Nobody was sure what to expect when Trey Hope returned to Adult Day Support in 2022, after suffering abuse and neglect during the pandemic. “When the van driver opened the door, and I saw him grinning from ear to ear, that just warmed my heart,” says Supervisor, Josh Rubino.
Trey has cerebral palsy and autism. On weekdays, you can find him rolling down the hallways of SOAR365 with his beloved Spiderman plush toy. “He keeps it in his lap every day, like a security blanket for him,” Josh explains.
Comfort in Hard Times
2020 was a difficult year for Trey, beginning when his mother passed away in January. She was both his caregiver and his best friend.
“She loved him. She was so protective of him,” says his cousin, JaWanda Hope. “The day she passed away, he still had his backpack on ready to go to day support. It was the one thing that brightened his smile.”
Trey soon moved in with other family members. But when Adult Day Support was forced to close due to COVID-19, his new living situation took a dangerous turn. Trey was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.
“It just broke my heart. It’s unexplainable,” says JaWanda. “He’s the sunshine of everybody’s life he’s ever been involved in.”
In the first months after he was hospitalized, JaWanda noticed that Trey seemed fearful of other people. This was a huge change from Trey’s sunny, friendly personality. “He was the opposite. He didn’t feel he could trust individuals,” she explains.
She became his co-guardian and promised to help him find a safer home, one where this would never happen again. With time and loving care, she sees her cousin’s light glowing brightly again.
Trey’s Strengths Shine
Before his injuries, Trey used orthotics, but he was able to walk and shower independently, JaWanda explains. He was athletic, and enjoyed sports like golfing, bowling and swimming. Trey attended school and went on trips to the movies, beach or mountains. “His parents kept him active. He even wrestled and played video games with his siblings,” she says.
Josh isn’t surprised. Although Trey now uses a wheelchair and a feeding tube, Josh has seen how strong Trey is. And how much he enjoys sports. “We had an obstacle course outside, and we had a little bucket and stress ball basketballs. He was over there the whole time, just shooting it,” Josh says. “Every time we do exercises inside, he’s clapping along, dancing, pushing himself everywhere. He’ll start flying. He’s fast!”
Raised in a military family, Trey was always quick to help with chores like getting the mail, gardening and taking out the trash, says JaWanda. “He’s very gentle, very kind-hearted. If he can do anything for you, he’ll do it,” she adds.
Trey’s conscientious nature hasn’t gone unnoticed at SOAR365. “I’ll be pushing him around, and there will be a little piece of paper on the ground. He’ll go out of his way to pick it up and go to the trash can to drop it in,” says Josh. He also notes that Trey will often hold out his hand to female staff members. If they give him their hand in return, he’ll kiss it. “He’s an angel,” Josh says.
SOAR365 Lends a Helping Hand
Once scared and anxious around new people, Trey will now happily greet you with a smile, a hug or a fist bump.
“We haven’t had a single issue. He has aggression protocols for when he gets upset. With a lot of nonverbal individuals, it’s tough for them to express themselves sometimes,” Josh explains. “But with Trey, I’ve never seen him unhappy one time, at least at SOAR365. It is amazing to see.”
Trey’s group home director has praised SOAR365’s ability to meet his needs. Staff members communicate frequently to make sure he has the supplies he needs, she says, including plenty of food of the right consistency. She also trusts SOAR365 to provide physical care, such as safe, two-person assistance when transferring Trey to and from his wheelchair.
“Since he’s been going to SOAR365, his fine motor skills have gotten much better,” she notes. “He feels more comfortable using scissors.” Josh agrees, adding that Trey loves creating art and crafts at SOAR365 or exploring colors and objects in the sensory room.
Happier Days Ahead for Trey
“He has been through a lot of trauma, but he still has a delightful spirit,” notes the director of Trey’s group home. “He’s definitely the life of the house. He keeps everybody laughing.” Trey loves to play little jokes on his friends and finds their antics equally funny.
“I’ve never heard Trey say a word, but he’ll do a belly laugh. He’ll start to chuckle. And that just makes my day,” says Josh.
JaWanda credits SOAR365 for playing a huge role in Trey’s recovery. “[SOAR365] actually helped to support him through this trauma, to heal him,” she says. She believes the sense of familiarity and routine was very comforting for him.
Now, Trey waits excitedly each weekday for the van to arrive, so he can see his favorite staff members and friends. “You guys are his family,” she says.
To learn more about Adult Day Support and our other programs for children and adults with disabilities, please visit soar365.org/find-support.
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