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48 Families Graduate from 2016-17 Promotora Program

Esperanza Community Housing Celebrates 20 Years of Promoter Training

Top row: The Promotora Project graduated 48 of the 52 Lanterman families who participated in the yearlong program from July 2016 to June 2017. This picture includes some of the families along with a few Lanterman service coordinators.
Middle row, left: Koch-Young Resource Center Director Rose Chacana (left) with Esperanza Community Housing Executive Director Nancy Halpern Ibrahim (center), and Lanterman Executive Director Melinda Sullivan (right)
Middle row, right: Koch-Young Resource Center Director Rose Chacana (left) with Norma Benitez (center), director of Health Programs, Esperanza Community Housing, and Lanterman Executive Director Melinda Sullivan (right)
Bottom row: Norma Benitez addresses attendees at the luncheon celebrating the 20th anniversary of Esperanza's Community Health Promoter Training.
In September 2013, Lanterman Regional Center started a pilot project with Esperanza Community Housing. "The focus of the project was to help Lanterman families increase utilization of both regional center and generic services, and learn to better navigate the service system," explains Koch-Young Resource Center Director Rose Chacana.
The project started with 52 families and two promotoras. Each year in June since then, Lanterman has recruited a new set of 52 families. "This year due to disparities funding (ABX2 1) we were able to expand the program by adding two additional promotoras who are working with an additional 52 families," adds Rose. The program was also expanded to Lanterman's Korean community through the Korean Youth Community Center. KYCC developed a similar program called Community Health Workers, and currently there are 20 Korean-speaking families participating in the program.
So this year alone, a total of 124 Lanterman families are participating, and in total, including this year, the program has served 332 families.

While the program at Lanterman is only a few years old, Esperanza recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Community Health Promoter Training with a luncheon.
Norma Benitez, director of Health Programs, Esperanza Community Housing, shares, "For the past 20 years Esperanza has witnessed the power of community determination, resiliency and hope as community members embark on the journey of personal and community transformation. Through that journey, agencies such as yours have been instrumental in providing our promotoras a platform to thrive and grow into the professionals they are today. Thank you for taking a chance and believing in our promotoras and collaborating with us."

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July 21 to 27 ~ “Swim Team” Documentary Screens in LA

Parents of a boy on the autism spectrum form a competitive swim team, recruiting other teens on the spectrum and training them with high expectations and zero pity. "Swim Team" chronicles the extraordinary rise of three diverse young athletes, capturing a moving quest for inclusion, independence and a life that feels winning.

The documentary will screen in Los Angeles from Friday, July 21 to Thursday, July 27, 2017 at the Laemmle Monica Film Center located at 1332 2nd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Screenings will be held daily at 1:50 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 7:20 p.m. and 9:55 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday, there will also be an 11:10 a.m. screening.

Use promo code TeamUp for a discount on tickets purchased at Friday and Saturday after 6 p.m.: $10 each; all other times: $8 each


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July 29 ~ Families with Disabilities Day at LAX

Families with Disabilities Day at LAX is being held on Saturday, July 29, 2107 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Los Angeles Airport Police Station and is a great opportunity for families with disabilities to inquire about the airport, air travel, customs, screening and other subjects of interest.

Additional information about this free event:

  • Learn about disability services and support offered at LAX.
  • Take part in carnival games, airport police demonstrations, food, music and entertainment.
  • Get tips on how to more easily travel with a disability.
  • Visit the booths of various LAX stakeholders who are committed to providing quality service and advocacy to persons with disabilities.
  • Meet the friendly officers of the Airport Police Department.

Participants must register at

Please note: Online registration ONLY. The event is limited to 1,000 participants. All registrations will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.


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2016-17 Project SEARCH Class Graduates Seven

First row: 2016-17 Project SEARCH interns with staff
Second row, left: Intern Andrew Francisco gave the student address at graduation
Second row, right: Intern George Chan with his diploma
Third row, left: Interns George Chan and Edgar Lopez (right)
Third row, right: Intern Amalia Reoyo Olazabal with her father, Gerardo Reoyo, who gave the parent address
Fourth row, left: Gildardo Hernandez celebrating after being presented with his diploma
Fourth row, right: Ariel Alvarez celebrating after receiving his diploma
Fifth row, left: Intern Bruce Ictue with his mother, Leslie Pineda, who also gave the parent address
Fifth row, right: Interns George Chan, Andrew Francisco, Bruce Ictue and Amalia Reoyo Olazabal

Seven interns took part in a graduation ceremony on June 8, marking their completion of Project SEARCH - a year-long work training program for students with disabilities. The internships at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center (LAMC) offer entry-level work experience through rotations across such departments as Environmental Services, Food and Nutrition Services, Materials Management, Neurology, and Obstetrics and Gynecology. Project SEARCH interns attend the off-campus class at LAMC five days a week for communication, independent living, work readiness and reflection instruction, followed by worksite rotations. Now in its second year as a Project SEARCH site, LAMC has provided school-to-work experience to 20 students with disabilities, and currently employs two former interns.

Interns of the 2017 graduating class are Ariel Alvarez, George Chan, Andrew Francisco, Gildardo Hernandez, Bruce Ictue, Edgar Lopez and Amalia Reoyo Olazabal.

Securing employment after graduation is a concern for every young adult. But for students with special needs, the challenge can feel insurmountable. An estimated 84 percent of adults with developmental disabilities do not have a paid job. Project SEARCH, a high school transition program, is changing that with a unique, one year, school-to-work experience program that takes place entirely at a host workplace. And for the second year, Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center is an active partner, helping students with special needs learn the skills they’ll need to get ahead in the workplace. The success of this program is a collaboration from Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center (Host Site), Los Angeles Unified School District (Education Partner), PathPoint (Employment Vendor), and Frank D. Lanterman Regional Center. All collaborating parties have a role and responsibility to the operation and success of the program. All are committed and passionate to increase work opportunities for students with disabilities in our communities. Congratulations to all of this year's graduates.

Lanterman has 10 clients enrolled for the 2017-18 school year in Project SEARCH. Los Angeles Unified School District students interested in the applying for the 2018-19 school year should contact their service coordinator.

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Individuals with Decades of Service Come Together for ARCA Director Eileen Richey’s Retirement

Top row, left to right: ARCA Executive Director (retired) Eileen Richey, Lanterman Executive Director Melinda Sullivan, and DDS Director Nancy Bargmann
Second row, left: Denny Amundson, former DDS director and chief of staff for Assemblymember Frank D. Lanterman
Second row, right: ARCA Government Affairs/Community Relations Director Daniel Savino and ARCA Legislative Advocate Rick Rollens present Eileen with a resolution
Third row, left: Amy Westling, ARCA's new executive director
Third row, right: Santi Rogers, former DDS director and current executive director at San Andreas Regional Center

It was a veritable who's who in the field of developmental disabilities at Eileen Richey's retirement event as she left her position as executive director of the Association of Regional Center Agencies (ARCA). Eileen spent her 35-year professional career in the developmental disabilities services field starting in Michigan, but with the bulk of it in California, including serving in many roles at the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), plus as director of Area Board 10, working at MENTOR Network, and finally, first as a consultant for ARCA and later as ARCA's executive director.

Eileen devoted her professional career to bettering the lives and opportunities of people with developmental disabilities, striving to improve service systems as a whole while never losing focus on the importance of the individuals served by those systems.

Attendees at the event included Denny Amundson, who served as the master of ceremonies. Denny, started his career in the field in the early 1970s working for Assemblymember Frank D. Lanterman, and as his chief of staff drafted the Lanterman Act and follow-on bills. He also served as executive director for North Los Angeles County Regional Center, as a consultant in the field and later as director of DDS in the 1990s. Also in attendance was current DDS Director Nancy Bargmann, who herself has over 30 years of experience in serving individuals with developmental disabilities, including a wealth of knowledge in developing community resources, and Santi Rogers, who has enjoyed over 45 years of working in the field, with 27 years being in various positions at DDS, including as director of the Department, and with over 20 years as executive director of San Andreas Regional Center, a position he still holds today.

Also at the event was ARCA's new executive director, Amy Westling, who has been with ARCA since March 2012, serving in a variety of capacities including senior policy analyst, director of policy, associate director, and as interim executive director since February 2017. Amy has worked within the regional center system for nearly 18 years, including at Alta California Regional Center coordinating the movement of individuals with developmental disabilities from institutional to community settings and at Central Valley Regional Center overseeing service coordination in rural Merced and Mariposa counties. During her five years at ARCA she had a major role in the following successes:

  • Successful restoration of the Early Start eligibility criteria for infants and toddlers at risk of developmental disability;
  • Documenting the fiscal struggles of the service system as the principal author of ARCA’s publication "On the Brink of Collapse," which led to a $500 million increase in annual funding for California’s developmental services system;
  • Minimizing service disruption in the transition of funding from regional centers to private and public health insurers; and,
  • Greater cohesion at the statewide level with major stakeholders around issues of mutual interest and concern.

We wish Eileen all the best as she embarks on her next chapter and welcome Amy to her new position.

ARCA represents California’s community-based network of 21 independent non-profit regional centers, which provide lifelong services to approximately 300,000 individuals with developmental disabilities. For more information about ARCA, please visit

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ECF Begins Transitioning Programs/Services as Part of CMS Final Rule

Pictured from left to right at the new ECF location in Inglewood: ECF staff Benjamin Sandoval and Aide Herrera, with Lanterman Executive Director Melinda Sullivan, ECF CEO Scott Bowling, and Lanterman Community Services Director Karen Ingram

The CMS Final Rule expects services to individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities to be provided in integrated settings. The Exceptional Children’s Foundation (ECF) has begun transitioning their programs and services by offering participants more choices and more opportunities to work in the community. ECF has developed work training opportunities that include candle making, computer classes and art galleries. The Uniquely Abled Academy trains individuals with autism to operate machinery and parts for the aerospace industry.  Upcoming academies include Warehouse Management and Culinary Arts. 
ECF staff Benjamin Sandoval and Aide Herrera (pictured) run the Uniquely Abled Academy at Glendale Community College. In addition to the classroom training, ECF helps regional center participants find jobs using their new skills, and supported employment job coaching once the individual is hired.

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Applications Now Being Accepted for Fall Uniquely Abled Academy

The goal of The Uniquely Abled Project is to shift the paradigm of thinking from “disabled” to “uniquely abled." It starts by preparing people with high-functioning autism to take on high-performing jobs in the workplace through an innovative job-training program held at Glendale Community College and appropriately called, The Uniquely Abled Academy. Applications are now being accepted for the Fall 2017 Uniquely Abled Academy.

The Uniquely Abled Academy is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between machine technology educators, specialists in education for those with autism, representatives from state and local social service agencies, and non-profit and for-profit organizations. This exceptional combination is dedicated to properly train, place in the workforce and provide on-going support for qualified students seeking skill-specific well-paying jobs within the manufacturing industry.

For more information about this unique vocational training program, check out the flyer for the open house being held Tuesday, August 15, 2017. The open house will be held at Glendale Community College from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and is for parents and students. Attendees need to RSVP and request a parking permit from Applications are due Wednesday, August 30, 2017 and classes start September 18, 2017.


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Full Steam Ahead: Fun with Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math

The Los Angeles Public Library presents Full Steam Ahead: Fun with Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math.

Space is limited. Attend one or both of the upcoming sessions being held for Lanterman clients between the ages of 8 to 14.  

Squishy Circuits
Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Use special dough to create electrical circuits to make LED bulbs light up and discover how some materials conduct electricity!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Learn about circuits and electricity as you use everyday objects, like bananas, instead of a keyboard to use the computer!

For questions, more information and to register, contact 213.252.5600 or


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Join Us for Storytime at KYRC on August 24

Join the Koch-Young Resource Center and guest librarian Ms. Glenda for a back to school storytime. You'll have fun going through a school day with Ollie and making new friends with Chu.

This event is for children and their parents and will be held on Thursday, August 24, 2017 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the KYRC Library.

Register online by August 22, 2017 to reserve your spot.

For questions, more information and to register, contact 213.252.5600 or


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Restore Respite - Contact Governor Brown

Late last week, the Budget Conference Committee gave our system half a victory thanks to your advocacy. Starting January 1, 2018, the Legislature has agreed to lift the cap on respite. If this is approved by the Governor, this critical service can once again be provided based on family need, not an arbitrary limit. Neither social recreation nor camp were restored.

Now these agreements will be sent to the full Assembly and Senate for approval, and then the Governor will need to sign off on them. This will all happen by June 30.

At this point, advocacy needs to be focused on the last hurdle - the Governor's office.

Contact Governor Brown and ask him to "please restore respite services for people with developmental disabilities."

Phone: 916.445.2841 or E-mail: Web form here

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LA County Recognizes John Eley for Outstanding Community Service

Photo on left: John Eley and Photo on right: Representative from Los Angeles County; John Eley; Helen Dersjant, Skills Instructor II Villa ADP; and Cynthia Banks, Director at County of Los Angeles, Community and Senior Services

The Los Angeles County Commission for Older Adults and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recently recognized John Eley for his “Outstanding Community Service.” John regularly volunteers at a variety of nonprofits with other participants of the Villa Esperanza Services’ Adult Day Program.
Each Friday for the past six years, John has helped set tables and serve lunches to between 85 to 100 individuals experiencing homelessness at Union Station Homeless Services in Pasadena. He also helps deliver Meals on Wheels to homebound seniors for the Glendale Salvation Army twice weekly.
John’s community involvement affords him the opportunity to grow his customer and social skills all while connecting with others, giving back to his community and staying active. He enjoys his volunteer activities and the relationships he has built. Thanks John, for making a difference in your community!

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Frank Lanterman’s Legacy

In 1979, the regional center leaves Children's Hospital Los Angeles and is reorganized as a nonprofit freestanding agency, the Los Angeles County Developmental Services Foundation. The agency is dedicated to Frank D. Lanterman and he agrees to lend it his name. Pictured from left to right: Asenath Young, Dr. Richard Koch, Frank Lanterman and then Executive Director Diane Anand at the dedication. 

"Assemblymember Frank D. Lanterman was a hero to people with developmental disabilities," shared Diane Anand in her June 4 presentation at the Lanterman House in La Cañada. The presentation was part of an almost yearlong special exhibit called "The Legacy of Frank Lanterman (1901-1981)." Diane (pictured below) spoke about Lanterman's work in the Legislature on behalf of people with developmental disabilities, including the signature piece of legislation that bears his name - the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act, commonly known as the Lanterman Act.

The exhibit runs through December 21, 2017 and gives insight into the multi-faceted life of this famous La Cañada resident. From his early days as a musician and political activist to his 28-year term in the California State Assembly, Frank Lanterman was always a champion for the local community. The exhibition draws from seldom-seen materials that comprise the Frank Lanterman Collections belonging to the Archive of Lanterman House.

Read the 50th anniversary edition of the History of the Regional Centers: Strengthening the Commitment...Reinvesting in the System: A Journey of Community Partnership to learn more about Assemblymember Lanterman's work.

View the documentary film We’re Here to Speak for Justice: Founding California’s Regional Centers to learn more about the early years and the founding of the regional center system.

Learn more about the Lanterman House, the special exhibit on Lanterman's legacy, and how to visit the house, on their Web site.

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Special Exhibit at California Museum to Focus on Advocacy and Art

If your summer travels take you to Sacramento, be sure to stop by and check out the California Museum special exhibit, “Art and Advocacy: To Be Developmentally Disabled (TBD)” that will feature original works by California artists with developmental disabilities. The exhibit is displayed at the California Museum - home of the California Hall of Fame - and is presented in partnership with the California Disability Community Action Network (CDCAN) and Choices Person Centered Services with the California Person Centered Advocacy Partnership, Claraty Arts and The Art of Autism.

The exhibit challenges assumptions about people with developmental disabilities - their lives, relationships, experiences, hopes and dreams. The exhibit - the first of its kind at the California Museum - is meant to further awareness that advocacy comes in many forms, including art, that can be at its best, as powerful as any public testimony at a budget hearing or at a protest rally for disability rights. This is about advocacy and art - centered on the person and their families and friends, including places where they live and work.
The exhibit runs from June 15 to September 17, 2017.


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Los Angeles County Library Offers Free Family Passes to SoCal Museums

Discover & Go is a new LA County Library initiative that provides families the opportunity to visit museums in Southern California for free. Library card holders, above the age of 18, can visit the Discover & Go online portal to reserve free family passes to local Southern California museums.

Museums, much like libraries, serve as community gathering places and provide rich experiences for visitors. This is a great way to enhance cultural experiences involving all Southern California museums and cultural institutions.

Through the Discover & Go program, partnering museums and cultural institutions provide the LA County Library a limited number of free passes to library card holders, who can go online and reserve free family passes. All free tickets are first come, first served, until all tickets are exhausted for the month. 

Museums currently participating in the County Library program include: Autry Museum, Craft & Folk Art Museum, Japanese American National Museum, Kidspace Children's Museum, La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, LACMA, La Plaza de Cultura y Artes, Muckenthaler Cultural Center, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Pasadena Museum of California Art, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Skirball Museum, and more.

For more information on this program, or to reserve free family passes, visit


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Support Our Back to School YouCaring Fundraiser

We know summer hasn't event started yet, but we're already working to get the new school year off to a great start for Lanterman clients between 3 to 18 years whose families are experiencing financial hardship, and we need your help.

Lanterman is receiving a donation of 400 backpacks from Baby2Baby and Premier Healthcare Services, and we’re turning to our community to help us raise the funds to fill them with basic age-appropriate school supplies.

We've started a YouCaring fundraiser and for every $25 we raise, we’ll be able to fill one backpack with supplies, including everything from crayons, markers, glue, scissors and paper for the younger students, to pens, spiral notebooks, binders, rulers and calculators for the older students.

Service coordinators will be nominating their clients who are most in need and clients will receive their backpack and supplies on July 28, 2017 at a back-to-school event being hosted by Lanterman.

Please support this fundraiser campaign and help make the fall school year a special time for clients, and take a little bit of the stress off of parents who are struggling to send their kids back to school.


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CDCAN Report: DDS Selects Arizona Firm to Conduct Regional Center Provider Rate Study

Following is an excerpt from the May 17, 2017 CDCAN Report:

The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) announced this week that it intends to contract with Burns and Associates, a Phoenix-based consulting firm, to conduct a long awaited regional center provider rate study and to provide recommendations for a “simplified rate setting methodology” for providing services and supports to eligible children and adults with developmental disabilities in California.

A rate study when completed – if viewed as credible, comprehensive and accurate by advocates and policymakers – could have sweeping impact on community-based services and supports for hundreds of thousands children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families, and thousands of community based providers and workers across California.


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Outlook Newspapers Writes Article About Pasadena Providers and First Responders Seminar

Check out the May 4, 2017 article by Shel Segal of Outlook Newspapers called "Bridging the Gap Between First Responders and the Disabled" about a recent seminar held by Pasadena service providers and first responders.

Following is an excerpt from the article:
Emergencies can happen without warning. And although first responders do their best, there are times they come across situations that make the emergency even more challenging, including communicating with individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Villa Esperanza Services, AbilityFirst and Professional Child Development Associates joined forces recently and presented a seminar and training session at Ambassador Auditorium to help train families and caregivers how to work with law enforcement and first responders.


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The Pasadena Star-News Publishes Editorial on Developmental Services Funding

The Editorial Board of The Pasadena Star-News published "State must not siphon off developmental services funding" on May 09, 2017.

Following in an excerpt from the article:
An idea floating around the Capitol deserves the full support of legislators and the governor: that savings from the upcoming closures of California’s three remaining developmental centers should be used to sustain developmental services, and not be swept into the state’s general fund.


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Promotora Program Expands, Community Health Workers Trained

Lanterman Regional Center, along with Esperanza Housing, has expanded the Promotora Program with the recruitment and training of two additional promotoras that will be providing services to 52 newly enrolled Spanish-speaking Lanterman families. 

In addition, starting in January, the Promotora program was replicated with the Korean Youth Community Center (KYCC), and two community health workers were recruited and began training to provide services to 20 Korean-speaking families.

"This model has proven to be a successful strategy in targeting disparities and increasing access to services for clients living at home with their parents," shares Rose Chacana, director, Koch-Young Resource Center. "The community health workers/promotoras build community trust through home visitations and mentoring. They are leaders in the community who speak the same language and understand the challenges our families face."

With training completed in April, work with families began right away. Pictured at the graduation/certification of the new promotoras/community health workers (from left to right): Norma Benitez, health director at Esperanza Housing, who oversees the Promotora Program and training of new community health workers/promotoras; Lisbeth Vilchez, new Spanish-speaking promotora for Esperanza; Juana Calel, new Spanish-speaking promotora for Esperanza; Geumjin "Ginny" Yoo, new community health worker for KYCC; Hannah Lim, new community health worker for KYCC; Nayon Kang, assistant division director for KYCC; and Jaime Cha McGrath, Lanterman family support specialist.

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Scrub a Dub, Dub…Soap Making Class Held for Adult Clients

Jaime Cha McGrath, Lanterman family support specialist, recently led a four-session soap making class for adult clients. 

Attended by a total of seven clients, some of whom came with a parent, adult sibling or aide, participants not only learned about the soap making process, but also about health and hygiene. And most importantly, they had an opportunity to make new friends.

All participants had hands on experience making the soaps themselves. They made soaps of different colors, shapes and fragrances. Once the soaps were ready, they packaged their products into gift bags to take home for themselves or give as a gift.

With lots of interest in another class, we are currently in the process of exploring locations to partner with to host future classes, and will keep everyone posted as to the next soap making opportunity.

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