Authors Luncheon authors Thomas Mallon, Annie Barrow, Silicon Valley tech writer, Ashlee Vance andPam Muñoz Ryan

We had a wonderful autumn and I want to share these successes with you because you made all this possible! Much has been accomplished in the last couple months, so as we celebrate Thanksgiving and on behalf of everyone at Abilities United, thank you for everything you have done to help people with developmental and physical disabilities.  

In the spirit of the season, please join us to celebrate “Giving Tuesday” on December 1. Now in its fourth year, Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many of us focus on our holiday and end-of-year giving.  Abilities United’s Giving Tuesday campaign goal will be to raise the final $15,000 needed to place 50 individuals with disabilities in jobs that match their skills and interests and meet the needs of the employer.

You can donate to our Giving Tuesday employment campaign now or look for our “Giving Tuesday” email next week.

Thank you for all your contributions because everything you do brings us closer to reaching our goals to:
•    Provide seamless transition from one service to another throughout the lifetime of participants.
•    Increase Abilities United brand awareness.
•    Assess the needs for redevelopment of Abilities United facilities.

Join me in celebrating the successes of the last couple months.

fundraising events

•    authors luncheon The 24th annual Authors Luncheon once again broke its fundraising record and raised $356,000 for services for children and adults with developmental and physical disabilities. More than 500 book lovers and friends of Abilities United joined four acclaimed authors Annie Barrow, Thomas Mallon, Pam Muñoz Ryan, and Silicon Valley tech writer, Ashlee Vance for an entertaining lunch on Saturday, November 7, at the newly remodeled Crowne Plaza Cabaña in Palo Alto.   Many thanks to the hundreds of dedicated volunteers, donors, and book lovers who consistently make this one of the community’s most anticipated and beloved annual fundraising events. Please join us for the 25th anniversary of the Authors Luncheon in 2016!

•    aquathon The 38th annual Aquathon made a splash on Sunday, September 13, at the campus pool of West Valley College in Saratoga.  Returning lead sponsors were Oracle and De Mattei Construction.  Twenty swim teams with 126 swimmers raised over $80,000. The Abilities United Aquathon is a community event that demonstrates how each person can participate and contribute. Special thanks to all the individuals, teams, and groups for their support of the people with developmental and physical disabilities that Abilities United is privileged to serve. Congratulations to everyone and let’s dive in to the Abilities United Aquathon 2016!

staff and volunteer awards
•    sarc “service above self” awards 
We are so proud of Lupe Arizaga, our Children’s Services Occupational Therapist, and Board Member Mike Aquilar, who each received a coveted SARC recognition awards. Lupe’s 20 year career with Abilities United Children’s Services and Mike’s decades of work as an advocate for people with disabilities garnered them the “Support Staff of the Year” and the “Advocate of the Year” awards respectively.  We are also delightged to note that Abilities United staff has received the award 4 out of the last 6 years and participants have won the “advocate” award two times!  Join us in congratulating Lupe and Mike on being recognized for their professionalism and leadership!

•    employment services
The compelling Palo Alto Weekly cover story “Able and Willing”, about employment options for people with disabilities, featured Abilities United Employment Services participant Brett Carmody, an auto detailer at Tesla in Palo Alto and Joel Martinez, a morning server in the dining room of the Homewood Suites Hilton Palo Alto.  Read the story here.

The Abilities United special guest speaker at the Authors Luncheon, Pat Romzek, father of a son with Down syndrome, Vice President of Cloud Strategy of Cisco Systems, and a member of the Abilities United board; further expounded on the importance and power of employment in the lives of all people, and especially people with disabilities.   His impassioned speech about the employment rights of people with disabilities compelled the Authors Luncheon audience to donate approximately $115,000 to fund the placement of 50 individual with disabilities in jobs in the community.
Watch Pat Romzek’s speech here.

•    integrated living Abilities United celebrated the grand opening of the 1585 Studio apartments located in Mountain View. As part of the grand opening, they purchased and showcased ten original works of art by artists from Abilities United.

 Eleven Abilities United participants are residents of 1585 Studios and also receive personalized one-to-one coaching through our newest program “Integrated Living”. This two-year pilot project is a coordinated program of educational, social, vocational, and independent living training needed by post high school or college-aged students with disabilities. The extensive instruction will benefit the participants with employment placement, increased independence, and access to college and community resources and activities. The ultimate goal is for these young adults to live independently after completing the two-year program.
Learn about the new Integrated Living program. 

As we approach 2016, I look forward to keeping you informed about more progress at
Abilities United.

Charlie Weidanz
Executive Director