The College of Adaptive Arts (CAA) is a cutting-edge model of engaging special needs adults in society who are typically regarded as having minimal skills and abilities. Our mission is to provide an environment where adult students with differing abilities can flourish and thrive and continue to push the boundaries of their potential. CAA offers classes in the arts, health, and wellness to these adults of varying abilities. Classes are designed at appropriate difficulty levels to give them confidence in exploring areas of interest.
Existing models for engaging adults with disabilities are typically home-based day programs with minimal opportunities for self-directed activity choices. Often adults are with the same care provider and small group of clients all day every day, where monotony and mundane daily schedules are the norm. These programs do not provide systematic opportunities for intellectual engagement or learning new skills based upon inherent interests or abilities. Many of the best programs end at age 22 leaving with few meaningful options past this age.
CAA improves upon existing efforts to engage adults of varying abilities by giving them an array of curricula to choose from based on their interests, talents, abilities, or area of new inquiry. CAA also provides high-functioning adults with hidden disabilities the opportunity for leadership training as assistant professors and support staff to adult students with developmental and cognitive differences. CAA improves upon existing services through development of new programs that extend above and beyond the existing model primarily focused on safety and occupation of time. Instead, cumulative artistic work and related venues for showcasing of ability provide students with regular opportunities to successfully contribute to their community.
This approach is unique and systemic because the model taps the potential of many groups of adults with disabilities who are viewed and treated by the community as peripheral, marginal members. Our environment maximizes everyone’s talents and potential through motivating and interpersonal classroom, performance, and community experiences. By giving these adults the opportunity to gain self-esteem and confidence in their abilities through successful participation in classes and performances, they are able to positively respond in other areas of their life. Students are able to find their voice as they and their community recognize the value they can offer.
CAA’s first priority is to secure regular funding sources to support operations and continue to expand our programs. Grant funding will give CAA the ability to create a solid infrastructure, including the initial ability to pay our qualified, professional staff a wage that can support family life here in Silicon Valley as well as the initiation of employee benefits such as healthcare. During the grant support period, CAA will be able to pay organization leadership, including financial management and fund development leaders. Through focused fund development, grants proposals will be written, new donor populations will be identified and solicited, major donor identification and solicitation will begin, and social marketing and traditional marketing plans will be instituted. We appreciate the opportunity to show you our strengths and truly hope that the State Council on Developmental Disabilities can see the value we add in this nontraditional and unconventional College and help endorse us as we move to improve the livelihood of our beautiful student body today and in the future