Brett Hess' Treasure House Story: A Flawless Transition Despite Pandemic

Brett Hess, Treasure House Resident

At 24-years-old, moving to a new state where you do not have any family, friends or job prospects is a daunting undertaking. Add having a disability like autism to the mix, and you can imagine how challenging that adventure becomes. This anecdote is exactly what Treasure House resident Brett Hess did in search for a higher quality of life.

In early 2020, Brett completed a short-term, live-in program in California before moving back home with his parents. “He and his family knew that he wasn’t meant to live at home – that he was capable of being independent and that being on his own was what he wanted,” said his life coach Michelle VanderPloeg. “Brett wanted to move to Treasure House in March, but then COVID-19 was abruptly declared a pandemic and he was not able to move until May. There was a steep learning curve ahead because the comforts of having family around to help him transition were not an option due to the health crisis.

Despite the circumstances, Brett has done an excellent job at transitioning to his new forever-home. “I already got a job at Amazon!” said Brett. He joins other residents working in the fulfillment center in September 2020. With a regular routine in place, he is thriving at managing his own space and making friends as the ‘life of the party’ – signs outside his room say “Welcome to Brett’s Party Room’ and  ‘Common Area #3’ because other residents flock to hang out with his charismatic personality. 

Brett calls his room 'Common Area 3'

“He is always listening to music, loves spending time getting to know other residents, and if we do not have any action going on, he welcomes everyone to join in on an activity the he planned,’ said Michelle. “He’s funny and has a really easy manner about him.” 

Brett loves sharing about his extensive record collection and even has a few of his favorite albums framed.

After three months of Brett building a life at Treasure House, his parents were happy to be able to visit him. “Bob and I are thrilled to see Brett so confident and so happy, living each day with a sense of belonging in the Treasure House community,” said Brett’s mother, Andrea. “He is working hard to learn and to manage a new level of independence, and we are so proud of him. We appreciate his life coach who works closely with him to support his goals and the community advisors available at every turn. Treasure House was absolutely the right choice for Brett to live a life with purpose and the perfect balance of independence and support.”

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