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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Developmentally Disabled Centers, Disabilities, Education, Human Services, Job Training, Preschools, Vocational Rehabilitation

Mission: Abilities United champions people with developmental and other disabilities and provides the training, education, and support they need to lead the lives they choose.

Results: Each year, we serve over 2,500 individuals and their families in our Children's Development, Family Support, Adult, and Aquatic services programs.

Target demographics: People of all ages who have a developmental or other disability. People of all ages without a disability but who can benefit from aquatic, early childhood development, adult independent skills and family support

Direct beneficiaries per year: 2,000

Programs: Adult services assists individuals with developmental or other disabilities to fully participate in their community through employment, educational, recreational, social, and volunteer activities. Using community resources and experiences, adult services specialists and community training instructors assist individuals to acquire or expand their skills through the adult day activities, community connections, independent living skills, and employment services programs. Adult day activities at adult day activities, adults choose from a variety of activities to experience new opportunities and learn daily living and community skills. Participants learn household tasks such as shopping, cooking, laundry, cleaning, and gardening; community life skills like transportation usage and restaurant dining; and how to access community resources such as libraries, museums, theatres, parks, and other public areas. The men and women we serve make their own goals, choices, and decisions with whatever support and assistance they need from their family, friends, and adult day activities staff. This department served 316 men, women, and their families last year. Community connections as a member of the community, the men and women we serve have access to many free public resources and activities. They choose from a variety of social and volunteer activities that provide opportunities to give back to their community in meaningful ways. Participants also have opportunities to make new friends and learn exciting new skills. At community connections, participants can volunteer at dozens of local nonprofit organizations, learn skills through the organization's educational series, and develop communication integration and independence skills when they help produce the community connections cable tv show and newsletters. Independent living skills the men and women we serve in independent living skills may already have many life skills, but the organization can assist in acquiring additional ones through this program. In independent living skills (ils), adults work 1:1 with their adult services specialists to learn the additional daily living skills they need to be as independent as possible. A customized plan is created with the person-served, and encompasses personal/social goals, domestic goals, financial goals and community goals. Employment services for those adults looking for paid employment; employment services has a variety of services to support them. This program assists men and women attain work skills to complement those they already have. Through their work with the employment services specialists and job developers, participants may access employment preparation services, assistance with interviewing, job development and placement services, and coaching services, and personal, vocational and social adjustment services for employment success. This year's highlights and accomplishments:- employment services established 10 new business partners including homewood suites by hilton, replanet, and bj's brewery & restaurant- 39 individuals were placed in competitive, independent employment in the bay area- independent living skills program helped 19 individuals find and move into independent housing- community connections' television program, "abilities united presents: community connections", with dr. Temple grandin won the 2014 w. A. V. E. Award, a regional award recognizing the best community media programming in the western states- stanford university recognized abilities united as their community partner of the year as a result of their collaboration with the employment services program- employment services program partnership with stanford university received multiple recognitions including county of santa clara certificate of commendation, u. S. Congress certificate of congressional recognition, city of palo alto certificate of appreciation, city of menlo park certificate of recognition, commendation from county of san mateo, city of east palo alto certificate of recognition, ca state senate certificate of recognition, ca state assembly certificate of recognition, redwood city certificate of recognition- the organization is currently partnering with 50 nonprofits to provide volunteer opportunities to people we serve in our community connections program. The people we serve contributed over 3,000 service hours to the community this year- adult services' advocacy group has partnered with area board 7, san andreas regional center, and golden gate regional center to provide informational workshops and venues for individuals' voices to be heard- the adult day activities program/community connections enrolled 23 clients at foothill college who attended classes on music appreciation, current events and around the world travel

children's development services ensure that children from birth to nine years of age, and their families, learn the techniques and skills needed to get the best possible start in life. These services are provided through early intervention, therapy clinic services and milestones preschool, an inclusion preschool. This department served 152 unduplicated children and their families this last year. Early intervention early intervention services offers in home and community based services for families and their children from birth to three years old that have development delays or are at risk of delay. The organization's multi disciplinary team of early interventionists, inclusion specialists, and therapists provides structured developmental and educational opportunities. Family participation and support are integral parts of this service. The organization serves families throughout the bay area. Non english speaking families work directly with the organization's spanish bilingual/bicultural staff. Milestones preschool milestones preschool is a relationship-based developmental program providing preschool in an inclusionary environment, supporting children aged 2-5 years and their families. As an inclusion program, milestones preschool serves small groups of children from 2 to 5 years of age both with and without developmental delays or risk factors. The program focuses on individual growth and progress for each child in all developmental domains, using project-based curriculum, access to specialized services, and collaboration with the early intervention and therapy clinic services. Therapy clinic- the therapy clinic offers quality developmental and therapeutic services for children from birth to 9 years of age, fee-for-service, in a clinic setting. The organization believes in a family oriented, collaborative approach that emphasizes parent/caregiver involvement and partnership with other professionals who work with the children. The organization's therapists and staff are trained pediatric specialists with extensive experience and knowledge regarding resources and interventions for young children. In collaboration with other early childhood professionals, the therapy clinic provides high quality 1:1 therapeutic (occupational, physical, speech, vocational therapies) services as well as small group services such as social skill development groups, which improve the quality of life for the children and their family. This year's highlights and accomplishments:- children's development services continues to represent for the early intervention field in "watch me grow", a multi-disciplinary collaborative hosted by stanford - milestones preschool completed another successful cycle of scholarships in fiscal year 2015, which helped two families in need gain access to high quality inclusive early childhood education and support services - milestones preschool expanded its offerings to include a full-day program in addition to half-day programming, based on feedback from families in our community- milestones preschool introduced a project-based curriculum to compliment the inclusive education model- therapy clinic at abilities united is offering partnership support for dr. Grace gengoux's project, titled "social motivation intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder: improving peer initiation", an exciting extension of dr. Gengoux's work with the department by hosting social skills groups for the research project - early intervention continued its partnership with family connections preschools, involving co-teaching with their educators in their classroom and enabling family connections preschools to include children with a greater range of abilities in their preschools, serving menlo park and east palo alto- lucile packard children's hospital, stanford family medicine and ucsf medical departments continue to utilize abilities united's children's development services department for student and resident rotation to observe, learn and collaborate - partnership continued with the institute of human and social development, providing ihsd with occupational therapy support and education.

aquatic services - betty wright aquatic services, through partnership with local community aquatic sites, includes continuum of care services for rehabilitation and fitness goals, and a swim school offering learn-to-swim lessons and adapted aquatics. These services, provided by experienced and skilled practitioners and recreational instructors, serve a diverse cross-section of the community and people of all ages and abilities. All service offerings are overseen by an aquatic physical therapist / clinical services supervisor. This department served 467 unduplicated individuals and their families this last year. Services include personalized assessments, performed by an aquatic physical therapist, 1:1 hydrotherapy / personal training, small group fitness classes, adapted aquatics, summertime water safety classes, and both 1:1 and semi-private swim lessons for children. The organization provides continuum of care services and individualized swim school classes via satellite services at our community partners' pools, located in san jose at the timpany center, in portola valley at the sequoias, hoover pool in redwood city, and in palo alto at channing house. Services are available to children, adults and seniors with and without disabilities. This year's highlights and accomplishments:- this summer. Abilities united and city of redwood city partnered for the second year to offer donated fund subsidized evidence-based-best-practice water safety programming, in english and spanish, to 150 children, many of whom are from low income families.

family support helps families remain together and grow together, as a strong and healthy unit. Support is provided through of after school socialization, computer lab education and respite programs. After school socialization after school socialization is a socialization training and community integration service for children and young adults; age 5 to 22 years old, who have a intellectual / developmental or other disability. Each day offers children and young adults the opportunity to learn the daily living skills that help them to do well in school and social settings, to become more independent, to enjoy recreational opportunities with their peers, and to transition into community afterschool programs that serve children from all walks of life. Additionaly, this program offers two summer camps - creative discoveries camp and summer's excellent adventure camp, an inclusionary summer camp in partnership with the city of palo alto. Computer education the organization's computer education program offers accessible computer and technology classes to help men, women and children of all ages and all abilities develop their everyday living skills and increase their level of independence through training in computer access, academic and daily living skills. Classes may be 1:1 or small group, and can be customized based on an individual's goals. Each computer station at the campus classroom is wheelchair accessible and equipped with adaptive technology tools to accommodate limited range of motion, visual and hearing impairment, or other special needs. A variety of educational software packages designed by education specialists are utilized to teach the various skill sets. Computer education classes can also be accessed in the community at community partner locations. Respite - respeite/home companion services provides highly trained home companions for families caring for a family member with an intellectual/ developmental or other disability. The organization's companions work in private homes and in varied community settings throughout santa clara and san mateo counties, providing care, companionship and fun activities for the person-served of all ages, and giving respite to parents and other primary care givers so that they can go to work, school, vacation, run errands, or care for other family members. This year's highlights and accomplishments:- during its 4th year of collaboration with city of palo alto, summer's excellent adventure's camp was at max capacity. Camp included at least 3 field trips per week for the summer, and provided valuable training for teens and young adults looking to work with children with disabilities. - after school socialization program provided volunteer support and training to 54 volunteers this year through a total of 1,082 hours working with these school age program participants. - creative discoveries camp ran 6 additional weeks of camp, serving an additional 9 campers per week with specialized summer camp experiences.

Community Stories

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Rating: 5

Abilities United provides valuable and critical programs and services for folks with developmental disabilities. The programs are run by skilled, knowledgeable and caring staff. Abilities United is efficient and a good steward of funds and resources raised in the community. As a former Board Member I am proud to support this organization.


Rating: 5

My journey to Abilities United began over six decades ago when my parents had a baby boy, my brother. Shortly, before he turned on, he was diagnosed with congenital brain damage, a fluke of nature, the doctors advised. Two years later another baby boy arrived and,sadly, nature repeated itself. The boys lived short lives, succumbing to pneumonia. Looking back, I cannot imagine how my parents managed without the warm embrace and skilled services of a Chicago-based Abilities United, But there was no such agency. Little did my husband and I know that Abilities United would be standing by when our daughter delivered our first grandchild , three months prematurely. Fortunately, that tiny boy swam early on at the agency's Betty Wright Swim Center. Now he is a strapping 18 year old freshman in college! Our family will remain involved with Abilities United forever.


Rating: 5

I am an ex Board member and continue to volunteer to this organization that provides services to those with disabilities who automatically should be absorbed naturally into our community. Often they aren't due to the ignorance or fear of people who don't understand those with disabilities. Clients have so very much to offer. I continue to strive to get this message out there. I suggest you come by one day; talk to the Staff; learn about all the programs; perhaps meet some clients; only then will you appreciate about what I am talking. Abilities United is one of the warmest places one could be. I would encourage any of you who read this to learn more. Also contribute. We are now looking to replace our vans that take clients to work. They are old and don't have wheelchair access. This holiday season, think of what you can do for someone else who is contributing to our society despite his or her disabilities. And, get to know Abilities United!