Dear Abilities United Friends,
Exciting. Invigorating. Energizing. Heartfelt. Innovative. Engaging.
These are the words that come to mind as I reflect on my first days at Abilities United. It has been such a pleasure to work with our passionate and dedicated Board and staff, and engage with our participants, families, donors, and community leaders and members, Our vision of creating a barrier-free society for all has come alive for me in the past 90 days. And I have been deeply moved.
What has become so clear is the huge impact that Abilities United has in our community – and the tremendous opportunities still ahead. Our strong reputation for quality services underlines how fortunate I am to lead this remarkable team. Let me share with you some of my recent experiences.
My introduction to life at Abilities United has been accelerated by the many employees and participants who have warmly welcomed me to their meetings, programs, and daily activities.
The individuals we serve are our strongest spokespeople for the community impact made possible by our agency. They are quick to tell me how much they love their volunteer jobs or their art and music lessons. I’ve seen our adult participants develop cooking, cleaning, and job skills as they establish their independence. And I’ve been in awe of the impact made upon the young children and families who have turned to the agency for help – and found hope, education, and respite.

Meeting our donors has also given me invaluable insight into the value we deliver in our community. They have shared inspiring personal stories with me. So many of them have generously supported our organization for years, setting record levels of contribution in just the past twelve months. Their insights have shed light on the opportunity we have to our services to address the needs of our aging and changing participants.

Throughout the Bay Area, we share our core mission with a number of agencies and organizations and will be stronger in partnership than apart. In the past several months I have had
the pleasure of meeting Javier Zaldivar, new director of the San Andreas Regional Center (SARC); Ray Smith, new CEO of Hope Services; James Shorter, executive director of the Golden Gate Regional Center (GGRC); and David Fleischman, executive director of the Child Care Coordinating
Council (4Cs.) We are clearly united in our efforts to provide the best services possible for people with developmental disabilities. Together, we will seek new ways to serve in our community. I also had the pleasure of being inducted into Palo Alto Rotary, and was invited as one of 15 to join
Leadership Palo Alto.

I continue to be impressed with the dedication of our staff. Our services have continued seamlessly throughout this time of transition. Despite the permanent closure of the Betty Wright Swim Center, we now deliver aquatic services at the Timpany Center in San Jose and Channing House in Palo Alto. Recently, we expanded those services using the indoor, accessible pool at the Sequoias – Portola Valley. Our employment services team has been busy placing adults in a range of new positions including jobs at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara. And as we plan for our future, our redevelopment
committee is working hard on a new conceptual facilities master plan they plan to complete by the start of 2015.
Most of all, I have felt the passion of Abilities United while participating in numerous events held in our community. We executed a very successful swimming program in Redwood City for over 400 low-income children and their families. I was so pleased to be a part of their celebration along with
Mayor Jeffrey Gee and the director of Parks and Recreation. And in September, I experienced first-hand the Aquathon as both an emcee and a swimmer. I can’t think of a better way to
understand what inclusion is all about. You could feel the joy and excitement as each swim team demonstrated what is possible, surrounded by cheering crowds. Let me thank all of our participants, staff, volunteers, donors, sponsors, and board members who made the Aquathon so successful. After this, I can’t wait for my first Authors Luncheon event scheduled for November 1.

What an opportunity for me to be a part of Abilities United. I look forward to continuing this positive momentum for the remainder of year and the exciting future ahead.
Best regards,
Charlie Weidanz, Executive Director