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Sharing messages of hope

At Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health, our families, caregivers, team members and supporters motivate and encourage us every day with their passion, compassion, strength and resolve.

Letters and testimonials

Look below to view inspirational stories, testimonials and messages of hope, kindness and resilience from members of our Devereux community. 

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At Devereux, we are grateful for our community partners who help us provide the best possible care and support for the individuals and families we serve.

Recently, the Kerala Association of Delaware Valley hosted its fifth annual Chester County 5K Run/Walk, with funds raised from this year’s event benefiting the Devereux Southeastern Pennsylvania Autism Resource Center (SPARC). The event generated $6,500 for the organization, which serves individuals with autism spectrum disorders, as well as behavioral concerns and/or other developmental disabilities.

“We are truly honored to be the beneficiary of Kerala Association of Delaware Valley’s run/walk event for the second year in a row, and we want to thank the organization – and all of the runners and walkers who participated – for their generosity, compassion and support,” said Devereux Director of Autism Clinical Support Services Megan Joy, Ph.D., BCBA. “Funds raised from this event will be used to enhance our programs and services as we strive to make a positive difference in the lives of individuals and families in southeastern Pennsylvania.”

Look below to view photos from the event and the ceremonial check presentation.

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At Devereux, our team members give nothing less than their all to support the children, adolescents and adults in their care. Recently, Devereux New York held an employee recognition event to highlight the remarkable contributions of center staff.

Look below to read testimonials from individuals and families served by Devereux New York, as well as employees, expressing their gratitude to the award recipients.

“Anita is very attentive to our son’s needs. When we talk to her, she informs us about what’s been going on with him, and that’s very important to us. She is pleasant, caring and always positive. It eases a parent’s mind having individuals, such as Anita, in the house, caring for their loved one.”
      – N.Y. parent recognizing Direct Support Professional (DSP) Anita Coscio

“Clifford is my favorite staff. He’s a good staff member. He’s fun and he makes me laugh every day.”
     – N.Y. individual recognizing DSP Clifford Oreje

“Mercy is very kind and helpful. My son really appreciates her help and all she does for him. Mercy works hard and is dedicated to working with my son and his housemates. She takes such good care of my son.”
     – N.Y. parent recognizing DSP Mercy Khatta

“Thomas has a contagious smile and laugh that is soothing to the individuals and his peers. He shows up with the desire to learn about the individuals in his care to better understand them and provide good care. Thomas is reliable and willing to jump in and help when needed.”
     – N.Y. program staff recognizing DSP Thomas Airo

Look below to view photos from the recognition event.

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Twenty-six teams heated up the ice for the annual “Face-off for Autism” hockey tournament to raise critical funds for Devereux Pennsylvania’s Bridge Fund.

The event generated more than $19,000 for the Bridge Fund, which helps adults with autism spectrum disorder and other disabilities – served by Devereux Pennsylvania’s Community Adult Autism Partnership Program (CAAPP) – bridge the gap between high school graduation and adult programming to ensure there is no lapse in service.

Approximately 350 people attended the daylong tournament, hosted by Shinny USA, at Ice Line in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

“We want to thank our players, sponsors and volunteers, including our wonderful planning committee, for helping to make this year’s event a success,” said Devereux Executive Director of Autism Services Todd Harris, Ph.D. “In addition to funding individualized services and supports for adults with autism and other disabilities, the Bridge Fund sponsors social events and activities. The adults we serve have had the opportunity to participate in a cooking group and a community garden, and attend a Philadelphia Phillies game, anime fan expo, goat yoga session and more. In the past year, we have utilized the Bridge Fund for six adults.”

Look below to view photos from the event.

Save the date: ‘Tee-off for Autism’ on Sept. 13

Grab your golf clubs! The “Tee-off for Autism” golf tournament – also benefitting Devereux Pennsylvania’s Bridge Fund – will be held on Sept. 13. Interested sponsors or participants should contact Dr. Todd Harris or Kate Langston.

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Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Services is nurturing the growth of students’ artistic talents.

Recently, students helped create a painting of a thriving tree, with the inspirational words “hope,” “purpose,” “growth,” “love” and “family,” that will hang in the lobby of the administration building on campus.

“My students and I have painted multiple pieces of installation art to brighten up buildings on campus,” said Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Services Art Teacher Tina Zurcher. “My goal is to create pieces that promote positivity. I draw the design on a large wooden board and decide on a color scheme. During art class, each student helps paint a section of the board. After the board is completed, I apply resin to seal and protect the artwork. For this board, I chose a tree to symbolize strength, and I incorporated encouraging words to provide comfort to families who are considering enrolling their child in Devereux. I hope these reminders of what is important in life inspire everyone who visits the historic building.”

Look below to view a photo of the painting.

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Students at Devereux Massachusetts and Rhode Island are immersing themselves in other cultures without needing to leave campus.

The center’s Westside residential program recently held its inaugural “Culture Day.” Students had an opportunity to experience Jamaican culture through presentations, food and music.

“We began the day by listening to the Jamaican national anthem before watching a slideshow presentation on different aspects of the Jamaican culture that one of our students proudly put together,” said Devereux Massachusetts and Rhode Island Westside Program Manager Tenasha Anderson, M.A. “We enjoyed delicious native foods, such as rice, jerk chicken, ackee and salt fish, curry goat, bun and cheese, and Jamaican beef patties, all prepared by our staff, while listening to classic reggae music. I want to give a special shoutout to my assistant program manager, Simone Archer, who is from Jamaica and came up with the idea of hosting ‘Culture Days.’ Jamaica was the first of many cultures we plan on exploring. This is a great way for our students to learn – and engage in – cultures different from their own.”

Look below to view photos from the celebration.

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It was their time to shine – and shine they did.

Adults supported by Devereux Pocono recently attended “Night to Shine,” an annual formal event for individuals with special needs, sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation.

Our adults, who were dressed to impress, spent the evening laughing, dancing and posing for photos.

“The smiles on their faces said it all. Our individuals look forward to this event year after year,” said Devereux Pocono Executive Director Tina Skoda. “Many of those we serve never had the opportunity to attend a formal occasion. With ‘Night to Shine’ they get to experience all of the glitz and glamour in a safe, welcoming setting. This year’s event was one they will not soon forget.”

Look below to view photos of a few of the adults who attended the event.

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“Unleash the potential that is in another and you unleash the potential that is in you.”
Matshona Dhliwayo, author

At Devereux, our team members, and the individuals and families we serve, motivate and inspire us every day.

Recently, Devereux Pocono hosted its annual intellectual and developmental disabilities awareness event to honor staff, the youth and adults in their care, and community supporters, for bringing out the best in all those around them.

“The theme of this year’s event was ‘inspiration,’ and several of our individuals shared beautiful stories about what inspires them,” said Devereux Pocono Executive Director Tina Skoda. “We had a wonderful turnout that included staff from local lawmakers’ offices, Advisory Board members and Devereux Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical/Medical Officer Yolanda Graham, M.D., FAPA, DFAACAP, who helped present the awards. This event is a celebration of our center that showcases why we do what we do.”

Look below to view photos from the event.

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At The Shops at Devereux’s Auto Shop, part of Devereux Pennsylvania – Adult Services’ vocational training program, customer service is second to none.

Recently, Devereux Senior Director of Administration Rich Rinaldi, MBA, PMP, took his vehicle to the Auto Shop for a repair. He was so impressed by the customer service, he wrote a note of thanks to Devereux Pennsylvania – Adult Services Executive Director Christopher Betts, M.A.

Look below to read an excerpt from his letter.

“I just wanted to thank you for my experience today at the Auto Shop. John, our mechanic, was amazing to work with, and so very supportive of all the individuals on his team. I sat with him in the office while he went line by line over the repair and the costs. (It was much more affordable than my local shop!) The customer service was stellar – above and beyond what I am used to … Thanks for running such a smooth operation! It was nice to see Devereux in action, and at its best.”

About the Auto Shop

The Auto Shop, located in Devon, Pennsylvania, is a full-service automobile mechanic shop, offering state vehicle safety inspections, car washes, oil changes, brake and engine repairs, and more! Note: The Auto Shop also accepts vehicle donations.

Adults employed by the Auto Shop gain real-world job experience by helping to inspect, maintain and repair the vehicles. To schedule an appointment, call (610) 964-3225, or email John Deputy.

Learn more about The Shops at Devereux.

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Students enrolled in the vocational program at Devereux Massachusetts and Rhode Island recently enjoyed a tour of Rob Roy Academy, a cosmetology school in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Youth learned about the academy and what it takes to pursue a career in cosmetology or barbering. After the tour, the academy treated students to a free haircut or manicure, while Devereux Massachusetts and Rhode Island team members received a free facial.

“We want to thank Rob Roy Academy Admission Representative Lisa Derosiers for her hospitality and generosity, and for taking the time to meet with our students,” Devereux Massachusetts and Rhode Island Vocational Coordinator Jysenia Valle. “To see the smiles on the faces of our youth was heartwarming. Through this experience, they learned that hard work pays off, and there are kind people out there willing to help. Our students left the academy with an ‘I can do anything’ mindset, and on the drive back to campus, they expressed their gratitude and said, ‘This was the best day ever!’”

Look below to view photos of the students’ visit to Rob Roy Academy.

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In celebration of National First Responders Day on Oct. 28, Devereux Texas hosted an event on campus to thank League City first responders for their service and support of the organization.

Twenty first responders and public officials attended the event, including League City Mayor Nick Long, City Manager John Baumgartner, Police Chief Cliff Woitena, Assistant Police Chiefs Anthony Hera and Stephen Antley, Public Works Manager Jody Hooks, and Fire Chief Michael Lugo.

Devereux Texas youth had an opportunity to meet and interact with the officials and get an up-close look at their various service vehicles.

“We are extremely grateful for our first responders. Their commitment to the community and the children and adolescents in our care is inspiring,” said Devereux Texas Executive Director Pam Reed. “This event not only highlighted the strong bond between our organization and League City, but also provided an opportunity for those we serve to make positive and meaningful connections with first responders and create lasting memories.”

Look below to view photos of the National First Responders Day event.

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Approximately 100 golfers hit the links at the Kimberton Golf Course in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, for the fifth annual “Tee-off for Autism” golf tournament to raise critical funds for Devereux Pennsylvania’s Bridge Fund.

The Bridge Fund helps adults with autism spectrum disorder and other disabilities – served by Devereux Pennsylvania’s Community Adult Autism Partnership Program (CAAPP) – bridge the gap between high school graduation and adult programming to ensure there is no lapse in service.

The golf tournament, organized in partnership with supporter T.J. Schneider, generated nearly $9,000 for the Bridge Fund.

“We are extremely grateful to T. J. Schneider and our golfers, sponsors and volunteers, including our planning committee, for helping to make the event so successful,” said Devereux Executive Director of Autism Services Todd Harris, Ph.D. “This year, between the ‘Face-off for Autism’ hockey tournament in April and the golf tournament, we raised more than $45,000 for the Bridge Fund. The Bridge Fund allows the adults we serve to continue to receive community, employment and behavior services as they transition to adult programming. The Bridge Fund also sponsors social events and activities. Throughout the past year, our adults have had the opportunity to attend Philadelphia Phillies and Philadelphia Union games, goat yoga, holiday parties and much more – all thanks to this fund.”

Look below to view photos of the “Tee-off for Autism” golf tournament, which also featured an air cannon contest.

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Three … two … one … liftoff!

Team members from Devereux Florida’s Titusville campus demonstrated their creativity by wearing astronaut costumes during a recent center leadership meeting. The crew shared information about exciting new initiatives “taking flight” at their campus.

“Our Titusville team – and all of our dedicated team members – are ‘out of this world,’” said Devereux Florida Director of External Affairs Lindsey Phillips. “More than 50 leaders from programs across the state gathered for the meeting as we work together to ensure we are providing the best possible care and support for the individuals we serve. Our Titusville campus, which provides residential treatment, is located near the Kennedy Space Center. The mission-minded Titusville team clearly had fun with their assignment.”

Look below to view a photo of the Titusville team.

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It’s the most wonder-fall time of the year!

Devereux Florida’s Viera campus recently hosted its annual fall festival, transforming a traditional campus parking lot into gourd-geous festival grounds.

Team members, and the children and adolescents they support, had an unbe-leaf-able time dressing up in Halloween costumes for the festival’s car hop. Youth went car to car, playing games and trick-or-treating.

The festival also featured a hayride; a petting zoo with a donkey, goats, turtles and bunnies; and a campfire where all in attendance could toast marshmallows for s’mores. Youth also enjoyed funnel cakes, roasted corn and grilled sausages while sorting through their bags of sweet treats.

“In my 25 years of helping to coordinate the fall festival, this was one for the record books,” said Devereux Florida Program Director Kim Reidel, M.S., BCBA. “I’m incredibly grateful for every single team member who put their time, passion and energy into providing our kids with an exceptional day. We were able to offer unique and festive experiences for our youth, who didn’t want the day to end.”

Look below to view photos of the fall festival.

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Show your Devereux spirit!

Devereux Arizona recently celebrated Spirit Week with team members dressing according to daily themes. The themes included: 1) Blackout Day (wear all black), 2) Whiteout Day (wear all white), 3) Favorite Sports Team Day (wear your team’s jersey) and 4) Twinning Day (dress like a colleague).

“Spirit Week was big hit! We want to thank our team members for participating and showing their Devereux spirit,” said Devereux Arizona Executive Director Yvette Jackson, LMSW, DBH. “We have a diverse set of teams that work in different locations. Some colleagues may never cross paths. We wanted to hold a center-wide Spirit Week to promote the fact that we are one community, regardless of office location.”

Look below to view photos of Devereux Arizona’s Spirit Week celebrations.

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Clinical leaders from Devereux centers across the country gathered at the Ronald P. Burd Conference Center in Villanova, Pennsylvania, on Oct. 19 and 20, for their first in-person retreat since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The retreat provided an opportunity for clinical leaders to network, share best practices and explore opportunities for further collaboration.

“After three years, we were thrilled to gather in person once again,” said Devereux Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical/Medical Officer Yolanda Graham, M.D. “The retreat featured presentations on a variety of topics, including: clinical outcomes, legal/risk management, new business development, family engagement, clinician self-care and wellness, and our ASCEND Career Accelerator Program. Devereux PLEA Medical Director Stuart Libman, M.D., and Clinical/Program Director Aaron Libman, M.Ed., BCBA, father-son clinical leaders, presented on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and participated in the retreat. All of the clinical leaders had an opportunity to engage with colleagues, expand their knowledge and gain valuable insights into exciting new initiatives taking place across our organization.”

Look below to view a photo from the retreat.

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#YouBelongHere

At Devereux, we are committed to creating and sustaining a work environment where all team members feel they belong.

Recently, Devereux Massachusetts and Rhode Island’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) committee hosted its annual multicultural festival on campus. Team members from various countries and territories, including Colombia, Ghana, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Puerto Rico and the U.S., prepared authentic cuisine and created art displays.

“We have team members from all over the word. The festival provided an opportunity for our staff, as well as our students, to learn about, and celebrate, different cultures,” said Devereux Massachusetts and Rhode Island Clinician and DEIB Champion Shamni Uthayasoorian, M.S., LMHC, who helped organize the event. “As part of the festival, we set up a separate art booth for our students to design and draw flags, and we held an outdoor soccer activity. Officers from the Rutland Police Department even joined in the celebrations. Our international employees were excited and proud to share information about their traditions and customs, and all those in attendance were enthusiastic and supportive.”

Look below to view photos of the multicultural festival.

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And the Devie Award goes to …

Devereux’s national Recognition and Retention Committee recently held its third annual Devie Awards. Each year, the Devies provide an opportunity for national team members to recognize colleagues for being exemplary servant leaders.

The award nomination categories include: Compassionate Collaborator, Skilled Communicator, Puts People First, Has Foresight, Systems Thinker, Person of Character, Leads with Moral Authority and Cultivates a Culture of Belonging. One award recipient is selected from each category, and the winners receive a chatter head (type of bobble head) of the organization’s founder, Helen T. Devereux.

The theme for this year’s event, which was held both in-person at the Ronald P. Burd Conference Center in Villanova, Pennsylvania, and virtually, was “The Devies go Hollywood.” The Burd Center was decorated with balloons and streamers, and team members had a chance to pose for pictures next to a life-size cutout of Miss Devereux.

Look below to view photos of the event.

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Family fun was the name of the game at the inaugural “Field Day Fun-Draiser” presented by Northwestern Mutual | Volante Integrated Planning to benefit Devereux Texas.

The event, held at Town Green Park in The Woodlands, Texas, raised approximately $7,000 for Devereux Texas’ residential treatment program for youth, ages 6 to 17, with autism, developmental disabilities and co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention-deficit disorder.

Activities included face painting, a giant inflatable bounce castle and team competitions, including a three-legged race, land skiing, a dress-up relay and fill-the-bucket contests.

“What a wonderful, fun-filled event. We want to thank Northwestern Mutual | Volante and Devereux Texas Advisory Board member Jennifer Steil for selecting us as the beneficiary,” said Devereux Texas Executive Director Pam Reed. “All proceeds will support our autism intensive residential treatment program as we work to help the adolescents we serve learn new skills, build social connections, achieve greater independence – and thrive.”

Look below to view photos of the “Field Day Fun-Draiser.”

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At Devereux, our direct care team members are committed to helping the youth and adults in their care lead happy, productive and fulfilling lives.

Recently, staff at Devereux centers across the country celebrated Direct Support Professional Recognition Week – Sept. 10-16 – by thanking their direct care colleagues, including direct support professionals (DSPs), direct care professionals (DCPs) and youth care professionals (YCPs), for making a difference every day.

Here are just a few of the activities we held to honor our DSPs, DCPs and YCPs.

  • Devereux California: Direct care team members participated in various activities, including a dunk tank and karaoke, and were treated to a barbecue lunch, ice cream sundaes and raffles for prizes. Individuals supported by Devereux California also joined in on the fun.
  • Devereux Pocono: The weeklong celebration of direct care team members included a daily bingo game, hoodie giveaways, sweet treats, a picnic and random prizes.
  • Devereux Georgia: Staff created a beach-themed area on campus for direct care team members to relax. There were giveaways, refreshments and more. Advisory Board members sponsored a coffee truck, made cupcakes and provided snacks.
  • Devereux Texas: Team members celebrated their colleagues with a “Devereux ‘STARS’ bucks” drive-thru coffee social. Staff enjoyed coffee, tea, hot chocolate and a variety of doughnuts.

Look below to view photos of our recognition week festivities. Learn how we celebrate our more than 2,700 direct care staff during this annual appreciation week and all year long.


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