St. Madeleine Sophie's Center, Inc. Overview
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2119 East Madison Avenue
SMSC’s art program began in the 1970s when it started in one classroom with just a few students on the main campus. Today, the art program takes place at two sites: Sophie’s Gallery & Gift Shop, a 4,400 sq. ft. storefront that opened in Downtown El Cajon in 1999, and Sophie’s Gallery NTC that opened in 2009 and offers exhibition space for regional artists as well as SMSC students. A satellite gallery and gift shop, called Sophie’s Too, is located on SMSC’s main campus. At Sophie’s Gallery in Downtown El Cajon, 150 to 200 of the 377+ adult students who are enrolled at SMSC attend the program every week. Our students learn a variety of media, such as print-making, jewelry-making, and painting; they also exhibit their work locally, regionally and nationally. Sophie’s was the first art program of its kind in San Diego County; all of the instructors are professional artists. In addition, the general public attends our Open Studio classes where they learn side-by-side with our students.
The mission of St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center (SMSC) is to empower adults with developmental disabilities to discover, experience and realize their full potential as members of the greater community. SMSC is open to all, and religious instruction is neither provided nor required. Founded in 1966, SMSC is a licensed, vocational day training center that annually serves 377+ adults with developmental disabilities (i.e. autism, Down syndrome, epilepsy, cerebral palsy) who represent a full spectrum of socio-economic, religious, ethnic, racial and cultural backgrounds. Over 95% of SMSC students earn a paycheck. Most are in our paid vocational training programs to develop career awareness, learn job skills, and increase their independence. SMSC anticipates having an enrollment of 400 students by year-end 2010.
At SMSC, adult students learn and grow, earn modest income and enjoy friendships and social activities throughout their lifetimes – from recent high school graduate to senior citizen (age 22 to 70+). SMSC offers a life-long program; many of our students have been enrolled in our program for over 20 years. SMSC’s programs are offered on a staff-to-student ratio of 1:3 to 1:6. They include: Adaptive Computer Lab; Behavior Modification; Organic Garden and Worm Farm; Work Activity Program; Aquatics; Culinary Arts; Aerobics/Fitness/Yoga; Dance; Sophie’s Gallery; Music Therapy; Reading; Speech Therapy/Sign Language; and a Senior Program for students age 50+.
SMSC operates three sites: (1) its 5-acre main campus on the outskirts of the City of El Cajon; (2) its Sophie''s Gallery and Gift Shop which occupies a 4,400 sq. ft. storefront with art exhibition and studio space in Downtown El Cajon’s revitalization district; and (3) Sophie’s Gallery NTC – a satellite gallery located at the NTC (Naval Training Center) Promenade in Point Loma where SMSC students and artists from the general public exhibit and sell their work.