One person from each of DDSO’s programs are selected to be honored at Uncork for the Arts on August 15th (get tickets here). Check out the amazing stories of these rockstars!
Short Center South Honoree – Craig Rah
Craig is a very proud person who takes great pride in improving himself. Craig says that attending Short Center South “has made me a better painter and helped me make more friends.” Not only has Craig improved his artistic skills while attending Short Center South, he has also become more outgoing and developed skills that help him to be more independent.
Craig is proud of his sister Cheryl, who is an accomplished artist. Craig appreciates the opportunity to improve his artistic skills at SCS. He enjoys painting on canvas and producing ceramic art. He also enjoys Clave’s Comic Book Class because it is allows him to do something different. In the Comic Book Class, they are able to produce videos from class participants’ artwork. It is not only fun, but also thought provoking. Craig also enjoys music, singing, working in the garden and spending time shopping in local stores.
Craig has a very warm relationship with his careprovider, Barbara Pete, and her daughter and his friend Houston, who drives him to the grocery store and transports him to various activities. He looks forward each year to visiting his sister, Cheryl, who lives in Montana. He and Cheryl have a very close relationship and Cheryl considers her brother “a good friend and a wonderful person in her life.” He has formed many strong friendships with other SCS participants as well as SCS staff.
Craig is described as respectful, conscientious, friendly and very caring.
Community Integration Program Honoree – Elsa Garcia
Elsa Garcia is described as the life of the party when she attends DDSO’s Community Integration Program (CIP). When asked what is the best part about the program, Elsa exclaims “Noreen, she is beautiful!” Her sister, Iris, describes Elsa as jubilant, very social, articulate, friendly and compassionate. She is outgoing and adores her family, and her family adores her.
Elsa has been in the program for over fifteen years. At the golden age of 62, Elsa likes to be busy and interacts with all of the program participants and staff. Next to home it is the most important place for her to be. Elsa lived with her Mom and Dad until her health began to decline in 2004 and she was hospitalized. She was in a nursing facility for awhile and later moved to a carehome. The CIP staff worked with Elsa’s family and the carehome to make the transition easier for Elsa and her family. Though her father passed away in 2006 and her mother in 2012, Elsa’s siblings continue to be a big part of her life. All special holidays are spent with her family, and every Saturday she goes to her family’s home, where her visit is one of great joy. Elsa spends the day with her family members cooking special meals, going shopping, listening to her favorite songs in Spanish and catching up on her favorite Spanish soap operas.
At CIP, Elsa participates in the gardening class, baking class, exercise class, and music class. She works on learning to make purchases on her own when she shops, staying fit and learning to recognize and identify different colors. At all CIP parties she keeps everyone involved and “keeps the party going.” She interacts with other CIP clients and staff and has a compliment for everyone. Elsa is always ready to have a good time: to dance, to sing and to get everyone on board to have a great time with her.
Throughout the challenges and changes in Elsa’s life she has always remained a very positive, loving and happy person. She overcomes the obstacles in her life with dignity and respect.
Transitions for Tomorrow Honoree – Bonnie White
Bonnie joined DDSO in 1986, before T2 existed. She was one of the first clients in the DDSO Adult Development Center. As the ADC program began to grow, the program was split into two programs and T2 was created in 1992. Bonnie has more capabilities than many of her peers and delights in assisting staff whenever she can. Bonnie is very observant and will let staff know if another client needs assistance. Bonnie knows the names of all the T2 clients as well as all the staff and loves to greet them when arriving in the morning. She also is the first to greet any visitors and lets them know they are welcome, and she is happy to see them.
With support from T2 staff Bonnie has learned to be more assertive and advocate for herself. She makes more choices and expresses what she wants to do. Looking her best is very important to her and she loves getting a new hairdo, getting her nails done and wearing pretty clothes. She also loves to have a good time and enjoys dancing at program parties.
With support from her extended family, carehome provider and T2 staff, Bonnie continues to overcome many challenges and doesn’t let them set her back. She always moves forward with a smile and love for everyone.
Employment Plus Honoree – Sam Stanovic
When Sam was asked what he thought about being chosen the E+ 2015 Outstanding Participant, he said, “You’re kidding, right? It is such a great honor. I don’t feel worthy of getting it.” A soft-spoken and humble gentleman, Sam keeps moving forward with a positive attitude to achieve his life dreams and goals: to have a job and to be independent. As an E+ participant, Sam’s talent for remembering facts and trivia about sports, movies, TV shows, and music has been a key element in Sam’s skill as a writer of short stories for the film and radio series that are produced at E+. Sam was the key writer of E+’s short video production “Kiss of the Dead: A Zombie Love Story,” and the radio series “The Adventures of Wheelchair Man,” a lampoon about a superhero who uses a wheelchair. He likes to write comedy inspired by the Three Stooges and Warner Brothers’ cartoons.
Sam’s dream job is to work in a library, organizing stuff and learning a lot more. Employment Plus staff is committed to assisting Sam towards being in the workforce and fulfilling his life dreams. What Sam likes best about E+ is “that the program motivates participants to get into the workforce.”
Sam grew up in San Leandro and moved to Sacramento in 1998. He has a twin brother, and drives a 2000 Taurus that he got from his dad. Prior to coming to E+ he worked at Celebration Party Rental in Roseville and was also a teacher’s aid at American River College. He has an AS in Mathematics and assists other E+ clients in the Math 1 class. He is detail orientated and very conscientious. Sam’s can-do attitude makes him a positive role model for other participants in E+.