At Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health, volunteers play an integral role, donating their time and talents to help the nonprofit change lives and empower those it serves to achieve their full and unique potential.
Devereux is one of the nation’s largest organizations providing services, insight, and leadership in the evolving field of behavioral healthcare. Founded in 1912, Devereux operates a comprehensive network of clinical, therapeutic, educational, and employment programs and services that positively impact the lives of tens of thousands of children, adults – and their families – every year.
One group of exceptionally dedicated volunteers at the organization’s Devereux Florida center is the Devereux Volunteer Association of Students (DVAS), comprised of students from high schools in the Orlando area. DVAS was founded by Olympia High School students Tilly Beverlin and Maya Weber, in the summer of 2020, as a way to help youth in need during the pandemic.
Upon their initial introduction to the organization, Tilly and Maya decided they could provide support in a variety of ways – not just through a single, volunteer project. The two honors students learned about the children served through Devereux Florida, and the more they learned, the more they wanted to help. This Servant Leadership mindset inspired Tilly and Maya to enlist the assistance of peers, classmates, friends, and neighbors. The students committed themselves to a multiyear project to engage civic-minded, young leaders who want to make a difference in their community and support the needs of an established nonprofit that serves disadvantaged youth.
Since 2020, DVAS has sewed fabric face masks for front-line behavioral healthcare workers and foster families; hosted a recreation drive to collect sports, educational, and leisure activity equipment for youth to enjoy while they remained in quarantine; and led a holiday campaign to collect monetary contributions and holiday gifts.
“Tilly and Maya are heroes for our children,” said Devereux Florida Director of External Affairs Lindsey Phillips. “The two connected with us at a time when volunteers were needed for a specific project, but they felt an immediate connection to the work we do and a compelling desire to support children in our community who are not as fortunate. They have inspired other students to join their efforts on countless projects, and now, we are planning for their legacy to continue through DVAS. It is heartwarming for the children in our care to see this kind of support from the community.”
Tilly also noted that it “started as a way to support Devereux and give back to the community, but it has been such a rewarding experience that we hope to continue DVAS for years to come!”
Lindsey Phillips is Director of External Affairs at Devereux Florida.
Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit organizations providing services, insight, and leadership in the evolving field of behavioral healthcare. Founded in 1912 by special education pioneer Helena Devereux, the organization operates a comprehensive national network of clinical, therapeutic, educational, and employment programs and services that positively impact the lives of tens of thousands of children, adults – and their families – every year. Focused on clinical advances emerging from a new understanding of the brain, its unique approach combines evidence-based interventions with compassionate family engagement.
With more than 7,500 employees working in programs across the nation, Devereux is a recognized partner for families, schools, and communities, serving many of our country’s most vulnerable populations in the areas of autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities, specialty mental health, education, and child welfare. Programs are offered in hospital, residential, community, and school-based settings. They include assessments; interventions and support; transition and independent life services; family and professional training; research and innovation; and advocacy and public education. For more than a century, Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health has been guided by a simple and enduring mission: To change lives by unlocking and nurturing human potential for people living with emotional, behavioral, or cognitive differences. www.devereux.org.