"Without Ready for Life, I would still...
I won't have a home.
Devon says this from my couch, his eyes intent on expressing the seriousness and authenticity of these thoughts.
"And I wouldn't have the great attorney that I would have today!" he says with pride.
Devon is talking about Ms. Pam. One of the few people before Ready for Life Brevard he'd ever trusted.
When Pam Bress first met Devon, he was sixteen. He was living in an adult assisted living facility for Dementia patients due to the lack of youth housing to address his particular needs. Other than a place to live, he did not have any peer interaction or help with transitioning into adulthood.
Over the next seven years, as Devon's court appointed lawyer, Pam was unknowingly being educated as to the massive gap between Devon's needs and the care available to him as he was transitioning to adulthood. It was not difficult for her to see how vulnerable he was- that if she left him to fend for himself it would lead to sure disaster- homelessness, jail, maybe even death. And so began almost a decade of learning what was needed to fill those gaps, for Devon and hundreds more like him.
Today, Devon is on a successful path to interdependence. He lives with 2 roommates thanks to being one of the first FYI voucher recipients in Florida. He's been through a Vocational Rehab program and was recently hired to detail cars. He is a valuable teammate on his Special Olympics soccer team. He likes construction, video games and has a dream to learn video game design. He has a faithful mentor whom he likes, trusts and relies on frequently.
Before Covid-19, he came to visit us at RFLB often to get bus passes, talk about life, give hugs, eat my tuna, and then carefully wash the container where I would find it sitting neatly by the sink to dry. Now we are checking on him by phone and text. He has a huge heart and is a fierce protecter of those he cares so deeply for as we are of him.