A new chapter

Delores Fly walks slowly, her zebra print flats making a soft, shuffling sound as she heads back to the activity room. She spends two days a week at Active Day Franks adult center and is looking forward to her retirement. It’s another big step in her journey, which also includes moving to a new team.

For years, Fly was on the Hamilton County DD Services’ Multi-System Team, a group of service and support administrators who work with people who have multiple complex needs and are involved with the criminal justice system. In the past five years, she went from 16 arrests to zero and also hasn’t had a major unusual incident (MUI) in three years. She moved to the Adult Waiver Team in April. 

Fly, 66, grew up near Dayton but doesn’t want to talk about her childhood. “It was bad,” is all she offers before looking down at her hands. 

“Delores had a very traumatic upbringing, but she’s one of the most resilient folks that I have ever met,” said David Long, an HCDDS behavior support specialist who also was her SSA for four years. 

Her early trauma later led issues with alcohol, homelessness, and frequent run-ins with law enforcement. “It was hard,” Fly said, “and it didn’t feel good.” 

With support from her team, she was eventually able to overcome her triggers, said Amanda Shaw, SSA team lead for the Multi-Systems Team. 

She now has her own apartment and continues to do well on her new SSA team. “Coming from her history of trauma and being passed from place to place, she finally landed with Franks and Community Supports,” Long said. “They see her for who she is and not what she does. The consistency and stability and knowing people truly care about her is the key to her success.”

When not attending Franks, she enjoys volunteering in hospitality at the Vineyard Church and attending the Healing Center. Fly also focuses on fashion and loves getting her hair and nails done. 

“She’s been through a lot of things and is still improving her life, and we’re really proud of her,” Shaw said.

Delores’s story originally appeared on our website on December 2, 2018. See more stories like this here.