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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, lifelong collegiate experience to adults with special needs who historically have not had access to college education. College of Adaptive Arts simulates a robust liberal arts collegiate environment to empower the student bodyto creatively transform perception of disability and to become successful contributing citizens.

Results: • 1608% Operational Growth since inception in 2009: from operational budget of $55,000 in 2009 to $896,000 annual budget in 2020 • Student enrollment topped 128 students for the Winter Quarter 2020 • 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: 140+ students, 450 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

51 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

CAA is a big deal!!! I have had the pleasure to work alongside DeAnna Pursai, Director of CAA, for many years now for their annual Golf Classic at Santa Teresa Golf Club. To see the look of joy and amusement radiate from the students each year warms my heart. These students are simply amazing, not only do the students help set up and assist with registration, some students create the stunning art for the silent auction for their fund raiser. Whether the students are golfing, or entertaining a sea of guests, which include family members, friends, volunteers and of course, the staff of Santa Teresa Golf Club by cheerleading, or singing their beautiful hearts out, everyone has a gigantic smile on the their faces. It is my honor to be a part of this wonderful organization.

Gina Honiker
Manager
Santa Teresa Golf Course

Sharon L.4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The first time I walked into CAA, they were rehearsing for their next musical Greasy Hairspray. They were rehearsing at Pioneer High School and as I walked in the door the joy, caring and is respect, was overflowing. I was on my first day of volunteering at the college. It didn't take me long to realize this is where I wanted to be and needed to be. Three months later I was hired on to the staff. Everyday I see adults grow in confidence and are dreaming bigger than they ever have before. I see adult learners come up with goals and attain those goals. I see students not just look at college education from the outside, but take classes, make friends and even go to graduation! It is such a joy for me to see these adults fully immersed in a college where they thrive and think big! Thank you CAA!

Client Served

Rating: 5

College of Adaptive Arts (CAA) has enriched the life of my daughter who has Down Syndrome. First, I have such praise for the two originators of CAA who continue to dedicate themselves to provide a wonderful college experience for our loved ones with disabilities. The classes, taught by incredible staff, have inspired my daughter, given her opportunities to grow, gain confidence, and expand her horizons during her day to day life.

Opportunity is always a desire for my daughter. Through CAA’s supportive staff and the numerous classes offered, my daughter has found extraordinary opportunities. The CAA dance and public speaking classes have provided opportunities for her to practice what she has learned within the community. She has danced at various community events including sjDANCEco Festival at Santana Row and San Jose’s Christmas in the Park. She has had the opportunity to speak to Service Clubs, local Chambers of Commerce groups, the National Down Syndrome Day celebration at Santana Row, fundraising events, to name a few. These community opportunities through CAA have allowed her to use the skills and techniques learned in class, elevated confidence, self esteem, and poise. I also believe through her and her classmates’ community events the public has gained a new respect for an individual’s abilities.

CAA has been an exceptional education experience for my daughter, providing a variety of learning experiences and opportunities all while forging friendships.

Donor

Rating: 5

College of Adaptive Arts is a one of a kind model right here in the Bay Area. This dedicated group leaders share the highest level of compassion, love and learning for a lifetime. This one of a kind learning model is on it's way to growing into every College across the Country . I have had the opportunity to work with College of Adaptive Arts on several community awareness campaigns and feel truly honored and blessed to see first hand how over joyed not only the students are but also the teachers and directors involved. Sincerely, a valued Santa Clara County community partner.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This amazing program has been a vital piece to keeping the community they serve connected through the COVID-19 pandemic. Moving seamlessly to an online format was so important and COAA did not miss a beat. Thank you to the staff who is so committed to providing varied, interesting and useful programming in-person and online!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

CAA is a remarkable organization providing education and wonderful experiences to adults with special needs. I learned about CAA a few years ago. I started volunteering at CAA and DeAnna, Dr Pam and all the staff members are a joy. The college staff really focuses on providing the best learning experience to all the students. The College of Adaptive Arts supports parents, families, and the community in so many ways. I have witnessed myself the joy of the students participating in class and learning, and I can see how the students are eager to learn every day. It makes them happy to be part of the student community learning and focusing on the subjects they enjoy. I am very grateful to get to know them and to be part of their team. Thank you CAA!

Board Member

Rating: 5

My son loves the College of Adaptive Arts. He was attending a Day Program, but when I enrolled him into classes at the College he did not want to return to the Day Program. His favorite class at first was Belly Dancing. Now he loves Theatre and Speaking With Confidence. He enjoys the collegiate atmosphere at CAA. Although, he is quiet and shy he enjoys hanging out with his peers. The Instructors are very attentive and observant of the students. This appears to aid them in learning how to motivate and teach each individual student in accordance with their abilities and learning style. They are patient, understanding, professional and well trained in the education of students with developmental disabilities. My son was diagnosed with Down syndrome at birth. He completed high school in Atlanta, Georgia. He attended Post Secondary at Fremont High School in Sunnyvale, California. We learned about the College of Adaptive Arts while he was participating with Angels on Stage. Wiley loves acting, singing and dancing. The College of Adaptive Arts has provided him with the opportunity to learn, develop skills and participate in all three. The founders have gone above and beyond our expectations to make us feel an integral part of this unique organization of higher education for this special population.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

His name is Thomas. When he was born he was diagnosed with failure to thrive, then it changed to developmental delays, then it was mental retardation, and his current label is intellectual impairment. If you ask Thomas he will say, "I'm a college student ". Having the opportunity to attend the College of Adaptive Arts has both broadened his interests and given him the opportunity to participate in a social setting with his peers. To his family's surprise, his favorite class is Fun with Famous Artists, in which they are planning virtual trips to museums. His computer literacy has soared and is now beyond that of his parents as he's had to learn to do everything virtually. He is currently attending his 3rd quarter at CAA and is looking forward to the day he will be in classes on the new campus.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our son, born with Down syndrome, has been active in College of Adaptive Arts since their early days in a sublet dance studio in San Jose. He has enjoyed each and every course he has engaged in, but mainly the compassionate and effective founders. Now a entire new generation of encouraging and more specialized 'Professors" has been built up, all effective and teaching to a level the students understand. They so effectively all 'build up' each other, maintaining a respecting, loving atmosphere. Bravo CAA for providing more than a decade of consistent learning experience to a audience of Special Needs adults thirsty of more!
Warmly,
a Delighted Parent

Client Served

Rating: 5

College of Adaptive Arts has been a social and mental life-giving experience for our son. Before the Pandemic he was regularly engaged in classes, had improved his social skills, conversational skills and enjoyed the arts offerings. Being part of their golf team has given him a refreshing way to golf regularly, enjoying an activity that was difficult to access without CAA. After the Pandemic got underway and all of the classes converted to ZOOM, the impact of CAA went from appreciated and enjoyed to vital for our son. It became his go-to place to connect when he was not able to be out in the community doing ordinary life things. We love and appreciate everything that CAA does for this community of adults who learn differently.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Loneliness and isolation are features of disability not often discussed. Pre-pandemic, where did you meet people? Most of us were able to make friends from people we met at school, work or church. Now imagine you are not able to communicate in any socially acceptable way, and the only people attracted to you are paid helpers. Even before the pandemic, you would be isolated from most opportunities to make real friends, unless you were lucky enough to know about College of Adaptive Arts.

The imaginatively resourceful crew at CAA provides a diverse community for people with differences. It enables my son, lifting his loneliness and creating an opportunity for him to be with others who appreciate his presence. When he feels truly valued by others in this way, his self-esteem rises exponentially, rippling through his being in surprising ways. CAA gives him a chance to make true friends, and it also gives him opportunity to continue to explore his creative self in a way society has always denied and devalued people born with social and cognitive differences. It has changed his life in so many positive ways, and we will always be grateful. Thank you CAA!

1 Elric A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The College of Adaptive Arts really helped a student's journey from beginning to where you are at now and to the end.

It really helped me out. I would give credit to the professors and the deans of instruction for letting me to pave the path forward.

1 sherflei

Client Served

Rating: 5

If you have a child with special needs who is approaching college-age (or is even much much older) and you are having trouble finding continuing education that is adapted to match your child's needs, you need to look at CAA. This is the need they are filling: providing a post-high school/college-like/ongoing education experience for kids like ours where educational options are limited.

My daughter Victoria (19) has enjoyed attending classes at CAA for the past 1.5+ years and we look forward to her continuing with CAA as long as she enjoys it. The Administrators and teachers at this school all have many years working with and advocating for kids with special needs and what they do comes from the heart. Check it out.

1 Sandee Raval K.

Board Member

Rating: 5

This College is changing lives for adults that wouldn't have the opportunity to expand their education. This allows adults with differing abilities to shine and find their passion, whether it be in the arts or science and technology. This school is an example of a model of education that should be replicated all over the world.

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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 )

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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 Nancy H.12

Client Served

Rating: 5

I can't tell you enough about how wonderful this school has been for my son. Even with all that is going on in the world they have rebounded and made it posible for him to keep on going online. One of the most amazing things is that this is a life time school. People with disibilaties can go to this school for their entire life and keep learning and acomplishing things that they may not be able to do in typical schools. It raises their confidence and self worth. The staff and teachers there are top notch and amazing with the students and with the parents. I am just sorry that there are not schools like this all over the country to help all the adults with disabilities. It's a great model that should be duplicated. I feel proud of our community to have such a place.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The College of Adaptive Arts is hands down one of the best organizations for Adults with amazing and unique abilities that often go unnoticed! I had the privilege of serving on their board in their early years and the founders, DeAnna and Pam, began moving mountains in 2009. Their passion and perseverance are going to take this replicable model around the world - it's just a matter of a wider audience understanding not only the need but the capabilities of the population they serve. In my opinion, one of the best aspects of CAA is that it provides lifelong learning opportunities - never stop learning, never give up and keep on growing. I can't wait to see what the future holds for CAA and all of their students.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

College of Adaptive Arts, CAA, is such an amazing, special place!!! My daughter is Intellectually disabled and could not attend a typical college but CAA gives my daughter the opportunity to continue her education and feel part of a community. The directors, teachers and faculty are all so nice and accommodating. There are many classes to choose from.

Donor

Rating: 5


I love the College of Adaptive Arts (CAA) and everyone who directs, teaches, and attends there! I appreciate how the students are respected, loved, and cared about. The students look forward to learning and being an important part of the wonderful CAA community. The skills they learn extend way beyond CAA. My husband and I support CAA because we have witnessed growth in the students over the years and we have attended great plays and other CAA events and really enjoyed them. I am thankful for CAA the many ways they are making a positive difference in our community.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

The College of Adaptive Arts offers a joyful alternative college experience for adults with disabilities. Students and their families express deep satisfaction with the wide and creative array of classes offered and convey great appreciation for the warm, supportive, caring faculty and staff. Inviting CAA students to participate in local events creates a wonderful opportunity to integrate adults with disabilities into the wider community. Each of my interactions with CAA has been positive, enriching, and uplifting.

Previous Stories
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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.

1 Joseph S.3

Board Member

Rating: 5

CAA warms the hearts of everyone involved. The Mission is one of the best causes I know of. It is my honor to be a supporter!!!!

Previous Stories
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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! :)

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I can't say enough about how impressed my wife and I have been with the College of Adaptive Arts. The range and quality of programs is absolutely amazing, and DeAnna's passion shines through everything they do, along with that of the rest of her team. What a wonderful organization!

1 Toni C.3

Board Member

Rating: 5

College of Adaptive Arts provides so much more than education for adults with differing abilities. It is a community of learners who show mutual respect and great enthusiasm for the success of their fellow students. CAA students pursue their interests by choosing the classes they want. They have opportunities to showcase their abilities among the community, interact with their typical peers, and succeed in their endeavors. From dance to television to stage production to robotics, students grow and thrive because they are motivated by success. As a member of the board, I am honored to have a small part in moving the mountain toward equity in education for all.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

College of Adaptive Arts has given my son a new lease on life. After high school my son was not really sure what he was going to do with his life. Standard College felt too daunting to him he needed a place that was going to teach at his pace. Where the fellow students would be more interested in building him and themselves up. College of Adaptive Arts gives him the ability to continue his learning and growth.

1 nrmatarangas

Board Member

Rating: 5

College of Adaptive Arts is a top-notch nonprofit. The bright and wonderful adults that study in this equitable learning environment are truly honing their educational, creative, and leadership skills. Additionally, CAA offers the students many opportunities to carrying this real-world knowledge into their community; "Changing perceptions"!
What I love most, is watching the students shine and blossom, encouraged by the dedicated professors, to achieve their lifelong educational and professional goals.

Previous Stories
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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!

1 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.

1 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 )

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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 :)

1

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!

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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 :)

1

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 )

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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 :)

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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.

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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 :)

1

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!

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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 :)

1

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.

1

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!!

1

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.

1 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!!!

1

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.

1

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

1

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.

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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.

1

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.

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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!

2

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!

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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.

3

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.

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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. :)

4

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. :)

6 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.

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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!

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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!!!

5 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.

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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!

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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

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.

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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. :)

3 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.…

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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! :)