By Cindy Adams


Shawn Phillips has an incredibly devoted family. He adores his sisters and his mom, Sandra, who is his full-time caregiver. To know Shawn is to know he is fond of everyone he meets. His first question is always, "What’s your name?"

Shawn and Sandra have included enCircle in their family for several years.

"We first met and fell in love with enCircle before the pandemic closed everything," Sandra explained. "After the pandemic started to subside, we had other agencies contact us wanting to enroll Shawn, but we held out for enCircle because that’s where we wanted to be."

Sandra likes enCircle’s philosophy.

"You can tell when people genuinely care. EnCircle has been great for both of us," Sandra said. "Like most everyone, we need a little break from each other. Shawn wants to see his friends, and I have appointments where it’s not always feasible to take Shawn. They are flexible and make all this possible."

Sandra also likes enCircle’s communication.

"Communication is so important to me," she said. "It’s always timely, and when issues arise, they take the time necessary to work through them with us."

Sandra described one episode in which Shawn was not at his best on a shopping trip to the mall. They all worked together seamlessly to help him make better choices next time.

"Do you like going to enCircle?" Sandra asked Shawn. "Yes," he definitively said. "Do you understand your actions have to change?" she asked him — "yes," he reiterated — and they did!

Now, they have a Dr. Pepper magnetic strip in the car. When Shawn has good days at the day support program, he adds a Dr. Pepper magnet to the strip. If it’s a good week, he gets Dr. Pepper and fries. It’s usually a good week!

"I’ve always felt a sense of calmness at enCircle that I haven’t at other places," Sandra said. "Shawn thrives on that, and I don’t have to worry. I know he is safe and cared for, even when he has 'off' days."

Sandra and Shawn have built a special life together. Still, she is his mom, and she recognizes that the voices of others contribute to his overall well-being and growth. When it comes to independence, there are some lessons that mom is happy to let others teach him. Laundry, for example. Shawn has learned the steps to take to wash his jacket and his hat at enCircle.

"And he is not eager to take those instructions from his mom," Sandra said. "Support like this is so critical for those who need it. Some people may not even think about this kind of service, but for those of us who lean on it, it is a game-changer. EnCircle has always been a constant in our lives, a rock that I could count on."

Just like family.