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“This is a dream come true for us,” said Powers of the tour. “It sounds quite grand, but we are being very fiscally conservative about it.”. Behind the scenes, ballet officials hinted they have already made some progress in the search for Ziesel’s replacement. “Jose has an amazing Rolodex,” said Powers, “and I’m sure we will have some exciting news on that front soon.”. Powers pointed to the tour as a sign that things were looking up for the company: “We don’t have all the answers but we are feeling quite positive.”.
LIVERMORE — Robby Houghton recently turned 22, and like many young adults he loves dancing, playing sports, listening to music and drawing, “Every phase of my son’s life, I’ve looked for ways to maximize his world,” said his mother, Susan Houghton, “As much as I love my son, he can’t live with me the rest of his life.”, Discouraged by the lack of options available for Robby after his graduation from Dublin High, Houghton decided to take matters into her own hands, The former Lawrence Livermore Lab spokeswoman, along with 11 families with special needs children, dance shoes london embarked on a mission to provide a long-term sustainable home for adults with autism and other developmental delays..
In January 2013, Sunflower Hill was officially born with a vision of a 50-member community — similar to senior living — where adults with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other developmental challenges could live, work, play and socialize for life. “People just resonated with the idea,” Houghton said. “We think this is a much more affordable model for families who want an option other than a group home.”. Named for the sunflower’s symbols of warmth, nourishment and vibrancy, the nonprofit has more than 200 families on its mailing list. The concept isn’t unique — there are about 80 similar communities across the country and a dozen in California, including the Friends of Children of Special Needs community in Fremont, Vine Village in Napa and Sweetwater Spectrum in Sonoma.
For Houghton, the statistics speak to a greater need, The Regional Center of the East Bay estimates about 17,500 people in Alameda County and 11,500 in Contra Costa County have some form of developmental disability, About half are under age 22, The housing need for the combined counties’ special needs population is estimated at nearly 10,000 units by 2023, Lafayette resident Rosemary Kirbach, a Sunflower Hill board member whose 17-year-old son Patrick is autistic, went from saving for college to dance shoes london preparing to pay for a lifetime of care..
“The money is certainly an issue, but more importantly, what happens when we’re not there?” Kirbach said. “Every parent with a special-needs child thinks about that.”. Patrick, she said, enjoys riding horses, swimming, riding his bike and skiing. Unfortunately, his day programs end when he turns 18, creating a social void. “I think the need is absolutely overwhelming,” Kirbach said. “There are huge wait lists at group homes, there are very few of these (integrated living) types of communities, and the numbers are skyrocketing. The odds just aren’t in anybody’s favor.”.
Janeen Rubino Brumm’s son Andrew is 17, dance shoes london a student at Foothill High in Pleasanton who likes to play video games, work out and play basketball, At the higher end of the autism spectrum, Andrew has the ability to take care of himself with some supervision, Searching for the next step, Janeen joined Sunflower Hill’s board, hopeful the project will allow her son to stay close to home but still enjoy social and recreational opportunities, “It would enable him to live independently, which is something he would want, but also to be part of a community,” Brumm said, “In the real world, he’s different all the time, This is a place where he could thrive.”..
Sunflower Hill is looking at donated land in Pleasanton, Dublin and Livermore and is raising funds by creating greeting cards, and selling sunflowers and seeds members package at Tri-Valley farmers’ markets. The Rotary Club of the Livermore Valley funded the sunflower seed project with a $500 grant. “We’re seeing so much of these needs surface,” said incoming Rotary Club President Charles Crohare. “Having organizations like Sunflower Hill trying to assist so many of these special needs young adults to take care of themselves is a great thing.”.
At the RYSE “Be a Kid” fundraiser late last month, The Eye showed up to buy a ticket to help the youth program and see all the innovative media arts and other programs provided there, dance shoes london However, The Eye forgot his dancing shoes, Most did not, Soon, the packed building was the scene of a masterful hip-hop performance, as local kids showed off their microphone and beatmaking dexterity and the older folks cut up a rug, Councilman Jael Myrick, the youngest member of the council, showed off some hip-twisting moves, much to The Eye’s amazement..