The Santa Cruz Training Program has been dedicated to serving children and adults with disabilities within Santa Cruz County for more than 46 years .The training program was founded by Ana Maria Copola. An advocate for children with disabilities who started to get other parents involved in starting a program to meet the needs of children with disabilities. It started as a pilot program during the summer. It was being offered to children with disabilities who were not attending elementary schools within Santa Cruz County. Later the pilot program developed into a year round schooling program for children with disabilities.
The program now gets direct funding from the state. The amount of funds they receive throughout the year, depends primarily on the number of members. Donations and grants also help to support the program. Personal donations as well as big business donations are accepted, to help keep the program in our community.
Marina Gallhouse is the director of the program She is one of 65 members who work in assisting 70 children and adults with disabilities. The program serves children from birth all through adulthood. The training program also provides transportation and many other services to help meet the needs of its members. One of their programs consists of helping 23 members develop social skills and learn hands on a specific trade of choice.
One of the services the training program offers is employment to adults with disabilities. The training program has a kitchen as well as a Café where members learn to cook, bake, sell, serve, and waitressing skills. The program also has nursery where adults with disabilities learn about gardening. Members learn about planting seeds, and caring for plants and cultivating vegetables, which are later sold at the Farmer’s Market.
Grounds keeping is another trade members learn at the training program. The program consists of having members do contracted work within the community, such as Unisource, Liberty Waters, and for private contractors.
The second program is the rehabilitation and recreational with 28 members. This program helps members learn soft skills such as how to communicate and interact with the public. They participate in variety of social activities like bowling, going to the movies, visit the Santa Fe Ranch and Nogales Infantil. According to Mrs.Gallhouse, “Taking them to these places is very therapeutic for them, it helps them to socialize and keep them active.”
The Santa Cruz Training Program also has 2 group homes, which includes 24/7 staff who care for our members. “Our priority is to make sure our members are well cared for, we want to make lasting contributions towards creating a better environment for our members” said, Mrs. Gallahouse.
The program for children is very different from the adult services they provide. The services they provide to children with disabilities are done at the convenience of their home. These are basically respite care, and rehabilitation services. Children learn occupational skills and personal care. All these types of services are available to families in Santa Cruz County. Not every child or family has the same needs. The services offered to them are dependant on eligibility.
The staff at the Santa Cruz Training Program are mostly women, we have 10 male staff members who work directly with our members. “All our staff members are dedicated individuals who work the extra mile to provide quality care to members” said Marina Gallahouse.
Our training program is centered on providing quality care to our members. We go out of way to help our members receive the best vocational and rehabilitation services in Santa Cruz County. Mrs. Gallahouse believes this is the main reason why our program has been successful. “Our program is very different from other programs being offered in Santa Cruz County, we specialize in providing a quality of training for our members that will provide them a fair chance to thrive and better handle their disability” said, Mrs. Gallahouse.
The Santa Cruz Training program has grown into a successful vocational training program for individuals with disabilities providing them with an opportunity to live healthy productive lives. For anyone interested in having a love one with disabilities enroll in our program please contact us at: (520) 287-2043.