DePaul Annual Report 2022

Sam’s Circle of Support Story by Alison Wickline-Burns | Photos by Joy Shots Photography

After years of struggling, Sam has found peace in a DePaul sponsored residential home with providers Mary and Tracy. “He’s happier, and he’s able to get the one-on one attention he needs,” said Kevan, Sam’s dad. Kevan and Sam’s mom, Brittany, are amazed at the progress their son has made since moving in with Mary and Tracy in May. Over the years, as Kevan and Brittany grew their family, they saw Sam grow more uncomfortable and restless. His autism and sensory processing disorder made it difficult for him to manage daily life. “There was no way we could create a safe home environment for him and for our other children,” said Kevan. Kevan and Brittany knew a change was needed but felt like no one was listening. They advocated for their son and for their family through phone calls and meetings, many times fighting back tears. And then, finally, they found DePaul. “DePaul provided a way when there was no other way,” said Brittany. Mary knew after her first meeting with Sam that he was meant to be in their home and she and Tracy were meant to be his compassionate caregivers. Mary worked in health care for years and saw the need for personalized one-on-one care and attention. This was her chance to provide that for Sam, who was in desperate need of it.

“I think this is where he belongs,” said Mary. Every day, Mary and Tracy work to provide a calm and quiet environment where Sam can thrive. Sometimes they take walks on the farm and go out into the community, and sometimes they give him his space. “He has so much love and the best smile,” said Mary. “He has been a blessing to us.” Brittany believes Mary and Tracy have been a blessing to Sam, too. “They are angels,” said Brittany. Everyone in Sam’s circle agrees that his life has completely changed. But that change did not come without work. Brittany and Kevan had to admit they needed help and then navigate the hurdles and barriers to accessing that help. Mary and Tracy had to make a commitment to welcoming Sam into their home, making sure he was supported and all his needs were met. Hope and belonging take work—but if Sam’s smile and new life are any indication, that work is always, always worth it. | 7

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