This week, Amelia Williams celebrates thirty years of service to Rauch. Amelia, our Director of Children's Services, began her tenure at Rauch as a Developmental Therapist.
Amelia was born in Carbondale, Illinois, the fifth of six children. Her father was a postal worker and her mother was a photographer and developer for the Southern Illinoisan until the chemicals in the darkroom started to cause scarring on her lungs.
Amelia always knew that she wanted to work with troubled children, but did not have clear direction on exactly how until her cousin Deon was born. She would babysit for Deon and his brother, and was always puzzled by Deon’s odd behavior. He would flap his hands, make guttural sounds but not talk, and seemed to be most happy when he was under the bed.
One day, Amelia babysat for her uncle and aunt, but they took Deon with them. They went to St. Louis for the entire day, and it was very late when they returned. It was clear that something significant had happened, but Amelia also knew knew not to ask. She later learned that Deon had gone for testing and was diagnosed with Autism.
Amelia didn't have a concept of what Autism was, and her worst fear was that it was a terminal illness. The fear was later abated as she learned more about the diagnosis. Amelia's heart’s desire was to help Deon so that her aunt and uncle would be happy again. She made up her mind that she would learn how to help children with disabilities and their families.
Deon is now grown, lives in Texas, and works at Walmart. Deon lives along with some support from programs similar to those offered by Rauch. As a part of his job, Deon is to keep the windows clean. It is said that he takes such pride in his window washing responsibilities that he will try to wash the windows in the dead of winter with them often freezing before he can get them cleaned.
Amelia has worked with many "Deon’s" over the past 30 years as an employee with Rauch. We're so grateful to have her heart, skills, and hard work as a driving force in our programming. Thank you for all you do, Amelia!