Sam – Gala Mission Moment


With your support, we can help families like Sam’s

If you meet Sam, you are immediately drawn to his exuberant smile and friendly questions.

“He really has such joy and such love and he’s so happy,” Sam’s mom Denine said. His dad Ben added, “He walks in and lights up a room. He always leaves an impression.”

This is a big change from Sam’s childhood when explosive behavioral outbursts were more than even his own parents could handle. Things continued to get worse as Sam got older. He would leave home in the middle of the night, and police were called to find him. He was not happy, and his parents were struggling to keep him safe.

The hardest time was when the family made the difficult decision to have Sam move to a group home when he was just 10 years old. “I used to lay there at night thinking what is going to become of this child?” Denine said.

After the turbulent adolescent years, a turning point came when Sam’s family found Opportunity Partners-Karlins Center which specializes in adults with autism and other similar needs. Denine said she knew from the start that Opportunity Partners wanted to help Sam. “They were just really there for people,” she said. “I mean it’s really extraordinary.”

Life is very different for Sam now. He is happy at his group home, enjoys hanging out with his friends, going to movies and the mall, taking “selfies” on his cell phone, and taking enrichment classes and doing light packaging work at Karlins Center.

Sam’s parents are grateful to everyone who has supported their son over the years and are especially thankful for Opportunity Partners. “There were so many people who just never gave up,” Ben said. “It’s really changed his life … it’s changed everything for him.”

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