Santa Cruz Training Program (SCTP) has been helping children and adults with disabilities for over 46 years. The Santa Cruz Training Program provides children, young people, and adults with training opportunities. Individuals enrolled in the program have an opportunity to learn a variety of trades such as: cooking, grounds keeping, customer service and sales skills.
The training program also has a Recreational and Rehabilitative Day Program, and a Home & Community Based Service Program, (HCBS) for people with disabilities. The HCBS program provides direct care services, rehabilitation, housekeeping and respite care for individuals with disabilities. The training program has two group homes. In one group home, they currently have 4 adults with disabilities who attend their day program weekly. The 2nd group home is for older individuals in retirement, in which there are 4 residents. Santa Cruz Training Program is an inclusive program in which their members enjoy weekends engaging in social activities such as attending church or social gatherings.
Marina Galhouse has been the director of the Santa Cruz Training Program for over 34 years. She supervises a staff department coordinators, dedicated individuals who enjoy working in the field of social services. The department coordinators are responsible for other staff and the well-being of the members. They make sure to stay in compliance with the state and The Department of Health Services by following proper procedures to ensure the homes, buildings and vehicles are in optimal condition for their members.
Mrs. Galhouse was originally born at St. Joseph’s hospital where Burger King is now located. She attended kindergarten at the Bunny School, continued her elementary and junior high studies at Our Lady of Lourdes Academy. She graduated from Nogales High School. Mrs. Galhouse continued her studies at Northern Arizona University. There she completed a degree in Special Education and Early Childhood, with a minor in Spanish. She met her husband of 34 years at NAU. She believes workshops, conferences and extensive training have provided her with the skills and knowledge needed for her to be effective in her work.
According to Mrs. Galhouse, “Her education has provided her with many opportunities but it was her strong family foundation that has really impacted her work ethics along with the support of her parents and siblings.” She highly enjoys working in this field. She believes it is important to provide individuals with disabilities a safe, and pleasant environment where they will be able to thrive.
Mrs. Galhouse is humbled by the opportunity to work with people with disabilities. “They have changed my perspective on life, they inspire me to learn something new every day” said, Galhouse. She believes people with disabilities are special in many ways. The program has benefited the community since 1968, providing every family in the county with a child or family member with special needs, an opportunity to thrive.
“This is my vocational calling, I enjoy the work I do. As long as I am able, I would like to continue to improve the services we provide here”, said Marina Galhouse. Although her plans at first were to work in early intervention with children with special needs, life unexpectedly had other plans, which eventually moved her into the position she holds now.
SCTP has made lasting contributions to the the community by creating a better environment for individuals with disabilities. According to Mrs. Galhouse, “It is important for parents to advocate, support and love their special needs child.” Parents with special needs children need to be extremely involved in their child’s development.
Being involved means attending the IEP meetings and asking teachers about their child’s progress. Parents need to know their rights too. Children with special needs require specific services to help them throughout their development. Schools offer programs that teach specific skills to children with special needs which are extremely important to their progress. Success will only occur if the parents form a partnership with the schools to help meet their child’s educational goals. Learning does not stop in the schools, it continues. Parents are the child’s first educators. Therefore, it is important for parents to encourage their children to complete their studies.
Galhouse says,“Having the community’s support is invaluable to the program, as our members go out into the community to work and demonstrate their abilities.” It is important to have this support because it benefits the community and the economy too. This opportunity provides our members the exposure, practice and opportunity to continue learning more skills in all areas while at the same time contributing to the society.
For the past two years, with the support of the local community, SCTP has participated in collaboration with other organizations such as DDD, SCC Public Fiduciary and Horizon Human Services in planning a “Spring Dance” for adults with disabilities in Santa Cruz County. “The Spring Dance allows them an opportunity to feel special and worthy, especially for all the hard work they do on a daily basis” said, Galhouse.
The 3rd “Spring Dance” is still in the planning stages for March 20, 2015. “Last year’s theme was “New Orleans”, this next one will be a Western theme, so mark your calendars for a special “Spring Dance” coming up in spring of 2015” said, Mrs. Galhouse. For more information or to be a part of the planning committee please contact us at (520) 287-6271.