A letter from Chuck Fyles, CDS Monarch family member and CDS Wolf Foundation Board Member:
When my parents envisioned a better life for my younger brother, Carl, CDS Monarch was there. And more than 20 years later, CDS is still here!
I can recall graduating from college. The only choice I was faced with was deciding what I wanted to do next. Mom and Dad, on the other hand, were faced with a different choice.
Born in 1963, Carl was diagnosed with autism at a very early age. In the 1960s, no one knew what autism was—it’s causes, effects, nor treatment options. Carl reached an age where my parents realized they were unable to care for him and thoroughly address his needs. Mom and Dad were selfless. For them, it was about waiting until the right time, and the right situation—before deciding they would introduce him to residential life. Choosing to move Carl into CDS' Macedon home was their way of thinking ahead in terms of what was best for Carl, not necessarily what was best for them. Once Carl took residence there, Mom and Dad quickly settled into the routine of staying involved. Mom created weekly snack packs to take to Carl and spent time training the Direct Support staff during her visits.
After Mom and Dad passed, I stepped in to assist with caring for Carl. I knew that in order to ensure a good future for him, I would have to get and stay involved. In keeping with Mom's tradition, my monthly visits with Carl consist of bringing him snack packs and listening to The Beatles, Carl’s favorite band. I later joined and served as an active CDS Board member for two years, ending in 2002.
At one time, my wife and I considered relocating to the South post-retirement. Those plans have since changed, as have Carl's needs. Living with autism, Carl experiences highs and lows. During high moments, he’s calm, receptive and verbal. People enjoy his company! During low moments, he displays extreme self-destructive behavior. But the CDS staff are always there to help us get through those low moments. They have never made me feel like I was alone caring for him. On one occasion, Carl had to be hospitalized. Staff from his residence committed to caring for and engaging with him around the clock during his stay. This kind of commitment is a reflection of the dedication provided to the families that CDS assists. More importantly, it is a reflection of who they are and what they do.
As a family member, I know first-hand the importance of engaging with staff regularly, attending ISP reviews and functions at the house. This kind of partnership requires commitment and support from everyone involved. Since becoming a CDS Wolf Foundation Board Member two years ago, I see first-hand the challenges and changes that the organization experiences and the effects they have on Carl and the hundreds of families served. Funding and fundraising challenges are just as important as changes to the services they provide. CDS Monarch offers a comprehensive program—from transportation to residential to day services—it was and is right for Carl’s needs, and it does so much more than address autism. The whole spectrum of his care is managed by CDS—not just the care that he receives now, but in the future as well. When my parents were searching for a program that they considered to be “the right fit” for Carl, CDS was the agency that not only had knowledge of autism, but also demonstrated a willingness to invest in and care for people with autism and meet their needs. That is what makes CDS stand out from the rest!
Carl’s needs aren’t much different than your family members’ needs. That is why your participation is just as important as mine. Involvement with CDS enables people like you and me to determine what is best for our loved ones. I encourage you to engage with CDS through the giving of your time, talent and treasure.
Time: For many, it will always present challenges. Figure out your availability and make volunteer opportunities work for you.
Talent: Share a special skill that you have with the people we support, participate in one of CDS' annual fundraisers or be a coach for our Special Olympics team. The possibilities are endless!
Treasure: Your financial support will help make an impact on the lives of every individual we serve.
Reach out then show up! I’m counting on YOU, and CDS is too!
Click on the video to hear a bit more about what CDS means to me and my brother Carl:
Thank you for your support,
CDS Wolf Foundation Board Member