To enrich the quality of life for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities by fostering individual growth, creativity, and community involvement through innovative strategies and artistic expression.


A world where people with intellectual and developmental disabilities live healthier and enriched lives, and are nurtured by caring and supportive communities that minimize and eliminate barriers.

Core Beliefs

Everyone deserves compassion, encouragement and respect

Treating people with dignity fosters individual growth and self-advocacy

A healthy and safe environment is critical to well being, social interaction and life long learning

Everyone has a responsibility to contribute to society and be a part of their community

Inclusion, diversity and exchange are keys to the growth of society

Everyone has the right to artistic expression


 DDSO focuses on the possibilities of what an individual with developmental disabilities can do when given the necessary support. We fight cruelty, isolation and neglect by providing safe and stimulating environments that build confidence, skills and social connection. Four primary strategies of support are used to help participants reach their goals throughout eight programs and four special projects.

Visual & Performing Arts

Painting, music, dance, theatre, literature, poetry, gallery exhibitions and digital media are used as vehicles to help participants create, develop and express themselves.  

Daily Living Skills

A patient, caring atmosphere is provided to participants, many with severe and profound developmental disabilities, so they can best develop basic personal and communication skills. Adult Development Centers offer programs and classes about personal finance, household skills, decision making, computer science, language, and self-care. 


Paid employment training opportunities and classroom instruction are offered to participants who learn valuable job skills, including how to interview, maintain employment, contribute meaningfully, and communicate with supervisors and peers. Clients referred by the federal employment outreach program, Ticket to Work, are also served.


Inclusion in the community is a strategy widely used throughout all programs at DDSO. Volunteer projects, visits to museums, restaurants, concerts, sporting events, bowling alleys, theaters, and nature centers are some of the opportunities available for people to engage with one another, regardless of ability. 


With the generous support of community members and funders, the Developmental Disabilities Service Organization is proud to deliver the following results this year:

Years of Service
Volunteer Hours
Clients Served
Artworks Created

Our Team

Yvonne Soto

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Yvonne began her connection with DDSO when she came to Stockton to complete a six-month Music Therapy Internship at the Alan Short Center (ASC) in Stockton. After a brief stint at Deputy Director for DDSO, Yvonne assumed the role of CEO in 2007.

Jennifer Bonacorso

Jennifer has worked at DDSO since 2005 managing the day to day operations of the company. Before moving into the Operations position Jennifer had the fortunate experience to work in the field with DDSO’s clients as a staff member for the Community Integration Program.

Steven Styles

As the Facilities Manager for DDSO–since January 2012–Steven Styles has actively managed all facility-related issues for DDSO campuses and tenant properties. A licensed General Building Contractor, Steven has worked in the facility maintenance and construction industries for over two decades.

Trish Williams

Trish was born and raised in San Francisco, CA but left the city for better weather in Sacramento valley. Trish then joined the DDSO team as a Bookkeeper in 2001. Trish loves pets, especially Loki, the dog that came to her door looking for a new home earlier this year!

Mary Ann Solbrig

Mary Ann is a native Californian, lived out of state for many years and returned in 2012 bringing office skills obtained while working for a non-profit in Colorado. Mary Ann joined DDSO as a Program Secretary in 2014, and as part of the administrative team in January of 2017.

Liz Davis

Liz started officially working for DDSO as an Assistant Director in the ADC program in 1986, but she first began working with ADC in 1985 as an intern in DDSO/UOP’s internship program where she received her master’s degree in Special Education.

Margarita Garcia

Magi started working with DDSO in 1996 as a Secretary through a temp agency. Magi loves being at ASC for many reasons; but especially because clients motivate her to find ways to serve them better.

Dennis Curry

Dennis began working in this field back in 1976. He previously worked at DDSO at Short Center, Alan Short Center and Administrative Office. He thinks outside of “The Box” by offering non-traditional employment training opportunities in such areas as Video and Audio Production.

John Berger

John started working with DDSO in November of 2000 when he was recruited as an art facilitator by current staff. He has been a practicing artist in the Sacramento community for about 10+ years. He also helped revive the greenhouse and a vegetable garden.

Steve Andrews

Steve was born and raised in the New York City Area and moved with his wife to Sacramento in the early 80s. Steve has a Master's Degree in Psychology and has worked as an Administrator within Intermediate Care Facilities as well as Residential Care Facilities.

James Anderson

James C. Anderson is an Ellie Award winning actor and director and in 1988 he founded The Short Center Repertory. He has served as Artistic Director since and The Short Center Repertory has received grants from The National Endowment for the Arts.

Stacey Hilton


Ayo Jacobs


Board Members 2016-2017

  • Patti Wirz – Chair
  • Frank Merlo
  • Linda Reitzenstein
  • Jennifer Kaye – Secretary

    Foundation Board Members 2016-2017

    • Mike Madrid – President
    • Jonathan Greenberg – Secretary
    • Noel Smith – Trustee
    • Patti Wirz – Trustee
    • Jennifer Kaye – Trustee
    • Volunteer on a Board Committee Apply to Join the Board

      History of the Developmental Disabilities Service Organization

       DDSO is celebrating 43 years as one of the most respected non-profit organizations in the Sacramento and San Joaquin regions, providing a diverse range of services for adults with developmental disabilities.

      Established in 1975 during a time when society’s common response to those with disabilities was one of disregard, parents of children with developmental disabilities and Mary Short, wife of California Senator Alan Short, started to establish DDSO. Its inaugural program, The Alan Short Center, was the first of its kind in the nation to utilize visual and performing arts as a tool for teaching people with developmental disabilities. DDSO has since grown to operate 8 day programs located at three different sites. In addition, the organization operates a bookstore in the California State Capitol, has a grant-funded repertory company and produces community murals, artist residencies and other special projects throughout Sacramento and Stockton.

      DDSO was incorporated as a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit corporation with the support and conviction of parents of children with disabilities who expected more from their children and society. Their innovative philosophy embraced the concept that, with adequate support, individuals could move beyond their disabilities to make appropriate lifestyle choices; develop communication, living, and working skills; and explore avenues of artistic expression. They believed that, through full participation in life, and positive interactions with the community at-large, individuals with disabilities could realize their personal potential meeting their own expectations and those of loved ones.