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Devereux California Continues Tradition of Founder’s Day Celebration

with Miss Devereux from Philadelphia to Santa Barbara in 1945 continue the tradition of holding the Candle Light Service in honor of Founder's Day, Helena Devereux
Portrait of Helena Devereux

Residents who came on the train with Miss Devereux from Philadelphia to Santa Barbara in 1945 continue the tradition of holding the Candlelight Service in honor of Founder's Day, Helena Devereux's birthday, on Feb. 2.

Along with sharing stories and memories of "Miss D," as Helena Devereux was called, adult and elderly residents and staff will "Kindle the Light of Service, Truth, Love, Charity, Hope and Immortality," singing the same song that has been sung on this special day for the past 63 years. Mory Alvarez, Jesse Hunt and Rebecca Troon will sing and play for the group.

Miss Devereux began her career as a special-education teacher working with "slow learners" in the Philadelphia Public Schools. Her success with these special individuals drew the attention of parents from around the country who sought her help in educating their children with special needs.

In 1912, Miss Devereux took her first student into her home. Her focus on individualized treatment and positive approaches are still part of Devereux's philosophy of care today.

Miss Devereux and a small group of her students took a journey across the country by train and moved to Santa Barbara in 1945, where she established the West Coast branch of the Devereux Foundation, or "Devereux Ranch School," as it was called then.

Devereux Santa Barbara provides services to more than 90 adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities; emotional, behavioral disorders and mental health issues. There are two residential programs, the Adult Day and Life Enrichment programs, on the campus just west of Isla Vista. Devereux also provides Supported Living and Independent Living Services to individuals in their own homes and apartments in the communities of Santa Barbara, Goleta, Lompoc and Santa Maria.

Headquartered in Pennsylvania, Devereux is the largest nonprofit provider of behavioral health care in the country, operating 15 centers in 11 states.

 — Cassi Noel represents Devereux California.

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