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The Story Behind Wayward

Wayward was born to serve as a place many of us wish we had when we were going through crisis in our lifetime. The “Wayward” part comes from the way our work allows for adaptability and accessibility of our support and services for families experiencing crisis or other challenges in a way that hasn't yet been normalized in our communities by current systems of care. 

Our programs are designed to offer community and support alongside expressive art opportunities for those seeking to use the arts as a medium for communication or personal development.

Each of our stories became the literal bricks that built this place. My brother's story, my husbands story, my kid's stories, my story and that of everyone else who makes The Wayward Society what it is today. 

When it comes to people with disabilities, assistance isn't always there or readily available. Outside of staff shortages in many industries limiting available resources, there can also be a lot of "red tape", a lot of waiting and even denial or overall limitation of services at the end of it all.

Through my career in crisis/emergency response, specialty healthcare and public education, combined with my personal background I compassionately understand first-hand many of the struggles that families can face when caring for members with disabilities, illnesses and pre/undiagnosed conditions. As a sibling caregiver and mom of medically complex kids I understand the effects that it has on caregivers and one's overall support system.


They include things like financial strains, personal isolation, strained/ non-existent support systems, socioeconomic issues, language barriers, fears or intimidation of receiving services, and the struggles within the home such as untreated mental illness in caregivers, burnout, child abuse, drug or alcohol abuse, and domestic violence but seriously the list goes on.


By breaking some of these barriers, implementing preventative practices as daily actions and working together with schools, healthcare providers, community organizations and caregivers we can fill many of these gaps and keep our families safer and healthier and empowered throughout their lives.




                                  -Elly Van Mill

                               Founder and CEO                                                  The Wayward Society 

                                     Est. 2021

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