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College of Adaptive Arts

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Performing Arts Schools

Mission: College of Adaptive Arts (CAA) provides an equitable collegiate experience to adults with special needs who historically have not had access to college education. College of Adaptive Arts utilizes the platform of the arts to empower the student body to creatively transform perception of disability and to become successful contributing citizens.

Results: • 954% Operational Growth since inception in 2009: from operational budget of $55,000 in 2009 to $580,000 annual budget in 2017 • Student enrollment topped 100 students for the Spring Quarter 2018 • Directors secured for all 9 Schools of Instruction • Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce - Pyramid Award Charity Beneficiary, June 2017 • Rotary Foundation of San Jose - Recipient of Community Grant, December 2017 • Silicon Valley Community Fund – Donor Circle of the Arts - Recipient of a School of Dance grant, Nov. 2017 • San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs - Recipient of the 2017 TakepART grant • Recipient of a SVCreates Access Grant 2017 • Recipient of San Jose City College Child Development Community Service Awards • San Jose Mercury News Article featuring College of Adaptive Arts & Professor/Latizmo Productions Founder Isabella Torres • Delta Kappa Gamma State Women’s Educational Leadership Organization honoring co-founders Pam/DeAnna – State Service to the Profession Award • Reached a part-time staff of 30 employees – over half are leaders with differing abilities • Five major donors made significant independent financial upgrades throughout the year • Jan 2018: KQED Arts did a story on Professor Isabella Torres/Latizmo which has more than 50,000 views on social media

Target demographics: adults with disabilities

Direct beneficiaries per year: 90+ students,170 family members, & 300+ community members at large

Geographic areas served: the community

Programs: a college experience to become successful contributing citizens in the community through the arts, health, & wellness.

Community Stories

12 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Sandee Raval K.

Board Member

Rating: 5

It has been an extreme honor and pleasure joining the CAA Board almost a year ago. CAA is innovative, and I feel essential for adults with special needs. It allows them a collegiate education, expanding their minds while exploring their creativity. Every adult should have the opportunity to reach their highest potential and this is what CAA allows them to do!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

CAA is a wonderful school for young adults who are differently abled. The teachers are skilled, compassionate and have a big heart. It is such a pleasure to watch the students arrive for class full of enthusiasm, self-confidence, and a sense of direction!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My family and I have been to several CAA events over the past 18 months... And we LOVE it. My two sons, 10 and 6 years old, usually won't sit still for any event, let alone a play or graduation. But we all have taken in a play, graduation and dance events and we are mesmerized by not only the students abilities, but by the amount of love that is apparent and prevalent. CAA has created an unbelievably special place that is the epitome of a loving learning environment. My kids and I have learned so much about the students and teachers by being audience members at CAA events.

1 nrmatarangas

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is a great place of learning, community and inclusion. From the day I stepped through the doors I knew this was an environment that fostered a culture of acceptance and the growth of individuals abilities. There is something for everyone: Dance, Health/Fitness, Theatre, Visual Arts, Music, Communications, Technology, Sports, Library. I love blending my background in Theater, Dance, and Health and Wellness with these eager college students to tell our unique story. I Love CAA... the students, the staff, and the families!

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

College of Adaptive Arts is a place where there are no boundaries, no judgements, no mistakes; nothing but unconditional caring and support to be all you can be. I have seen students come in shy and barely even looking up at their professors. Within a short period of time, they are volunteering to participate, offering their ideas and opinions. They grow in self-esteem and tossing away the labels that society has put on them. CAA changes perceptions everyday and I am truly honored to get to know the students, their families and all those who care about equitable education for all!

Comments ( 1 )

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michael.reisman 07/20/2018

Hi Sharon - thank you for sharing your story and for believeing in our Students! The positive energy of our college has simply blossomed since you've joined the Mountain Movers Superstaff Team. :)

4 Mariateresa Montesdeoca G.

Client Served

Rating: 5

In the spring of 2012 Nathalie was attending the post senior program through the East Side Unified High School District. Here she experienced bullying and ridicule by fellow classmates. The mean comments by her peers were starting to take a toll on her self-esteem. This would all start to change in the summer of 2012 when she first enrolled in CAA.

On her first day of school Nathalie was very nervous, she didn’t know what to expect or how she would fit in. I assured her that everything would be OK, and that she would be treated like a princess. Needles to say that when DeAnna greeted Nathalie for the first time at Randol School, she introduced herself as “Princess Nathalie”. From that day on Nathalie decided she no longer needed to partake in the post senior program, as she was now a college student.

Once the post-senior program ended Nathalie dedicated her days to attending CAA full time, and she had never been happier.

Nathalie has grow and blossomed into a confidant young woman ever since she stared taking classes at CAA. Long gone are the scars left from her bullying experience, and every day she looks forward to going to school. If it was up to her she would take all the classes CAA has to offer. If you ask her what her favorite class is she will answer differently every time. This is not a result of her not knowing what to pick, but rather because every class she takes is her favorite.

In CAA she has found a community of people who lift her spirits everyday and help her to become a strong and independent woman. Nathalie has triumphed in the face of adversity, and that is largely due to the sense of empowerment she gets from her family at CAA.

As she continues this adventure called life, she knows she will always have a place were she is loved and accepted for who she is with CAA.

Comments ( 1 )

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michael.reisman 07/20/2018

Hi Teresa - Thank you for sharing this incredible story, for sharing your amazing daughter with us, and for never giving up on your daughter's abilities. You are dearly beloved and appreciated!!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

CAA is such an amazing place! Everyone is so positive, helpful, kind and caring. It is great for the students to have an opportunity to go to college and meet new friends, continue their education and have fun!

Comments ( 1 )

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michael.reisman 07/20/2018

Hi Mimi G - Thank you so very much for your thoughts - you are truly and dearly appreciated!!!

4 DeAnna Pursai

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've had the distinct privilege of beginning this College 9 years with the incredibly talented and magnanimous Pamela Lindsay. CAA has grown 12-fold since inception, and we now know we can take this model nationwide to be as robust in the education space as Special Olympics is in the athletic space. This is a very personal quest for me as I strive to take this model as far as Indiana and beyond, where my sister Angel, could have her authentic abilities of comedy, dance and performing cultivated & illuminated. Angel and I grew up together almost like twins, and she is so much more intelligent than I am in so many ways that matter, but because she has Down syndrome her life opportunities dramatically decreased after high school, whereas mine were just beginning. I thank the entire community for believing in this lifelong, collegiate model of higher education for special needs adults.

Comments ( 1 )

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michael.reisman 07/20/2018

Hi De - Thank you for sharing your powerful story and for teaming up with Pam to begin this college. Together, we will take this model nationwide to reach more adults who want to continue to learn! :)

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

College of Adaptive Arts is the perfect environment for students to thrive with the kindest, brightest, and most supportive classmates and teachers who will guide them with understanding, compassion, and encouragement every step of the way. Once you experience a class here, you will want to return again and again! I felt incredibly welcomed on my first day here, and that feeling of acceptance and warmth has not gone away at all! I love CAA!

Comments ( 1 )

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michael.reisman 07/20/2018

Hi Grace- Thank you so much for sharing your kind and thoughtful words. We truly love having you as a volunteer at the College, and we sincerely appreciate your time and talents.

3 Joseph S.3

Board Member

Rating: 5

CAA is Awesome. They help special needs students with life long learning. This is the greatest organization to help our kids that there is on this planet!!!

Comments ( 1 )

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michael.reisman 07/20/2018

Hi Joe! Thank you for being one of the Most Super-Awesome Board Members Ever!! You have got the Midas Touch in helping this organization grow and be the best it can become!! Thank you! :)

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The College of Adaptive Arts showcases the creative abilities of adults with disabilities. CAA provides opportunities an educational and social experiences in a collegiate atmosphere.
The students challenge every stereotype of disability. Students range from 22 to 68.

Comments ( 1 )

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michael.reisman 07/20/2018

Thank you so very much for sharing your thoughts and being a valued member of the CAA community. We hope you can make it our our Thank You Breakfast for volunteers on Friday, July 27. :)

2 Carla G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The College of Adaptive Arts is a non-profit school for adults with differing abilities.

The work that CAA is doing with its students is inspirational. Every parent of a child with a disability should be so fortunate as to have a CAA nearby, and we do--right here in San Jose.…

Comments ( 1 )

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michael.reisman 07/20/2018

Hi Carla - Thank you so very much for sharing your thoughts and for being such a long-standing supporter and outstanding leader in our community! :)