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“Providing Opportunities”

The Santa Cruz Training Programs are dedicated to serving children and adults with disabilities in Santa Cruz County for 50 years. Last year in November, they celebrated their 50th anniversary. The training program was founded by Ana Maria Coppola. 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 of 1968. 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 receives direct funding from the state. The number 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 Galhouse is the director of the program She is one of 94 employees who work in assisting 78 children and adults with disabilities. The program serves children from birth through adulthood. The training program also provides transportation and many other services to help meet the needs of its members. 

“Our training program is centered on providing quality care to our members. We go out of the way to help our members receive the best vocational and rehabilitation services in Santa Cruz County. Our members are our top priority they are like family to us,” said  Mrs. Galhouse.

One of the services the training program offers is employment to adults with disabilities.  Another part of their programs consists of helping 23 members develop social skills and learn hands-on a specific trade of choice. 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 a 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. 

Groundskeeping is another trade members learn at the training program. The program consists of having members do contract work within the community, such as Unisource, Liberty Waters, and for private contractors.

Another program the SCTP offers 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. The members participate in a variety of social activities like bowling, going to the movies, visit the Santa Fe Ranch and Nogales Infantil. 

These activities are therapeutic helping the members socialize and stay active. La Española DTTA  is a program that provides specialized sensory-motor, cognitive, communicative, social interaction, and behavioral training. The Santa Cruz Training Program has 2 group homes, which includes 24/7 staff who care for our members.

The program for children is 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. 

“All our staff members are dedicated individuals who work the extra mile to provide quality care to members. We work hard to maintain a safe and healthy environment for our members,” said Marina 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 loved one with disabilities enroll in our program please contact us at: (520) 287-2043.


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