By Sandra Nesbit
Thank You, Direct Support Professionals Sign

This time of year, we all are provided with an opportunity to think about what we are grateful for, and for me this is easy. I’m grateful for my health, my son, my family, my work, and Mainstay Life Services.

My son Parriz is supported by Mainstay, and, as a result, so am I. I have a demanding and rewarding full time job, and Mainstay makes it possible for me to give my best to my work, I would not be able to work without their support. In addition, I also work for Mainstay (and Parriz) as his life sharing partner. Parriz has a team of Brian, Gavin, Nora, Lisa, Samantha, Barbara, Ned, and dozens more from Mainstay! His team listens to us, treats us with respect, and believes in us as a family.

Parriz and me on our recent trip.

We have been with Mainstay for more than five years; Parriz and I feel “listened to.” When we have challenges, we have never heard, “Oh, sorry, we can’t help you with that.” When we have challenges, the team at Mainstay responds with, “Let’s run this by the team, give us a couple of days to come back to you with some ideas.” I know the Mainstay team can’t fix everything, but I don’t feel alone on this journey, because Mainstay is right there with Parriz and me, every step of the way.

Recently Parriz and I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Europe. Brian is Parriz’s support person, but more like family, so we all went as a group. Seeing the two of them together always reinforces my gratitude for finding Mainstay. Parriz and Brian are so good for one another, they are friends-family! Yes, Brian works for Parriz, but you’d never know it to see them together and the way Brian encourages him, and he is patient with him you would think they are related. Brian and Parriz go to the gym together, they go bowling together. In other words, they do things friends do together, but he takes care of Parriz like family. Brian is special and he is there for us.

Brian and Parriz dressed to the nines!

A moment that stood out from our trip was the night we all dressed up in formal attire for dinner. Parriz looked incredible and at one point Brian straightened out Parriz’s tux. That moment crystallized the relationship for me – Brian is like a big brother or uncle, there is mutual love and caring there, they are good for each other. They even buy matching outfits and twin sometimes! It’s beautiful, and Mainstay helped to make this happen.

I give credit to Mainstay for my son’s quality of life, and Parriz being able to work. Because without our team at Mainstay, he wouldn’t have a job. His team stepped up and advocated for him so he can be successful at work, they found ways to help train him to do his job and keep him on task.

Parriz loves fashion and dressing well. He’s living his dream working at Track 23 in Monroeville Mall. Mainstay bridged the community support of competitive employment and creative inclusionary training so that Parriz could maintain his job. Mainstay involvement encouraged the relations Parriz has with the store staff, they also recently included Parriz in a commercial shoot!

As we approach the holiday season, I am grateful for so much. For both Parriz and I, Mainstay Life Services and Brian are on the top of our gratitude list!

On behalf of my son and I, we wish you and yours joy, health, and gratitude.

Parriz on a commercial shoot at Track 23.