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L.A. Goal

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Developmentally Disabled Centers, Disabilities, Job Training, Vocational Rehabilitation

Mission: L.A. GOAL's educational, vocational and recreational programs provide opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities to increase their independence and employability. Through its art and outreach activities, L.A. GOAL educates the community about the abilities of people with disabilities. Our vision is to create a more open society where people with developmental disabilities can experience full inclusion, including employment.

Results: 4 adults with developmental disabilities moved into more independent living situations. 3 are ready to work, pending job placement. We provided paid, part-time employment to 30. 7 new people were admitted into our programs. We added one day of Ceramics per month and expanded the Sewing Department to meet the demand for products. Installed our 5th art exhibition at the Skirball Cultural Center (Oct 2010 - Jan 2011), held our 20th Annual Art Show at the Koplin Del Rio Gallery in Culver City. Maintained the quality of our programs throughout 2009 - 2010; maintained our 2008 work training program expansion. 56 adults with developmental disabilities are employed, either at L.A. Goal or in the community. 2 became engaged to be married. We created an "Artists' Marketplace" at the 2010 Abilities Expo in Los Angeles - over 6,000 people attended. It was a special opportunity for people with developmental disabilities to be included with the rest of the disability community.

Target demographics: L.A. Goal provides services to over 100 adults with developmental disabilities in the County of Los Angeles and their families and/or caregivers, for a total of 350 people. The people we serve are called Members (rather than clients) as we are a community or family. The individuals served may have any number of developmental disabilities including Autism, Mental Retardation, Down Syndrome and neurological problems such as Epilepsy and Cerebral Palsy. 98% of our Members are low income and receive $450 - $850 per month from Social Security.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 100+ adults with developmental disabilities

Geographic areas served: Los Angeles County

Programs: L.A. Goal’s Independent Living Skills program has broadened and deepened over the years as a larger percentage of the Members have become employed and moved into more independent living situations. They need ongoing basic life skills education in addition to the more complicated issues of working and living independently, such as conflict resolution and safety in the community. Adults with developmental disabilities tend to age faster and have more age-related complications than the general population. Our Independent Living Skills program has many components that teach life skills, vocational skills, visual/performing arts, or provide paid, part-time employment. Building self-esteem and improving communication skills is incorporated into each component and activity that we do because without self-esteem and the ability to communicate, it is hard to make substantial progress toward independence. We provide a stable foundation from which the Members feel secure enough to take the risks they need to take to create a life that they feel is satisfying to them. This is discussed in Individual Program Planning meetings with each Member’s family, caregiver, and Regional Center staff, where Members can set goals for the year. Independent Living Skills (ILS) programs are offered 50 weeks per year. Each Member is continuously assessed for their progress and to assure that they are, at a minimum, maintaining their current level of independence, and, whenever possible, still growing, maturing and learning. Members have the opportunity to evaluate all our programs at monthly Members’ Meetings. Members’ Representatives serve on the L.A. Goal Board so they can make recommendations to the Executive Director and the Board. They are also encouraged to recommend new programs and to plan activities. Every Member has the opportunity to participate in the basic life skills programs and social activities. (A detailed list of our programs is enclosed.) Listed below are the components of the ILS program, which are skill and knowledge based: ۰ Basic Life Skills Training – teaches personal grooming, house cleaning, cooking, and education in household hazards, earthquake preparedness and fire prevention. Monthly basic life skills seminars address one issue intensely, such as proper attendance and attitudes for work, or doing laundry, grooming skills, etc. ۰ Personal Safety Education – teaches Members how to rely on their “warning bells” to stay safe in public situations, enhances conflict resolution skills, teaches verbal self-defense. ۰ Drama and Music – written drama workshops, performance workshops, Improv, music groups. Drama and Music culminate in at least one public performance every year. Gives the opportunity to increase self-esteem and communication skills while performing. ۰ Health and Fitness – health education, “Healthy Relationships” seminars, Tai Chi, STD and abuse prevention. ۰ I Wanna Work – provides comprehensive Office Work Training (43 Members) and Building Custodial Maintenance paid, part-time employment (5 Members hired, 2 serving an apprenticeship). ۰ Inside Out Productions – paid, part-time employment to 21 artists with developmental disabilities; 5 are serving an apprenticeship pending employment. Saturday Art Classes are offered to an additional 29 Members. ۰ Continuing Adult Education Classes – functional academics, reading, writing, math, shopping, telling time, reading calendars, and language skills. ۰ Current Events – classes are held twice per month. In addition to the above, there are several pieces that support quality of life issues. These allow the Members to break through problems of self image and gain acceptance while being supported, guided and mentored. These components are aimed at helping Members improve their personal control, self esteem and behavior: ۰ Members’ Meetings – occur monthly to plan social and fundraising activities, evaluate programs, and discuss current events or legislative issues that affect their lives. ۰ Member’s Governing Board – a formal Board that teaches leadership skills, self-advocacy and responsibility (6 elected Members serve one-year terms). ۰ GOALINE – a bi-monthly newsletter, written by and for our Members. ۰ HELPLINE – a 24-hour emergency cell phone help line staffed by parent volunteers. ۰ Counseling Programs: Rap Groups – monthly group rap sessions held in the evenings; and Individual and Couples Counseling – short term and/or ongoing counseling. We offer Loss/Grief Groups twice a month. ۰ Advocacy: medical, dental, psychological, and Regional Center advocacy for services and referrals as needed. ۰ Partners in Independence – in-home monitoring of Members living independently. We monitor and help Members move into more independent living situations and help them deal with family emergencies. ۰ Music Therapy – clinical therapy that utilizes music and instruments to enhance fine/gross motor skills, self-esteem, self-expression and self-awareness. ۰ Poetry – Members learn to write their own poetry to express their feelings and understand some concepts such as metaphors. ۰ Special Programs and Social Activities – social and recreational opportunities. These include Bowl-A-Thons, an annual summer picnic, parties and cultural trips. ۰ T.A.D.A.A. – our Summer Teen Volunteer program that provides an opportunity for teens and adults with developmental disabilities to learn from each other while working together (17 teenagers from 10 high schools volunteered 756 hours so far in 2010). Family members usually become the primary caregivers, which impacts the entire family. To address their needs, we also provide programs and services to families and/or caregivers: Family/Caregiver Counseling – counseling for families and caregivers; and Family/ Caregiver Support – educational seminars, advocacy, and referrals.

Community Stories

13 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A wonderful group of dedicated people and professionals providing a loving, real life community, serving individuals with disabilities.This particular charity provides opportunities for these people to have a sense of purpose and value so that their experience of life is as loving and full as possible.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Another fabulous Art Show. All the artists were there and open to speak to us about their work. LA Goal continues to bring value to our community by showcasing the artistic talents of adults with developmental disabilities. The sense of community among members was evident. LA Goal offers a great model to other communities for how to respect and advance the lives of individuals with developmental challenges.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

LA Goal provides employment for Adults with mental challenges in a supportive environment. They do a fabulous job. They are based in Culver City, CA. Their artists have an annual show to sell their artwork. It is a wonderful event. They sell household items and stationary that feature their artwork. Donations are well spent. I recommend this organization and give it five stars.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

L. A. Goal provides ability, love, community, and support for people with disability. They are as close as a family. Their programs include art, sewing, music, drama, cooking, sports among many others. L.A. Goal has helped my daughter achieve higher independence and has provided her with community, purpose, support, and structure. She is fortunate indeed to be a member for over fifteen years. The organization is steadfast in its devotion to clients.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

L.A. Goal is an organization that serves developmentally disabled adults. It is a most amazing place, where strangers are welcomed and transformed into family and community. The culture of L.A.Goal is patience, ability, courage, and strength. It has a strong commitment to creativity, support, and basic goals of improving lives. It is the best of the human spirit.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I'm very proud of LA Goal. This year it was awarded the Joan Palevsky Award for Outstanding Nonprofits in the Arts by the prestigious California Community Foundation as part of its Unsung Heroes Award program.

Then LA Goal was chosen by the Mayor and City Council of Los Angeles to make a presentation to them for the City's Nonprofit Day in LA celebration.

Through many trials and tribulations, the staff and volunteers at LA Goal have brought much joy and learning to LA Goal's developmentally disabled members, showing them they have wonderful abilities as well.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son has autism and has been a member of LA Goal for 17 years. It provides him with both social activities and work training. He's in the music program, the drama program, the art program and takes cooking classes there. He's taught office skills through the work program. Most of all, he can socialize with other people in a friendly and safe environment. It's a wonderful place.

Board Member

Rating: 4

I became aware of this community through my interest in Outsider Art. As I got more involved, I came to understand that this microcosm of a cooperative and accommodating community is what the world at large needs more of. Daily lessons to me abound!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a professional in the mental health field, and as a parent of a daughter with cognitive deficits, I have to say, there is no organization better poised to serve people with developmental disabilities. Besides offering wonderful activities and services, the very most important thing L.A. GOAL does is to serve as a wonderful, warm and supportive family. When my daughter was falling apart over relationship problems, GOAL staff scheduled special meetings to offer her kind, educative support that helped her move on. When a member's parents died last year, staff and members stepped in with food and supplies personally brought to his house, hospital visits, support for funeral arrangements, and finding him new appropriate housing (including helping him get furniture and moving). This is not just an organization, it is an incredible support service, enabling us and others to manage what sometimes feel unmanagable.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with LA Goal for over 20 years. Each time I help out I have had a tremendously rewarding experience with the adult members of LA Goal who have developmental disabilities.

Board Member

Rating: 5

My son is a long time member of L.A. Goal. He is Autistic. At our program he has developed many friendships and social skills. He loves the Art, cooking, Tai Chi, Drama and music programs and they have been a great benefit to him. The members of L.A. Goal elect their own officers, plan many of their activities. Two of the members are elected to represent all the others at our board meetings where they give a report concerning their upcoming activities. A part of L.A. Goal not mentioned is its 24/7 emergency help line . Each member has a card with the telephone number to call if they are having a problem. I carry the cell phone for a week every 5 weeks and then it is passed on to another help line member along with a information book that has each member's name, who to call in an emergency, their medical problem, and medications. It certainly comes in handy. I don't think there is a better thought out program than what we have at L.A. Goal.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was first introduced to L.A. Goal by one of its Members who has multiple disabilities. She was--and still is--fearless, articulate and persuasive. She intercepted me at a folk art show and asked if I knew about the book that the Members of L.A. Goal wrote and illustrated: Disabled Fables [available on Amazon]. I did not so she proceeded to tell me all about the making of the book and the organization's wonderful programs that help the Members with vocational training; life skills; art and performance programs; and personal development. I left with the latest newsletter that itemized their 'wish list.' Sandwiched between "art supplies" and "printer paper" was the request for "marketing." Since that is my area of expertise, I offered my help to the organization. After volunteering in this capacity, four years ago I was asked to join the Board, where I still serve. To witness firsthand how supportive the organization is to its Members is to realize how closely connected we all are. I am reminded of this quote every time I am at L.A. Goal: "We walk in different shoes but we tread on common ground."