Over 1.8 million nonprofits and charities for donors, volunteers and funders

2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

College of Adaptive Arts

934 pageviews

Claim This Nonprofit

More Info

Add to Favorites

Share this Nonprofit

Donate

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: • 1075% Operational Growth since inception in 2009: from operational budget of $55,000 in 2009 to $812,000 annual budget in 2019 • Student enrollment topped 1115 students for the Spring Quarter 2019 • 10 Schools of Instruction - added a 10th School of Instruction, the School of Business, in 2019 • 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: 115+ students, 300 family members, & 2000+ 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

27 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Michael L.9

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CAA has long been the single most reliable, dynamic & supportive Adult Day Program available to my students aging out of Adult Transition at 22.

As of June 2019 I retired from teaching Special Education. Over the past six years CAA remained a tremendous resource for several students every year. Real life-long learning ensures these young adults true opportunity to flourish, explore and develop their natural creative potential

It warms my heart continuously to see or hear from former students who continue their learning & socializing journey with sustained enthusiasm at CAA year after year.

Lisa Hosfeldt H.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Lisa Henderson. My Daughter Rachael and I are so Grateful that we found the College Of Adaptive Arts at a very stressful time for our family. Rachael and her Sister had just graduated from High School in 2012.
I began the process of searching for the best program/College that would best fit Rachaels needs.
I had only looked at a few places and then my world was flipped upside down. I was diagnosed with cancer and told I needed emergency surgery/treatment and if the cancer had spread I had about a year and a half left to live. I was so frightened and just started praying. I didn’t know what the outcome was going to be so I started getting things in order. I had my surgery and thank God my prayers were answered and with my families love and care I healed and am still cancer free today.
When I healed, I checked out several more programs for Rachael and was getting very discouraged. Rachael had such a love for music, dance and theatre and really enjoyed being on stage. The places that were being suggested for her were just not a good fit for Rachael and didn’t offer any dance or theater.
One day I was searching on the internet and up popped The College Of Adaptive Arts. I remember running out to my Mom and Rachael super excited.
I called immediately and spoke with DeAnna Pursai one of the executive directors of CAA.
We were invited to come to visit the college and meet DeAnna. We were welcomed with open arms and it was a great feeling.
Rachael was so excited! We enrolled her immediately and she couldn’t wait to get started. Rachael began taking two classes called Showboaters which was a performing dance class and she loved it! It didn’t take her long at all to have a bunch of awesome new friends too.
One day she was watching the Latizmo Class and asked me... Mom I wish I could do that but how can I? I’m on wheels! After class we went up and met the teacher.
Professor Torres was awesome and immediately told Rachael of course you can dance Latizmo and anything else you want to do in life as long as you believe you can.
Professor Torres invited Rachael to come take a Latizmo class. After thinking about it Rachael decided to give the class a try and the rest is history. Rachael fell in love with Latizmo and has signed up for Latizmo every quarter at the college since.
Jay Torres is also the sole entrepreneur of Latizmo Hip Hop Productions which offers all kinds of different classes and services to people of all abilities. Rachael is involved in several of these Classes as well.
As for me.... I have been Rachael’s 1.1 Aide now for the last four years which has been total blessing in disguise. I take all classes with Rachael as well as perform.
I have lost a lot of weight and built muscle doing Latizmo Fitness and am the Latizmo Tumbling Instructor.
We are very Grateful to be part of the CAA family.
Thank you CAA and
LATIZMO HIP HOP PRODUCTIONS.
We love you!!!!!!

Comments ( 1 )

profile

DeAnna Pursai 08/28/2019

Dear Lisa and Rachel, Thank you for sharing your story. It is simply incredible. It is for students such as Rachel that we keep providing classes and continual opportunities to connect in the community. You are a sincere blessing to the CAA & Latizmo Hip Hop Productions family. We simply and truly thank you from the depths of our hearts. -De, Pam, & Profe Jay :)

Donor

Rating: 5

CAA is a remarkable organization making an incredible difference in the lives of special needs adults, showing the students and the larger community that recognizing potential and accessing continuous learning are the
foundation to an ever expanding productive life for all adults, no matter the unique needs. The founders and staff are immensely passionate and committed to the mission of the college and its students. Our world benefits from high quality non-profit organizations like CAA!

Comments ( 1 )

profile

DeAnna Pursai 08/28/2019

Dearest Jeanne - thank you for your constant mentorship, support, and leadership - you have been a true rock of love, light and guidance since CAA's inception. Love, DeAnna :)

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our 36 year old daughter Jenni has been a student at the College of Adaptive Arts since it's inception in 2009. Jenni has always loved her involvement with CAA. Her professors are amazing. There is unending support for the students as well a love for the classes they teach. The students display so much enthusiasm and joy for whatever class they are in. The professors also see that the students are able to share their learning experiences with family, friends, and the public in general. This may come by participating in plays, dance recitals, art exhibits, sign language, music and many more. The students truly shine when given the opportunity to perform. Along with all the wonderful learning that goes on at CAA there are friendships. Jenni has made so many wonderful friends. The one thing we notice is how kind and caring the students are towards one another. This comes from a staff that cultivates kindness and respect among their students. When a young adult ages out of the traditional educational system, it is a true gift and blessing to know that a College like CAA exist for our children. Thank you DeAnna and Pam for your vision and unending dedication to serving the amazing community of
"Adults with Differing Abilities ".

Comments ( 1 )

profile

DeAnna Pursai 08/28/2019

Dear Devonne, Thank you so much for sharing your story and for all of your steadfast and tremendous support over the years. You have helped us grow since inception, and Jenni is such a Shining Light of Abilities in our college. -DeAnna :)

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I came to contact with CAA thru one of its founders, DeAnna Pursai. My contact with her and CAA allowed me to see and understand a whole new world when it comes to integrating important members of society into the workforce thru the arts, providing opportunities that no other organizations can provide. A trully amazing college.

Comments ( 1 )

profile

DeAnna Pursai 08/28/2019

Thank you so much, maestro. Your support has been incredible. Thank you for teaching me the beautiful langauge of Spanish so that I can converse with our awesome families in their native language. You are a sincere blessing. -DeAnna :)

Donor

Rating: 5

CAA is an idea whose time is due. It is a organization that is based on the premise of thinking “outside the box”, by providing adults with differing abilities experiences that have been unavailable to them thus far. The success that has been experienced by the organization is testament to the core principles of providing an equitable experience, and a safe and validating space for all participants. It is time for them to transition to the next stage and provide this service at a larger scale!

Comments ( 1 )

profile

DeAnna Pursai 08/28/2019

Thank you so much, Sri - it is directly because of your steadfast support that you've allowed this collegiate model to grow and expand. I will forever be in your debt of gratitude for believing in this equitable collegiate model. Love, De :)

Volunteer

Rating: 5

College of Adaptive Arts provides educational opportunities, a feeling of community and friends, plus challenges, encouragement for our adult son with disabilities. He loves attending classes. Instructors are caring and top notch. This is a great organization.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I could not recommend CAA more highly! The organization provides a much needed education and experience for adults with special needs. It is a one-of-a-kind education for which we need more! Please support the College of Adaptive Arts!!

Donor

Rating: 5

The College of Adaptive Arts offers an innovative hands-on educational experience for adults with disabilities. The joy, passion, and energy exhibited by members of the CAA community are tangible. From the Founding Directors to the teachers and staff, from the adult students to their family members, and from community members who engage with CAA, it is clear that the College of Adaptive Arts provides a special opportunity for engagement and learning that needs to be emulated in communities across the U.S. and around the world.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

CAA is one of the most inspiring collection of people on the planet. They’ve lifted the aspirations of so many differently-abled young adults.

Susan Slater E.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

CAA is the best idea every adult with atypical abilities - and their families - had been waiting for all along: a program that unlocks the talents, confidence and universe of every student and embraces their quest for learning and achievement. CAA will only be better when it has campuses on colleges and universities throughout the country - this definitely is not a one-off model!!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was a desperate parent with an adult child at home unengaged without meaningful activity and as yet undiagnosed with 22Q11.2 when I stumbled onto CAA and the passionate founders of this program who welcomed my daughter with open arms, focusing on her strengths and her abilities. It was an amazing experience where they created opportunities for her to assist others while making inroads with her own creativity. Through their guidance she was able to take the lead to create interviews with people who experienced World War II on the home front while their loved ones were away at war. The video became part of their film program and later was the given to a library. CAA helped me to see possibilities for my daughter and make connections for her. Today she paints and her artwork has become greeting cards. She has joined a community choir and takes group taiko drum lessons. This is not her end story, but part of her ongoing story that CAA helped to launch thanks to the belief of the founders and their passion for what is possible. They are innovative and relentlessly positive-focused.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I absolutely love CAA. My niece attends the school and it has been life-changing for our family. I've seen her blossom and grow over the years. She is confident, outgoing, capable and joyful. She benefits so much from the variety of classes she attends.
I started volunteering at CAA about a year ago and I'm so happy to be a part of this amazing school that offers so much to its students!

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

From day one, the Faculty and Students at CAA welcomed my family with open arms. My Kristina has learned so much as a Junior Cardinal. We love CAA and everything it stands for.

Comments ( 1 )

profile

DeAnna Pursai 07/17/2019

Thank you for your kind words of support, Salina. We are so grateful that Kristina and your entire family are valuable members of the CAA Mountain Movers Family.

Donor

Rating: 5

CAA is close to my heart because I grew up with the mountain mover inspiration, Angel, and director, DeAnna. I know I met DeAnna in kindergarten and I assume I met Angel at that same time because they were such close sisters. DeAnna and Angel both have a loving nature that is felt always when you're part of their world. DeAnna was an "over achiever" throughout our childhood and I admired her energy but wondered where, how can she do all this. Now I know it is her HEART. I'm not sure if her heart would be complete without Angel or CAA. So CAA is a five star non-profit because I am absolutely sure it is lead by heart, it reaches anyone's heart that is involved and I just love everything they do. I'm an extremely proud supporter of the mountain moving sisters and CAA.

Comments ( 1 )

profile

DeAnna Pursai 07/17/2019

You are so dearly beloved, Sara. Thank you for sharing and being such an important and steadfast supporter of this College. I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

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!

Comments ( 1 )

profile

DeAnna Pursai 07/17/2019

Thank you for your kind words and for all that you do for the College, Sandee - you are truly and dearly appreciated!!! -De

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!

Comments ( 1 )

profile

DeAnna Pursai 07/17/2019

Dolores - thank you so very much for your wonderful words of support. Your kindness, leadership, and community support have meant the absolute world to me and to our community.

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.

Comments ( 1 )

profile

DeAnna Pursai 07/17/2019

Thank you so very much for your kind words of support, Paul. I am so glad that your children have enjoyed the performances and our CAA students. :)

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 )

profile

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 )

profile

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 )

profile

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 )

profile

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 )

profile

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 )

profile

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 )

profile

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 )

profile

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! :)