Leading National Behavioral Healthcare Provider

Call 1-800-345-1292

  • ASCEND Program
  • February awareness
  • Devereux News
  • Who we help
  • Careers at Devereux
  • Inspirational messages of Hope banner

Tweet Share on LinkedIn Send email Print

Former client credits Devereux’s Gwen Skinner with helping him thrive


Stacy Thomas (pictured above with his mother), who was placed with Devereux Vice President of Operations Gwen Skinner and her husband, Pat, when he was 14, credits the Skinners with helping him become the man he is today.

“Ms. Skinner and her husband looked beyond my faults and saw what I needed. I remember feeling like I was part of their family – they taught and nurtured me.”
  – Stacy Thomas, former client

Since the late 1980s, Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Vice President of Operations Gwen Skinner and her husband, Pat, have provided a safe, stable and supportive home for more than 40 foster children. In addition, Skinner served as a case manager for other clients, including Stacy, when he was 14 years old.

“I was a kid whose mother did all she could, but I was just too much to handle,” Stacy shared. “If it were not for Ms. Skinner seeing something in me, I would have ended up in jail. She literally saved my life. She took me under her wing and showed me what it meant to treat people well.”

Skinner noted, “Stacy was a sweet kid with a big smile and a lot of potential. We had an opportunity to make a meaningful and positive difference in his life. We are thrilled to learn about all he has accomplished over the years – it is wonderful to know he is doing so well.”

Following dreams

As Stacy grew older, he went on to become a manager at various restaurants and retail stores across the country.

He also became interested in civil rights, volunteering at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).

“In 1992, I decided I wanted to work with at-risk youth, so I walked into the office of civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, who founded the SCLC, and told him want I wanted to do,” Stacy explained. “He took me across the hall to meet with his director of youth at the SCLC. For years, I had the opportunity to work with some dynamic young people, and meet U.S. Rep. John Lewis, Rev. Ambassador Andrew Young, Xernona Clayton Brady, Coretta Scott King and other civil rights icons.”

Overcoming challenges

While Stacy has experienced some hardships over the years, including a case of double pneumonia that left him unable to stand on his feet for more than a few minutes at a time, he has a positive outlook on life and credits the Skinners with helping him become the man he is today.

“I often think about Ms. Skinner and all she did for me,” Stacy said. “I have always wanted to get up in front of a crowd of her peers, salute her and let her know how great of a job she did.”

Learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health.


Latest News

New York Marketing Video   Video: Welcome to Devereux New York

Devereux New York provides a wide range of educational, clinical, residential and community-based programs and services for children and adults. Learn how we are helping those in our care become positive, productive and socially-connected members of their communities.

New podcast episode   Season 2 premiere episode: ‘Not Your Average School Psychologist’ podcast

Listen to the Season 2 premiere episode of the Devereux Center for Effective Schools’ podcast, “Not Your Average School Psychologist,” to hear Dr. David Lillenstein, NCSP, share how he uses his role as a school psychologist to advocate for his profession. Dr. Lillenstein is a school psychologist for the Derry Township School District in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Amazon Music/Audible.

Mary Jacque   Celebrating Devereux’s Healthcare Heroes: Spotlight on Devereux Georgia Learning Manager Mary Jacque

At Devereux, our employees are at the heart of everything we do – and are key to our success. Learn how Devereux Georgia Learning Manager Mary Jacque is serving and inspiring others every day.

Jillian Blumberg   Servant Leadership Snapshot: Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Services Admissions Specialist Jillian Blumberg

Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Services Admissions Specialist Jillian Blumberg believes that every day is a new start, a new moment for growth and new opportunity to help someone else. Learn how she leads to serve.

More Stories