L.A. Goal Overview
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
Someone who had 3 hours of volunteer time could: Teach art, sewing, or ceramics to adults with developmental disabilities in our art studio.
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.
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.