Darius Bigby founded Your Special Helper, a Dallas-based concierge and companion care provider. (Courtesy)
Your Special Helper offers support to three different categories of people in Dallas: aging and disabled adults, youth, and special-needs kids. (Courtesy)
Your Special Helper has already offered so much reprieve to aging and disabled adults, youths, and special-needs kids in and around Dallas-Fort Worth. (Courtesy)
Over 5 million adults (one in four) in Texas have a disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Daily tasks are difficult for these adults including walking or climbing stairs, hearing, seeing, dressing, or bathing. Even running errands alone, such as visiting a doctor’s office, is a struggle. Some might have memory issues. Noticing a void in the business of helping those with these disabilities, Darius Bigby founded Your Special Helper — a concierge and companion care provider in Dallas — this year.
The Inspiration Behind Your Special Helper
Bigby’s inspiration for Your Special Helper came from his experience with elderly care at a very early age. Growing up, he spent a lot of quality time with his grandmother, something that prepared him for the present task. He says that she “practically helped raise” him along with his mother.
In his hometown of Jena, Louisiana, Bigby began his career as a special education teacher. He also coached youth basketball, baseball, and football on the side. In January 2019, he received an offer from a local Parks and Recreation division to move out to the Lone Star State.
Within a short time of his visit to Dallas, Bigby noticed the immediate differences between the small neighborhoods he grew up in and the massive city he was in now. He would explain to his wife and daughters how much his heart ached after a busy workday and seeing the missed opportunities to better serve aging adults.
“I noticed that senior event participation was dwindling, simply because of immobility and other setbacks,” Bigby says.
He then, unexpectedly, lost his job. Little did he know, that this setback would lead to something bigger for him. His wife encouraged him to start a business similar to the services he was providing for his former employer. He saw it as a blessing in disguise. “My wife told me ‘we can turn this into everything that you have been doing for the last 10 years,'” Bigby says.
What Your Special Helper Does
Your Special Helper offers support to three different categories of people in Dallas: aging and disabled adults, youth, and special-needs kids.
The company provides concierge and companionship care to aging and disabled adults by running errands like grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions, and dry cleaning — as well as offering light housekeeping, home cleaning oversight, lawn, maintenance, and repair services. Adults in the programs can receive wellness checks, conversations, card games, and celebrations of special occasions, such as birthdays and anniversaries.
Your Special Helper does more than take clients to pick up medication or doctor’s appointments. They take them to partner recreation centers for fun and relaxation, including playing some of their favorite music from the past — to help them with their memory.
Because of Bigby’s previous special education roles, he knew there needed to be a component that would involve younger adults. While some might think aging adults and the youth are entirely different segments, both groups still want the same safe space to develop healthy relationships.
So they developed both in-person and virtual mentorship services for youth to help support the development of essential life skills to fulfill their highest potential.
Sometimes, younger males only need a male influence or just companionship in their lives, Bigby notes. He believes that a lot of young men need fellow male figures in their lives, especially when they get to the point where their moms are having a little trouble with them, and maybe it’s just something that a male-to-male mentorship model can help with.
The group also provides support services to special-needs kids. “It’s a lot of pressure having to raise special-needs kids,” he says. “So, I say that the point of adding that component to our business is to give the parents who have special-needs kids a break and some support.”
The support services could be sitting down and talking with special-needs kids, meeting them at a local park or at a local recreation center, or just having ice cream somewhere while their parents are away. They even have coaching (for baseball, basketball, or football) and life skills training.
His former role in special education taught Bigby how to be patient not only with regular children but with kids with disabilities. “If you’ve never worked with those types of kids before, you could be a little uneasy,” Darius explains. “A lot of special-needs kids just want to be loved.”
Within a short time of its inception, Your Special Helper has offered so much reprieve to aging and disabled adults, youths, and special-needs kids in and around Dallas-Fort Worth and helps reduce the number of underserved community members who need home and community support in the area through its wide range of services.
Bigby has been pleasantly overwhelmed by the sharp gain in momentum and wants to continue building out partnerships throughout the Dallas community. While first dealing with uncertainty in being a CEO, he’s gone from observing the issues that people with disabilities face to providing tangible solutions to helping them.
While there’s still much work ahead, Bigby is optimistic about what he can do and is ready to “bring the close-knit feel of a small town to the sprawling city of Dallas.”
Apart from hosting Trivia Tuesday and Seniorcise every Tuesday and Thursday, Your Special Helper will start organizing Parent Night Out for regular education students and children with special needs. The program will be held twice a month — on second Fridays and Saturdays, and on fourth Fridays and Saturdays. A Senior Talent Show is also slated for Labor Day weekend.