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Sharing inspirational 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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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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At Devereux, our community supporters are nothing short of amazing – they are committed to making a meaningful and positive difference in the lives of the children, adolescents and adults we serve.

Recently, the Atlanta, Georgia, nonprofit For the Kid in All of Us donated more than 60 backpacks filled with school supplies, including notebooks, pens, colored pencils, rulers and erasers, to Devereux Georgia youth.

“We want to thank For the Kid in All of Us for their generous donation,” said Devereux Georgia Development Director Matthew Dobson. “For the past 12 years, the organization has provided school supplies for the individuals we serve at the start of each school year, as well as toys during the holidays. When our youth receive these items their faces light up. The recent donation of school supplies will help ensure our individuals have the tools they need to enhance their learning and succeed in the classroom.”

Look below to view photos of For the Kid in All of Us volunteers and the nonprofit’s school supply donation.

  
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At Devereux, we are committed to helping the children, adolescents and adults in our care build the skills they need to succeed in life.

Recently, students enrolled in Devereux Massachusetts and Rhode Island’s vocational program participated in virtual mock job interviews with a member of the organization’s People Operations team.

“Job interviews can be intimidating. One way we help our students prepare for this experience is through mock interviews,” said Devereux Massachusetts and Rhode Island Executive Director Nadyia Abbas, M.A., CGAS, LMHC. “Mock interviews can not only help our students improve their interview skills, but also reduce their stress and anxiety about interviewing, and boost their self-confidence and self-esteem. We want to thank People Operations Generalist Jessica Migliore for conducting these interviews. Our students did a fantastic job – they were excited to participate, and are ready for the real thing.”

Look below to view a photo of a student participating in a mock interview with Migliore.

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This graduation season, we want to wish all of our 2023 graduates the very best.

At the Devereux Center for Autism Research and Education Services (CARES), six students recently graduated. CARES team members shared what they will miss most about them.

Aidan Baker: Aidan has a happy demeanor and playful nature. He loves to dance and sing songs with staff. During his time at CARES, Aidan has improved his communication skills.

  

Michael “Misha” Golubovsky: Misha loves music and playing the piano. We are proud of how much he has increased his activities of interest, and how well he can communicate his needs. His sense of humor is second to none.

  

Annie Kelly: Annie is a social young woman who possesses a wide range of skills. She has been our go-to student when trying out new jobs. She is loving, and has an incredible ability to remember everyone’s name.

  

Blake Miller: Blake is a delightful young man. We are most proud of the improvements he has made in his behavior. We will miss his easy-going nature, and the warm smile he gives each team member as he gets off the bus every morning.

  

Jaeden Morrison: Jaeden is positive, upbeat and full of energy. During his time at CARES, he has learned how to remain on task. We will miss his spirit and gentle high-fives.

  

Paul Urbani: Paul’s smile is contagious, and he has a deep love for music. He has become an excellent communicator, utilizying his Picture Exchange Communication System. Seeing him smile and wave at team members in the hallways has always brightened our school days.

  

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Congratulations to the class of 2023!

At Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Services, seven students graduated from the Devereux School for Integrated Learning. Team members shared each student’s greatest areas of improvement and plans for the future, as well as what they will miss most about them.

Maeva B.

  • Greatest areas of improvement: Math skills
  • Plans after graduation: Maeva plans to participate in a day program.
  • What we’ll miss most: Maeva showing off her modeling catwalk and singing along to the song, “Barbie Girl”

  

Carley C.

  • Greatest areas of improvement: Communication with the use of technology, as well as vocational and daily living skills.
  • Plans after graduation: Carley plans to enroll in an adult residential program.
  • What we’ll miss most: Carley’s smile and positive energy

  

Dion H.

  • Greatest areas of improvement: Social-emotional skills, communication
  • Plans after graduation: Dion plans to continue to reside at his current group home and engage in community activities.
  • What we’ll miss most: Dion’s demeanor and dancing skills

  

Jake P.

  • Greatest areas of improvement: Communication
  • Plans after graduation: Jake plans to participate in a vocational day program.
  • What we’ll miss most: Jake’s independent work skills and assistance in the classroom

  

Jason S.

  • Greatest areas of improvement: The ability to adapt to schedule changes, and the development of conversation skills
  • Plans after graduation: Jason recently moved into an apartment.
  • What we’ll miss most: Jason’s love for Oreos, Google Maps and the song, “We are the Champions”

  

Lucas S.

  • Greatest areas of improvement: Social skills
  • Plans after graduation: Lucas plans to continue to reside at his current group home and participate in volunteer opportunities.
  • What we’ll miss most: Lucas’ outstanding memory

  

Francis “Frankie” W.

  • Greatest areas of improvement: Vocational skills
  • Plans after graduation: Francis plans to continue working at Wawa.
  • What we’ll miss most: Frankie’s willingness to always lend a helping hand

  

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Congratulations to the four students who recently graduated from Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Services’ Brandywine and Mapleton schools.

Team members shared each student’s strengths and post-high school plans.

John Cabrera

  • Mapleton School
  • Strengths: John has strong reading comprehension and writing skills.
  • Future plans: John is excited about what the future holds. He hopes to either work in an Amazon warehouse or pursue a trucking license.

  

Ben Romney

  • Mapleton School
  • Strengths: Ben is extremely smart and an overall great person.
  • Future plans: Ben wants to attend college and take classes that interest him.

  

Matthew Schultz

  • Mapleton School
  • Strengths: Matthew has strong computer skills, shines at staying on task, and is kind and caring.
  • Future plans: Matthew plans to pursue a career in electrical maintenance or security.

  

Emily Trumbower

  • Brandywine School
  • Strengths: Emily excels in self-advocacy and peer mentorship.
  • Future plans: Emily plans to attend Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

  

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At Devereux, our employees strive to provide the highest quality care and support for the children, adolescents and adults they serve.

Recently, a few Devereux Georgia team members shared what they love most about their jobs.

“At a very young age, I knew I wanted to help children, and Devereux is the perfect place to do that. I am constantly in awe of the individuals we serve, and their resiliency. I know we are a stepping stone in their lives, and the amazing things they are meant to do.”

Rhiannon Brown, case coordinator

“Devereux is a place where you not only have the opportunity to assist in the growth of the individuals we serve, but it also is a place where you are empowered to grow as well.”

Jennifer Mitchell, office manager

“I love working at Devereux because I have been given the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the individuals we serve. It has always been my passion to help others, and I am able to do just that.”

Erica Rowland, case coordinator

“My favorite part of the job is seeing a child go home. It’s wonderful to witness them have the tools in their life to succeed.”

Sydney Westmoreland, direct care professional

“I have the opportunity to interact with everyone on campus, our employees, as well as our youth, and I take pride in helping them.”

Danielle Tate, campus supervisor

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Graduation season is upon us – it’s a time of celebration, reflection and excitement about the future.

Recently, Devereux Vice President of Educational Services Jacalyn Auris, Ed.D., provided the commencement address for Avon Grove Charter School. During her speech, which took place at Lincoln University, Auris focused on the school’s theme for the 2022-23 school year: “Rising Strong.”

Auris shared lessons she has learned throughout her career that have helped her define “Rising Strong.” She concluded her speech by reminding the graduates, “As you are ‘Rising Strong,’ ignore the word ‘ideal;’ don’t catastrophize mistakes; know the role you should be playing in various situations; show the world a new way of looking at things; and take care of yourself. Don’t forget to also do your part to help others ‘Rise Strong.’”

Look below to view a photo of Auris providing the commencement address.

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At Devereux, there is no greater reward than hearing how well the children, adolescents and adults we serve are doing after they leave our care. Recently, a youth who completed specialized behavioral health treatment at Devereux Florida’s Viera campus wrote a note to team members, thanking them for their support.

“You people inspired me to do well. I hope you get more kids to inspire. Thanks for the opportunity to live and learn.”

– Former Devereux Florida individual


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