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

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Project Independence’s “Empowering Possibilities” Giving Day

24-Hour Fundraiser May 20 Seeks to Raise $100K For Nonprofit Programs and Services for People Living with Disabilities in Orange County Costa Mesa, Calif. (May 6 2021) — Project Independence and nine aligned nonprofits will partner with the Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF) on May 20 for Empowering Possibilities, a collaborative Giving Day to support people with disabilities living in Orange County. The 24-hour online effort aims to raise $100,000 for 10 nonprofits offering a range of education and supportive services, skills training and counseling, and community outreach programs. Within Orange County, there are over 250,000 people living with disabilities, making up 8.5% of the community. This Giving Day is an opportunity for donors to collectively support the nonprofit organizations providing the tools and resources necessary for Orange County’s disabled residents to achieve success and independence. In addition to Project Independence, other participating organizations include Blind Children’s Learning Center of OC; Dayle McIntosh Center for the Disabled; Down Syndrome Association of OC; Family Support Network; Hope Center for the Arts; Special Olympics Southern California; Speech and Language Development Center; United Cerebral Palsy Association of OC; and Vocational Visions. “Funds raised during the Empowering Possibilities Giving Day will support individuals and families who have suffered from gaps in services, isolation, and lacked access to special education programs, especially during the pandemic,” said Shelley Hoss, president and CEO of the Orange County Community Foundation. “We are proud to power this collaborative effort to build a supportive and inclusive Orange County for all people, including our neighbors with disabilities.” For more than four decades. Project Independence has been promoting civil rights for people with developmental disabilities through a range of vital services that expand their independence and choice. Subscribe “We are so please to team again this year with our fellow nonprofits serving those who need us most.” said Debra Marsteller, CEO, Project Independence. “At Project Independence we are honored to serve adults with developmental disabilities. Our Empowering Possibilities Team represents the valuable community services to so many individuals and families throughout Orange County who need a helping hand. As a result, our entire community grows stronger. We thank you for your compassionate support during this campaign. We could not do what we do without you!” To give online during the 24-hour Giving Day, please visit empowering-possibilities-giving-day.ocnonprofitcentral.org. For more information about Orange County Community Foundation Collaborative Giving Days, please visit oc-cf.org/givingdays. ### About Project Independence Founded in 1977, Project Independence is an Orange County-based 501(c)3 nonprofit, serving nearly 1,000 people with developmental disabilities in their homes, at work, and in the community through Independent Living, Supported Employment and Day Program services, and other supportive resources. For more information, please visit www.proindependence.org About Orange County Community Foundation Founded in 1989, the Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF) works with donors, strengthens the local nonprofit sector and works to find solutions to community needs. Since its inception, OCCF has awarded nearly $780 million in grants and scholarships, placing the organization in the top two percent in grantmaking among U.S. community foundations. For more information, visit oc-cf.org or call 949-553-4202. Be a part of our conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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.

Orange County Community Foundation Collaborative Giving Days

            by: Dan Pittman Posted: May 7, 2021 COSTA MESA…Project Independence and nine aligned nonprofits will partner with the Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF) on May 20 for Empowering Possibilities, a collaborative Giving Day to support people with disabilities living in Orange County. The 24-hour online effort aims to raise $100,000 for 10 nonprofits offering a range of education and supportive services, skills training and counseling, and community outreach programs. Within Orange County, there are over 250,000 people living with disabilities, making up 8.5% of the community. This Giving Day is an opportunity for donors to collectively support the nonprofit organizations providing the tools and resources necessary for Orange County’s disabled residents to achieve success and independence. In addition to Project Independence, other participating organizations include Blind Children’s Learning Center of OC; Dayle McIntosh Center for the Disabled; Down Syndrome Association of OC; Family Support Network; Hope Center for the Arts; Special Olympics Southern California; Speech and Language Development Center; United Cerebral Palsy Association of OC; and Vocational Visions. “Funds raised during the Empowering Possibilities Giving Day will support individuals and families who have suffered from gaps in services, isolation, and lacked access to special education programs, especially during the pandemic,” said Shelley Hoss, president and CEO of the Orange County Community Foundation. “We are proud to power this collaborative effort to build a supportive and inclusive Orange County for all people, including our neighbors with disabilities.” For more than four decades. Project Independence has been promoting civil rights for people with developmental disabilities through a range of vital services that expand their independence and choice. “We are so please to team again this year with our fellow nonprofits serving those who need us most.” said Debra Marsteller, CEO, Project Independence. “At Project Independence we are honored to serve adults with developmental disabilities. Our Empowering Possibilities Team represents the valuable community services to so many individuals and families throughout Orange County who need a helping hand. As a result, our entire community grows stronger. We thank you for your compassionate support during this campaign. We could not do what we do without you!” To give online during the 24-hour Giving Day, please visit empowering-possibilities-giving-day.ocnonprofitcentral.org. For more information about Orange County Community Foundation Collaborative Giving Days, please visit oc-cf.org/givingdays. Photo:OCCF

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.

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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In Memory Of

Memorial to Bobby Spitzberg, our client, friend, ambassador, board member

Memorial to Jerry Keating, a great champion of Project Independence


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