As we approach Thanksgiving Day, we want to express our gratitude to the hundreds of community members who give their time, talent, and energy in support of Abilities United services. Through this generous donation of personal resources, volunteers help to fulfill Abilities United’s mission to advance the advocacy, inclusion, and independence of people developmental disabilities.  In Fiscal Year 2016, 350 individuals contributed over 8,854 hours of volunteer work valued at $238,000. With the help of volunteers, Abilities United staff is able to focus on providing our award-winning lifetime of services to the children and adults of our community who benefit from these services.

Service groups give back to the community

  • Young men’s service league (ymsl)
    Young Men’s Service League is a non-profit organization that encourages young men and their mothers to pursue philanthropic involvement in their community while providing opportunities to enhance mother and son relationships.  The YMSL Alpine chapter has been a supporter of Abilities United since their chapter was formed in 2014. They have been a huge help to various Abilities United services and have volunteered at the Aquathon, Abilities United Adult Services activities, including social club events, the spring garden party and summer festival, and the camping trip and  after-school summer camps.  The sons and their mothers are committed and dedicated volunteers and we are always pleased to have them volunteer at our events. They have contributed 166 hours of their time which is valued at $4,374!
  • National charity league (ncl)
    The mission of National Charity League is to foster mother-daughter relationships in a philanthropic organization committed to community service, leadership development, and cultural experiences.  NCL Stanford Hills volunteers have supported Abilities United throughout the years.  Most recently, the mothers and daughters joined us on a Saturday to paint our new art classroom space.  Volunteers did an incredible job to prepare, clean, paint, and organize the space to be ready for art classes.  NCL volunteers have also been a great help with our summer camps and special events, such as the SummerFest party for the Adult Day Activities Program. NCL volunteers contributed 52 hours valued at $1,388.
  • Kiwanis palo alto
    Kiwanis has supported Abilities United since the 1970’s and in 2014 Abilities United became a corporate member of the Palo Alto Kiwanis Club.   The club has been a great partner to Abilities United, donating funds to support our services. Their members are also dedicated volunteers who lend a hand at Abilities United parties, special events, and hands-on projects.  Over the years, they have helped to transform several of our facility spaces, including remodeling a storage workshop into an office, meeting, and computer room.   Kiwanis is our go-to club for getting projects done! This year they have contributed 20 hours of volunteer time valued at $493.

Individuals make a difference

  • Linda vargas – 35 year volunteer
    We celebrate and congratulate Linda Vargas on her retirement from over 30 years of volunteer work at Abilities United! Throughout those years, Linda has worked in Finance, Fund Development, and Administration. These administrative departments have depended on her and she is always helpful in completing whatever project is given to her. Linda’s son is a participant at Abilities United and volunteering is the way she has given back to the organization.   Linda’s exceptional commitment to her work earned her recognition from President Obama when she received the Lifetime of Achievement Award. In October 2016, she received the San Andreas Regional Center Service Above Self, “Community Service” award. We would like to thank Linda for her commitment to Abilities United and we wish her well in her volunteer retirement. Her thousands of volunteer hours are an invaluable contribution to Abilities United and the people we serve.
  • Linda roark and susan vaswani
    Linda Roark, a gardener, and Susan Vaswani, an Abilities United board member and life-long supporter of services for people with disabilities, have been a volunteer team for 10 years. Each Wednesday they come to the Abilities United Heritage Garden to teach gardening and horticultural skills to adults with developmental disabilities. Their weekly visits have changed the lives of people who have benefited from their knowledge and their ability to teach. Each season showcases a new and appropriate crop so the garden is always a delight to the Abilities United visitors, staff, and surrounding community. Each year, Linda and Susan contribute 240 hours of volunteer time valued at $6,000.
  • Authors luncheon committee
    The committed 20 individuals on the Authors Luncheon Committee did an exceptional job this year to make the 25th Anniversary Authors Luncheon extra special.  This committee includes the Authors Selection subcommittee, which selects the four renowned authors who also volunteer their time each year.  The Authors Luncheon committee meets for eight months to  help plan the event, from food to outreach to centerpieces.  In Fiscal Year 2016, these event volunteers donated a total of 300 hours valued at nearly $8,000!
  • Marketing volunteers
    In July 2016, Abilities United launched our new website, full color logo, and mission and vision statements. We also opened the art gallery and classroom. This was all accomplished with the help of a team of volunteers which include two web programmers, a web and social media data analyst, a graphic designer, art professionals, and administrative professionals. We appreciate all the work of this team which includes Susan Bradley, Preston Carter, Kenneth Chun, Gautam Dandavate, Thomas Denq, Antonia Depena-Tretter, Brian Jahns, Tyler Kawaguchi, Sandra Keely, Katherine Lang, Chaitra Pai, Borislava Ratcheva, Mukundan Sankar,  Jignasha Thakkar, Rachel Tirosh, Maggie Womack, Evalina Xu, and Cisco volunteers.   Collectively they have donated more than 800 hours valued at over $20,000!
  • Board members
    Our volunteer Board is made up of approximately 17 community volunteers, business and professional people, family members and service participants. The Board has overall governing authority and fiduciary responsibility for Abilities United. In addition to their board responsibilities, the members also serve on agency committees, including audit, finance, fund development, human resources, marketing, and operations. In Fiscal Year 2016 the board volunteers a total of 1,678 hours valued at $47,918!

Abilities United cannot achieve our mission without your help. 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 community awareness of Abilities United
  • Assess the community needs to help define the future of Abilities United services

As we approach the close of 2016, I thank all of you for the impact you have made in the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities and at Abilities United.

Charlie Weidanz