Families find strength and support in each other.
Taylor, Greg, and Phi are in different stages of their lives, but they all share one thing in common: they belong to a close-knit community at the Advocates South Coastal Family Support Center. They also all have developmental disabilities, which makes many social situations challenging and sometimes intimidating – for them and their families.
But young Taylor and his mom, Sara, have been participating in programs offered by South Coastal for several years, attending events like the annual holiday crafts open house and other recreational activities because it makes them feel comfortable and creates a sense of belonging. “I don’t feel like I have to explain him here,” says Sara. “It’s good to meet other parents and hear what they’re going through. These events are good for him and they lower my stress.”
Greg, a Weymouth resident in his 30s, has also long participated in South Coastal activities such as bowling, field trips, and dances. “It’s been a great way for [Greg] to socialize and be with others with similar abilities,” says his mother, Pauline, noting that for her son, socializing can be particularly challenging. South Coastal also provides a bridge to connect Pauline and her husband Don to a variety of services they need for Greg.
In addition to social and recreational programming, South Coastal provides services such as public benefits assistance, information referral, educational advocacy support, and individual and group mentoring for life skills, independence, and wellness.
South Coastal is family-driven in every aspect of its design and services. “We view working with families as a partnership,” says Jeff Keilson, senior vice president for Advocates. “This is the heart and soul of what we can do to support families.”
When Phi was transitioning from school-based to adult services, his mother, Ha, turned to South Coastal to help her navigate the overwhelming amount of paperwork for benefits, social security income, and more. “I didn’t know where to start,” says Ha. “Alicia (Director of South Coastal Family Support Center) helped me go through the process step by step.”
Alicia says the families themselves serve as a source of inspiration for South Coastal staff. “To witness firsthand a family’s strength, commitment to one another, perseverance, and unconditional love and understanding inspires us to strive higher and continually improve upon what we do as a family support center.”