I was a staff member at Via West. If I had a child with special needs, I would be horrified to see what happens behind the scenes. There is very little supervision of staff; some participants end up left with unbrushed teeth or dirty diapers for too long. Staff who are untrained in restraints often use physical force in an attempt to control participants' behaviors, which is overall reflective of inadequate training. Staff members, including head counselors, drink alcohol and smoke marijuana on premises at night when participants are present. The camp frequently experiences "Charlie Browns," or misplaced participants, including on field trips and at night time; one participant was missing for over an hour and was found at the top of the mountain. Full time counselors complain of being overworked to the point where participants' safety is endangered. The facilities are rarely cleaned, and when they are, the cleaning is only superficial. Staff members were asked to lie to the ACA. Do NOT send your children here!
Review from Guidestar
I have a mentally retarded daughter with ADHD. Although Allison is 19, she is intellectually less than 5 yrs. old. Allison has attended Via's Camp Costanoan during both summer and weekend respite sessions for several years. The staff is very good at matching Allison with other girls at a similar level, improving her social skills in groups, and fostering a sense of independence with new surroundings. After Allison became a client of Via's, I began looking further into the organization and joined the board in 2003.
I am a general pediatrician and a board member ofthis excellent organization. Via is able to provide targeted services to children and adults that are needed and effective. This is a remarkable feat for an independent organization. Via Services is fiscally responsible, yet manages to provide a wide range of services and programs. I am proud to be working with Via Services.
My first experience with VIA services was through a partnership with the Rotary Club of Cupertino. The Rotary club provided some money and assistance for a three day long respite camp up at VIA’s Camp Costanoan in 2006. The experience was extremely rewarding for us as volunteers to see the impact that VIA had on the children of special needs as well as the families. I agreed to come onto the Board spring of 2008. Here is where I have learned about the extensive programs that reach a breathe of areas for children and adults in Silicon Valley. VIA is expanding programs such as the "First step" which is for early intervention and a program called “Fit for Life” which speaks to the overall quality of life for the clients and are constantly looking for ways to serve the community better.
I joined the VIA board in 2007 after serving for six years on an ad hoc committee which dealt with the agency's name change and other strategic issues. Prior to becoming invovled with Via's marketing, communications and other matters regarding its outreach to the community and donors, I was introduced to the agency as a parent when my youngest daughter needed help with a mild dyslexic learning condition. I am pleased to report that Via has more than satisfied my expectations. Via's role as a valued and long-term community resource has proven to be a legacy that now stretches more than sixty years in Santa Clara county. Today Via is on the cutting edge, providing innovative ways to mitigate growing numbers of costly and debilitating conditions, most notabily children's autism. Via's facilities and grounds are unmatched. Via's prudent management and financial condition are to be admired by community-based organizations everywhere, particularly during difficult economic times. My personal experience with Via's approach, via my daughter's dyslexia, was excellent. The Via diagnosis was prompt, the schedule of in-office treatment was focused, visits were efficient and the long-term result was a successful resolution of a learning disorder and my daughter's matriculation through high school (Archbishop Mitty '97) and college (Loyola Marymount University '01). I am proud to be part of the Via team and to be a financial contibutor to its spectrum of services offerred to persons living in Santa Clara county and beyond.
I am currently Board Chair and have served on Via's Board in various postions since 2000. I was drawn to the organization by its reputation for serving children and adults with special needs. Via is constantly striving to keep its programs in line with the current needs of its clients.