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Project Independence helps people with developmental
disabilities find jobs, develop friendships, and live independently.

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PROJECT INDEPENDENCE CLIENT VICTORIA TRAN TEST DRIVES CARR MANUFACTURING

Costa Mesa, California, March 23, 2021 – Nonprofit Project Independence of Costa Mesa is pleased to announce that client Victoria Tran has joined the staff of Carr Manufacturing Company, Inc. in Lake Forest. Her new job was secured through Project Independence’s Supported Employment program and job coach Sohalia Naeimypou. The nonprofit serves its clients by having job developers continually seek corporate partners looking to build a stronger community  by employing adults living with developmental disabilities. Carr owner Michelle Carraway says she knew their need for someone with the patience and focus that Victoria displayed would be a great addition to her team. Now they  are looking for other places where another PI client would find purpose and independence. As for Victoria, Sohalia couldn’t be prouder of how quickly she has taken to her job responsibilities. “Victoria might be wearing her safety mask, but I can always tell that she is smiling beneath it,” she says. The Supported Employment program develops jobs and then matches up the skills of clients to the needs of the employers. From orientation, skills training and commute scheduling, to detailed job duties and supervisor contact, the organization fuels stability in the employer and employee relationship.  It provides whatever the person needs to be successful, from extra training, establishing priorities and creating task schedules, to educating employees at the job site and building natural supports. Project Independence has more than four decades of service and stability in Orange County. Eighty-seven cents of every dollar raised by the nonprofit goes directly to support vital programs for people with developmental disabilities.  For additional information, please visit www.proindependence.org.

DAILY PILOT RENEWS SPONSORSHIP OF ANNUAL PROJECT INDEPENDENCE WALK FOR INDEPENDENCE

Costa Mesa, California, Feb.2, 2021 – Nonprofit Project Independence of Costa Mesa has announced that the Costa Mesa-based Daily Pilot newspaper will again be the media sponsor for the 12th Annual Walk for Independence fundraising event, which is set for October 2, 2021, during National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The commitment includes two half-page ads that will list the names of all sponsors and include a description of the event and the mission of Project Independence. In turn, the nonprofit will feature the Daily Pilot name prominently in social media, publicity and elsewhere. Funds raised from the walk will help support the organization’s Independent Living, Supported Employment, and Day Program services that support more than 600 adults. More than 400 people are anticipated to participate the event that raised more than $50,000 last year. Because of COVID-19, the 2020 edition of the walk celebration was held virtually and included inspirational videos, prizes, a virtual auction and more. More than $50,000 was raised. “We thank our friends at the Daily Pilot for helping us get the word out about our walk that celebrates independent living for people with developmental disabilities,” said Project Independence CEO and President Debra Marsteller.  “Thank you to all of our other sponsors and to our walkers, as well.” Project Independence has more than four decades of service and stability in Orange County as a lifeline to adults with developmental disabilities who are now at even greater risk because of the pandemic. The essential workers who comprise the Project Independence staff continue to serve clients despite challenges brought on by COVID-19. To become a 2021 walk sponsor, please contact Director of Development Todd Eckert at Todd@Proindependence.org or 714-549-3464. In 2020, the walk’s title sponsor was One Metro West. Other Project Independence sponsors were Home Depot, Bridgford Foods, Mitsubishi Electric, Union Bank, Advanced Dental, Serv-Wel Disposal and Recycling, Virtual Office Solution and Honest-1 Auto Service. Conducting the workout sessions was the Art of Strength Fitness of Irvine. Eighty-seven cents of every dollar raised by Project Independence goes directly to support vital programs for people with developmental disabilities. For additional information, please visit www.proindependence.org

PROJECT INDEPENDENCE: Enriching the Lives of the Developmentally Disabled

APRIL 2021 Since 1977, Project Independence has helped people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) expand their horizons. The organization currently supports 600+ people in Orange County. Project Independence’s focus is to help people with I/DD reach their dreams of living on their own, and having meaningful work and friendships. “These are dreams we all have,” said Debra Marsteller, president and CEO. Debra is an advocate, trainer, mentor, and supporter of people with developmental disabilities and has worked with the organization for over thirty years. She grew up in Orange County and graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a teaching credential in Special Education and has a Masters in Education from San Diego State University. In 2007, after 26 years of leading Vantage Foundation, Debra led the merger with Project Independence. She said, “This merger combined the Positive Behavioral Support expertise of Vantage with the Independent Living and Supported Employment capacities of Project Independence.” The organization provides support for people “in day” programs, independent living and supported employment. They also partner with Social Security for WIPA (Work Incentive Planning Assistance). Debra’s favorite part of her job is working with the staff and clients and being inspired by the people they support. She said, “I’ve been here for 30+ years and the wonderful stories unfold, both from our staff and the wonderful people we serve. Given the hurdles they overcome and the humor and diligence they go about in their daily lives keeps me grounded and focused.” She added, “One of my favorite stories is the afternoon I answered the phone and could not hear the caller because all of our staff had burst into song after a long day. Unscripted and not very harmonious, but indicative of the sense of fun and humor they bring to their jobs.” Project Independence would like to extend a special thank you to our community: “Thank you to the many neighbors who generously donated gift cards, socks, scarves, toiletries and kitchen supplies during Christmas. We asked for help when COVID-19 prevented shopping and gift exchanges. The smiles and excitement from everyone was awesome when they received their gifts.” Deborah added, “We could not fulfill our mission of helping people with intellectual and developmental disabilities reach their dreams without the ongoing generous support from our community members.” For more information on how you can help, please visit, www.proindependence.org.

Project Independence’s Client Tran Test Drives Carr Manufacturing

The Project Independence Supported Employment program successfully matches a job with someone with a developmental disability like Victoria. Dan Pittman, Neighbor Posted Tue, Mar 23, 2021 at 9:50 am PT Nonprofit Project Independence (PI) of Costa Mesa is pleased to announce that the organization’s client Victoria Tran has joined the staff of Carr Manufacturing Company, Inc. in Lake Forest. Her new job was secured through Project Independence’s Supported Employment program and job coach Sohalia Naeimypou. The nonprofit serves its clients by having job developers continually seek corporate partners looking to build a stronger community by employing adults living with developmental disabilities. Carr owner Michelle Carraway says she knew their need for someone with the patience and focus that Victoria displayed would be a great addition to her team. Now they are looking for other places where another PI client would find purpose and independence. As for Victoria, Sohalia couldn’t be prouder of how quickly she has taken to her job responsibilities. “Victoria might be wearing her safety mask, but I can always tell that she is smiling beneath it,” she says. The Supported Employment program develops jobs and then matches up the skills of clients to the needs of the employers. From orientation, skills training and commute scheduling, to detailed job duties and supervisor contact, the organization fuels stability in the employer and employee relationship. It provides whatever the person needs to be successful, from extra training, establishing priorities and creating task schedules, to educating employees at the job site and building natural supports. Project Independence has more than four decades of service and stability in Orange County. Eighty-seven cents of every dollar raised by the nonprofit goes directly to support vital programs for people with developmental disabilities. For additional information, please visit www.proindependence.org.

MELISSA TRUJILLO JOINS PROJECT INDEPENDENCE AS VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR OF THE ACCESS 2 ADVENTURE PROGRAM

All aboard for adventure! Nonprofit Project Independence of Costa Mesa is pleased announce that special events professional Melissa Trujillo has come onboard as the volunteer coordinator of our Access 2 Adventure (A2A) program. Brought back through the ongoing generosity of the Louis & Gladyce Foster Family Foundation, the popular program will feature exciting adventures on Zoom and in person following all health safety protocols. Melissa has already prepared a survey and sent it out to learn what events are of interest, etc. Among the ides we are considering:  PI on The Water, a Duffy and Lunch Cruise; a Virtual Zoom Brunch Meet and Greet and Intro to A2A;  a Beach BBQ; and a Catalina Eco Tour. We will let everyone know when events are scheduled. Melissa was born and raised here in Orange County. She lived in San Francisco for the past 15 years where she worked at the Pomeroy Recreation and Rehabilitation Center as a program manager serving adults with developmental disabilities. Melissa has recently relocated back to Orange County with her husband and 16-month-old daughter and looks forward to making connections in the community and volunteering with Project Independence. Welcome, Melissa!

COVID Vaccinations For People With Disabilities

The state of California announced Friday that healthcare providers will be able to start vaccinating those with compromised immune systems and disabilities starting March 15. Healthcare providers may use their clinical judgment to vaccinate individuals age 16 to 64 who are deemed to be at the very highest risk for morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 as a direct result of one or more of the following severe health conditions: Cancer, current with debilitated or immunocompromised state Chronic kidney disease, stage 4 or above Chronic pulmonary disease, oxygen-dependent Down syndrome Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant Pregnancy Sickle cell disease Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies (excludes hypertension) Severe obesity (Body Mass Index ≥ 40 kg/m2) Type 2 diabetes mellitus with hemoglobin A1c level greater than 7.5% The new guidance also allows vaccinations for people with developmental or severe disabilities that leave that at high-risk if they are infected including the following: The individual is likely to develop severe life-threatening illness or death from COVID-19 infection Acquiring COVID-19 will limit the individual’s ability to receive ongoing care or services vital to their well-being and survival Providing adequate and timely COVID care will be particularly challenging as a result of the individual’s disability Currently, vaccines may be distributed to populations identified in Phase 1A and Phase 1B, Tier 1. and Phase 1B, Tier 1.

SUPPORT INDEPENDENCE

We serve over 700 people with developmental disabilities in Southern California as they experience life and discover their potential for independence, as every person should have the opportunity to do – regardless of disability.

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