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.
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 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.
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.
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.