearts and home to Oleg. Two years later, Sean joined their family. They help the men learn important daily living and social skills, help them build relationships, and help them integrate into the community through participating in day programs, attending weekly literacy classes, volunteering at a local church and food bank or enrolling in extracurricular activities, such as karate. 

"One day I’m a teacher, the next day I’m a student. This experience has been extremely rewarding. I only wish we had become life share providers at Devereux sooner.”

This fall, the couple received the Lifesharing Coalition’s Northeast Region “2020 Excellence in Lifesharing Award” for their dedication and commitment to helping individuals in need. “We are honored to receive this award. Being a lifeshare provider has brought us so much joy,” Suzanne said. “Each of the adults in our care has different interests, skills and talents they learn - from us and we learn from them. I always tell people, ‘One day I’m a teacher, the next day I’m a student.’ This experience has been extremely rewarding. I only wish we had become lifeshare providers at Devereux sooner.”

The dedicated Devereux staff, who support the family and nominated them for the award, noted that “Suzanne and Matthew go above and beyond in their role as caregivers, and we are privileged to have them on our team. The couple are enthusiastic and eager to make a difference, encouraging those in their care to do their best and helping them identify and overcome any challenges they may face. We have seen Oleg and Sean grow, develop and thrive in their time with this family. Whether Oleg is playing his guitar or exercising or Sean is working on his computer, they always have huge smiles on their faces.” 

Suzanne and Matthew feel that being a lifeshare provider at Devereux has had such a positive impact on their life, and they are always encouraging other families to help adults with disabilities learn new skills, achieve their goals, and lead more independent and fulfilling lives. They shared, “We absolutely love taking care of these men! After our children went off to college, we wanted to keep our house a home. Whether I am teaching Oleg and Sean how to cook or taking them to volunteer at the church, I’m reminded of when my own kids were young and we had so much going on. These men have brought new life into our home it’s the best decision we could have ever made.” 

Devereux is very grateful to Suzanne and Matthew for their incredible dedication and commitment to these remarkable young men who share their lives. Having them all in our lifeshare program is certainly one of the best decisions Devereux could have ever made.

Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health cannot bring together compassionate care, industry-leading interventions, and family engagement without your support. Public agencies, which fund our services, simply do not cover the cost of our advanced care and life-changing services. Please make your gift today by visiting our secure online donation.

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