I have a lovely 18 year old girl who like any 18 year old enjoys her independence and being social with peers. What makes this challenging is that Liesl has many special needs. She is non-verbal and uses a voice output device, she is intellectually disabled, and she needs help with self care. She is also incredibly social, loves adventures, and likes to experience new things. New Directions allows her to do just that. Liesl began participating in some of the day trips when she turned 18 and now wants to participate in all of them. This summer she has repeatedly grabbed her New Directions name tag to let me know she is ready to go on an adventure immediately! Yesterday she took the New Directions flyer off my bulletin board to peruse the selection of day trips coming up. We are so lucky to have New Directions available to us. It not only gives Liesl the opportunity to have amazing experiences without Mom and Dad around, it also gives her something to look forward to. I don't know when we'll be ready for the overnight trips, but it's wonderful to know that New Directions is there when we are. Thank you!
My sister, Pamela, has been traveling with New Directions for over twenty years. The joke in our family is that she has been on more trips and seen more places than the rest of us combined. She has had one marvelous trip after another both domestic and international. The highlight of each year is the trip she takes: the sights she sees, the people she meets, and for us it is knowing she is happy and safe. As Pam's abilities have changed over the years, New Directions has adapted to make sure she continues to have a great experience.
New Directions definitely enriches the lives of those with developmental disabilities!!! My sister has been traveling with ND for many years, and she so enjoys being able to travel independently, and with her friends! There is quite a nice selection of trips available, from single day tours locally to week-long adventures far and wide - something for everyone! I downloaded pictures from the ND website of all of my sister's recent trips, and in every one she has a grin from ear to ear! Kudos to Dee Duncan and the New Directions staff for making sure that fun is had by all!!
I am privileged to serve on the Board of Directors, enabling me to see first-hand the fine operation that is New Directions. The quarterly ND Travel Club meetings are also a fun way for the travelers to meet up, have dinner together and share their awesome stories!
For a real feel good experience, volunteer on an outing! Travelers are unrestrained with their enthusiasm and honest appreciation for the experiences they have. Many of the travelers would never have the opportunity to have the life time memories they get on the trips that ND provides.
New directions for People with Disabilities Inc. has grown and matured over the years so that it is able too provide eudcational travel experiences for people who are usually "left out." The educational aspect works 2 ways. The travelers learn about the places they visit and equally important the people with whom they come in contact learn about the rich experiences the travelers bring with them. The travelers return from their experiences with broadened horizons and knowledge that help expand their feelings of self-worth.
In addition the organization is efficinetly run. It is one of the few noon-profits I know of that rates outstanding in financial performans as well as excellent use of staff resources.
The founder, Dee Duncan, saw a need and developed a top-notch organization to fill that need. She has recruited fine staff. He expertise in rounding up significant in-kind donors is remarkable, and helps make the organization so sound.
I am the parent of an adult son who travels with New Directions about once a year, so I can attest to its impact on the travelers. I am also a member of the Board of Directors and thus have clear knowlege of the organizational sturcture and finances.
As a travel guide for New Directions I cannot express my gratitude for the opportunity to help others travel.
Travel is a gift I've been blessed with many times over the decades. I've been to many different countries and I've seen some amazing sights, but Nothing compares to my travels with New Directions!
All of the travel guides I've talked to have agreed that we are the lucky ones to be able to share time with these special travelers. To see the world through their eyes is such a gift! The wonderment/excitement that I get to witness every trip is priceless.
I am so thankful New Directions is there helping ensure that we all have a wonderful, safe, fun vacation that creates life long memories and friendships.
This is a nonprofit I really stand behind. Thank you to all of the donors, staff, volunteers etc who make it all possible. Thank you to the travelers that keep me smiling and laughing as I have the time of my life.
I have been on the New Directions Board for a number of years, and am continually enriched by the commitment of staff and tour guides. Dee Duncan, the founder of the organization, is its heart and soul, and she continues to surround herself with big-hearted people. My daughter traveled with New Directions a number of times and loved every minute of each experience - especially the laughter and fun created with the tour guides and the other travelers! When she was ill a few years ago, I asked her what she would like to do when she became stronger. She said she wanted to go to Hawaii again with New Directions, rather than with family! They experience such a wonderful freedom. I am honored to serve on the Board.
Every time my adult son Jeff reeturns from a trip with New Directions, he seems better off in so many ways...more alert, more "together" , and fulll of the excitement he experienced. New Directions provides a much needed educational service at reasonable cost and operates without waste. The staff are dedicated to the clients 100%.
I had heard about New Directions for many years as I worked as a social worker with individuals with special needs and their families. All my clients had great things to say about the agency: how they offered scholarships so anyone could travel, how amazing their Holiday Happiness Christmas events were, how much the trips meant to them. I wanted to volunteer after I retired and I was hooked after being a tour guide on my first trip. This agency believes strongly that everyone has a right to travel as an important component of a rich, happy life. Even if the travelers are in wheelchairs, require total care in their activities of daily living or have challenging behaviors New Directions provides them the help they need to experience the world. Their travelers go to Disneyland and seeing their joy at getting a hug from Mickey or Donald is great. They have been to theme parks all over the country, to national Parks, to the NASA space center, to see the glaciers of Alaska, to cruise the Mexican waters., to see waterfalls, swim with dolphins, gape at the wonders of the world. Wherever tourists flock, New Directions is there making the experience possible for individuals with autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and other developmental disabilitities. I really enjoy travelling with one young woman who is only 23, mildly developmentally delayed, and blind. She takes anti-depressants and I told her half-jokingly "You are such a fun, upbeat person..I want what you take!!" "Oh no," she explained,"I am only happy when I am on a trip. When I am in my group home I cant even go out to a local swimming pool or to the movies, there is no one who cares to take me." I hope New Directions will always be there to give her and our other travelers the happiness they deserve.
I've been associated with New Directions for over twenty years. I am fortunate to work at the Anaheim Marriott and we've partnered with ND with room donations so they can carry on their program. Every December they have a Holiday Happiness Event and it is a delight to welcome the "travelers" and their "tour leaders." They bring a joy and a delightful spirit to our hotel that is unmatched. The tour guides are all volunteers and they are so accommodating and considerate of their charges. The organization appreciates every thing we do for them. The service ND provides these individuals during the Holidays, many who otherwise would be left alone in their state-facilities, with a place to go to, friends to be with, visits with a gift-bearing Santa, fun at amusement parks, good food, laughter and love, is beyond anything I've ever seen! It has also been a wonderful experience for our staff to serve people with disabilities. I've seen an increased patience and empathy for our guests with disabilties because our people are not put off by someone that looks different. We've seen first hand that just because someone is in a wheelchair or can't communicate normally, it doesn't mean they are without minds of their own, feelings and the capacity to love. Not only is ND providing a wonderful service for people with disabilities but they are showing the world who these wonderful people really are!
My brother Rich has been a traveler with New Directions every year for the past 10 years. New Directions is a wonderfully caring, highly professional organization that really "lives" it's mission to provide great journeys for their travelers AND helps others see how much people with developmental disabilities can teach the rest of us about life, joy and laughter. Every traveler is treated with dignity, respect, love and consideration.
My brother is developmentally disabled and has been on several trips with New Directions. Ten years ago after my parents passed away I was determined to help my brother live a more independent and self-fulfilling life. His experiences with New Directions Travel has been an integral part in his growth in independence, self confidence and overall excitement about life. In the beginning I had to cajole him into going on a trip. Now he has the next one selected before he goes on the one selected for the current year. I asked him recently what he likes best about New Directions staff and programs (aside from the wonderful places he gets to go). He said that the trips are so well organized and that the staff is so helpful--especially in the morning when it takes him a long time to get ready for the day. I'm forever grateful to this organization for all that they do.
I have volunteered with New Directions for over 15 years. I take vacation from my job so I can go on these trips and I try to make at least 2 trips a year, but that doesn't always happen. The effect this organization has on the travelers is wonderful. The experiences in watching them enjoy horseback riding, sea world, luaus, and just hanging around making new friends is so rewarding. Sometimes I feel I get more out of the trips than the travelers. The joy and excitement I see in their faces and just being there as some of them experience new things is fantastic. Everyone should be a tour guide with New Directions at least once to truly understand the impact this organization has.
My daughter, Julie, has traveled with New Directions for many years. Traveling with this group is Julie's favorite thing to do. She generally goes on three trips each year. She awaits these trips with great anticipation. The trips are very well organized and give many developmentally disabled persons a great opportunity to travel. Travel opportunities would not be possible for many of these developmentally disabled persons without New Directions. They are a wonderful program, offering travel trips to persons who would otherwise not have this chance.
Our sister is a disabled adult who wants to do everything 'normal' people do...especially travel! While we have traveled with her in the past, it is a major project and while I wish to always be kinder and more patient, it in a huge amount of work to travel with Pamela.The people at NEW DIRECTIONS are patient, empowering and provide the opportunity for Pam to do the kind of world travel she wants and needs. This is an invaluable service to the families of the disabled and a god-send for us!
New Directions offers amazing vacation opportunities to developmentally disabled adults. I've had the great opportunity to chaperone on several trips. My fellow tour guides have always been stellar. Their first and foremost concern have always been the enjoyment and safety of the clients.
This is a remarkable organization focused on enhancing the quality of life for disabled people. Our 21 year old son is developmentally disabled and has traveled with them a few times. We've found the staff to be caring and concerned, and very qualified to deal with whatever situations may arise. These adventure trips for our son also provide respite for our family at home. I'm always very happy to share this resource with others in the special needs community because I think the work they do is so unique and important. New Directions treats its consumers with respect, dignity and compassion. I highly recommend supporting New Directions! Their scholarship program is tremendously important for many of their consumers who would have no other means of participating in these terrific programs.
I have been a tour guide with New Directions for 12+ years. Because of my current job, I am not able to take as many trips with them as I would like. I know the travelers get a lot out of these trips - new places, new friends, new adventures, or, in some case, old places and old friends. Sometimes I believe the tour guides get more out of the trips by just experiencing it with the travelers. One of my favorite memories was at Disneyland, riding It's A Small Wolrd with a young man who is a deaf mute. The expression of joy and wonder on his face said more than any words he could have expressed. New Directions provides opportunities for travelers they might never have had the experience of knowing. I can't wait for my next trip with them in November.
When I completed graduate school, I looked around for a company that took people with developmental disabilities on vacations, as I had been doing on a smaller scale in NYC. I found several companies and worked for a few, with moderate satisfaction, but once I found New Directions, I was hooked. Far beyond any company out there, New Directions puts a heavy emphasis on the personal choice and respect of each traveler on tour. It starts at the top and flows down. Delighted with my first tour, I kept leading trip after trip, until I had to settle down and stay in one place. Now that I have a husband and kids, I just lead one trip a year - the Holiday Happiness tour in San Francisco. Seeing the joy in the travelers' faces and the emerging acceptance and understanding of everyone we meet on the street has made every holiday season extra special for me. Thank you, New Directions!