THREE weeks ago, a post on social media about an autistic woman pulled at the heartstrings of a New Jersey native and led him to travel all the way to TT to lend a helping hand.
Immediately after reading the post about Maria Yorke and her family, Michael Neverson of NJ, USA, found himself on a plane and in less than 24 hours, he was in Trinidad at the Yorke’s D’Abadie, Arima family home bearing gifts.
Neverson felt he had to help the family because he could not believe what he saw on social media.
Marcia Yorke and her two children Maria and Jeavon live at Mahabir Lane, D’Abadie, in a two-room galvanise structure. Maria, 26, is autistic and needs help because her mother Marcia can no longer afford to care for her.
Marcia said she is not working and struggles to get by.
“I cannot buy the things Maria needs and I honestly try by making local products to sell but I still can’t go out and sell them because I have no one to stay with Maria. Jeavon helps with his little kitchen garden. My mom used to help but she died last year and my father is very sick so I am all alone in this one. My son tries but he is at school.” The social media post was uploaded by Dharia Nelson-Seales, Yorke’s former neighbour on Mahabir Lane. Nelson-Seales said she too was taken aback when she heard about the plight of the Yorke family and decided to do something about it.
“I videotaped their living conditions and posted it asking for help and it worked. Neverson got in touch with me and asked how he could help.
“Maria needs more than clothes, food and a comfortable place to sleep. She needs to see a doctor about her health. She has not seen a doctor since she was nine-years-old. This is unheard of,” said Nelson-Seales.
“I know there are ways to help people in Maria’s condition and I am working feverishly on putting things in place.”
Since Neverson’s visit to the Yorkes, the Lions Club of D’Abadie delivered items to make Maria more comfortable and Xtra Foods also chipped in with several hampers.
Nelson-Seales said the next step is to build a proper house for the family – the land they live on is family-owned – and make sure Maria is registered in the system. She also said she keeps Neverson updated on what’s taking place with the Yorke family.