You don’t always know you have a gift. People said Wilson was special for solving a Rubik’s cube in under a minute. He just thought he was good at puzzles. People said he had amazing confidence on the piano for a five-year-old. He just thought music was fun. His experience at Westbrook Preparatory School taught him that people can have many gifts-and that discovering them within yourself can change every aspect of your life.
Before attending Westbrook, life was different for Wilson at school, where he felt lost, misunderstood, uninterested, and socially out of place. He was down on his luck, longing for focus, friendships, fun, and rediscovering his confidence playing the piano. At Westbrook, Wilson formed new friendships and rediscovered his strength and confidence to excel in both the academic and social worlds.
The nurturing environment at Westbrook continues to drive momentous goals for Wilson – from helping him thrive in school, to preparing him for a successful future career. Wilson landed a position as an IT intern, enabling him to continue following his passion for technology.
Today, he is playing the piano with full confidence, challenging himself with pieces of Chopin and Wagner. He excels in his classes, loves taking part in sports such as the student-staff football competition, and has rediscovered an interest in exciting and eye-opening subjects including computers, cooking, and chess.
“Thanks to SCO Family of Services and Westbrook Preparatory School for being part of my success story,” said Wilson.
Christina and Johnny Storey were already foster parents when they decided to become Family Care providers over 20 years ago. It seemed like the right fit for the Storey family, which included daughter Sichole, as well as Chris and his brother Lamont (ages 2 and 3 at the time), who had been welcomed into the family through foster care.
Chris was diagnosed with Intellectual Disability and Cerebral Palsy as a child, and was never expected to walk. But, inspired by his “never quit” attitude, the Storeys supported his drive to defy expectations, adapting their home to help him move around independently and staying by his side through numerous surgeries.
Chris, now 26, still lives with the Storeys and continues to dream big. He works as an assistant to the youth director at the church where Mr. Storey serves as Reverend.
Over the years, the Storey Family Care home continued to grow. Russell was already an adult when he came to the Storeys from a group home. The Storeys knew it was the “right fit” and welcomed Russell into their family. Today, Christina works with Russell, teaching him skills such as banking, food shopping and using transportation.
Frank, 26, arrived at the Storey Family Care home more than 10 years ago. Frank has autism and cannot speak, but is able to communicate nonverbally. Christina attended a basic American Sign Language course at Suffolk Community College to help Frank “fit right in.”
When Mathew’s Family Care provider passed away suddenly 8 years ago, the Storeys once again opened their hearts and home. Matthew, 46, has Down syndrome and is the “politician” of the family – mediating between everyone. Mathew has a “mental calendar” Christina says smiling, and “keeps track of all the family’s activities.
Sydney, 38, came to the Storeys for emergency respite. At first Sydney was confused and unsure about the arrangement, but with the love and support of the extended Storey family, he too thrived in this home.
“We do this for the love in our hearts for them. We’ve seen how much progress they’ve made with care and love,” says Christina. “This is family. A group that loves, cares for and protects one another.”
In addition to providing a therapeutic home environment for these individuals, Christina Storey also serves as President of the Family Care Providers Association for Long Island.
The Storeys are truly an extraordinary family. But so are countless other Family Care families who provide loving homes to people with developmental disabilities every day.