As we reflect on another year of triumphs and challenges at AbilityFirst, we think of the individuals in our programs who triumph over their own personal challenges every day to achieve their personal best. Thanks to your generous support, nearly 2,000 children, teens and adults with physical and developmental disabilities participated in AbilityFirst programs last year. In total, more than 100,000 people have benefitted since our beginnings as the Crippled Children’s Society of Southern California in 1926.
AbilityFirst programs create an environment where everyone belongs and is valued. With the support of our staff and volunteers, the children and teens in our After School Programs and adults in our Adult Day Programs made progress this year toward their individual goals. Each person became more independent and learned more effective ways to communicate his or her wants and needs and interact with others.
Because of the same mutual trust between participants, staff and volunteers, the adults in our Work Centers and Supported Employment Program gained job skills and earned on average 11% more wages than the prior year. And, twenty-three new individuals were hired by local employers with the help of AbilityFirst job developers and job coaches.
At AbilityFirst Camp Paivika, as at all our centers and group homes, our first consideration is always for the well-being of our participants. Children, teens and adults with mild to severe physical and developmental disabilities came to Camp Paivika for horseback riding, swimming, adaptive sports, campfires and cookouts, arts and crafts, performing arts and other enjoyable, enriched activities. Families enjoyed a break from the rigors and challenges of caring for their disabled loved ones, while campers thrived as they explored new activities that promote health, fitness and independence in a nurturing atmosphere of friendship and possibility.
Residents of our two group homes, Crown House and Sierra Rose, participated in a variety of monthly community outings, and welcomed family members and friends for holiday dinners. Many of them also spent a week at Camp Paivika.
Thank you for being part of AbilityFirst! Together we stand for, and alongside, people with disabilities and their families. Your contributions are vital to our success in fulfilling our mission and helping AbilityFirst to achieve its personal best.
Richard R. Frank
President and CEO