Alicia’s Story – Holiday Appeal 2023

November 2023

Dear Friends,

One of the highlights of my job at Las Trampas is being steps away from our Adult Day Program.  Mario is always there with a fist bump, and Sekander with a request to dance to the Beatles. Joy illuminates the halls, and you can truly feel how much our participants love being here. In every classroom, I see inclusion, friendship, and belonging. This is why I’m asking for your support, to ensure that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have a place where they feel like they belong.

I recently witnessed the beautiful friendship between Alicia and Melissa. Alicia has Tuberous Sclerosis, and as a result, she is nonverbal, paralyzed on her right side, and developmentally two years old. She touches Melissa’s hand to communicate. Melissa, who is on the autism spectrum, puts on The Weeknd when Alicia signals that she wants her music. Melissa is constantly asking Alicia’s mom, Yvonne, questions about her friend, working very hard to understand Alicia’s wants and needs. 

Yvonne and her husband, Jim, are incredible parents, who have worked very hard to do the best for Alicia and give her a happy life, but Yvonne acknowledges that “there is stuff I can’t give her…community, a sense of belonging.” That is where Las Trampas comes in.

Since joining Las Trampas, Yvonne has seen Alicia become brighter, happier, more well-rounded, and most of all, independent. She’s learning how to push the button to open the front doors to our building, and she seems to need less and less help when she’s away from her parents. When Alicia won the award for “Best Dancer” during Las Trampas’ Participant Appreciation Day in October, she understood it was something special and she was very proud of it. She was smiling ear to ear when she showed her brothers. “It included her in a way she’s not usually included,” says Yvonne. “The best thing for Alicia is the sense of belonging somewhere other than home. Her needs are really met…the staff really go above and beyond for her.” It’s difficult to know what Alicia wants and needs unless you know her really well, but Yvonne has seen both Las Trampas staff and participants, like Melissa, rise to the challenge.

It is your support for Las Trampas that creates opportunities for our participants to build a sense of inclusion, friendship, and belonging in our community. You can support our friends and neighbors with disabilities by making—and doubling!—your gift today. A group of generous early contributors, including the Haws Family, Karen and Tom Mulvaney, and Eric Rudney, will match every gift received until December 31st, up to $45,000.

As Alicia, who is 32, got older, Yvonne noticed that community outings made Alicia come alive. Knowing about Las Trampas’ commitment to bringing participants out into the community, Yvonne felt it was time to enroll Alicia in our day program. We are so happy that Alicia is thriving at Las Trampas, but it was a very hard three years for her and her family while she was on our waitlist, which overlapped with the COVID pandemic. When Las Trampas finally had a spot open for Alicia, “it was a godsend,” says Yvonne. Alicia now gets to go on adventures off campus three days a week. On the other two days, Alicia loves trail walks with her class.

Now every morning, when Alicia sees her lunch pail being made for her day at Las Trampas, she starts giggling and laughing. Alicia’s ability to go to Las Trampas is so important to her family that Yvonne used to lift Alicia and her wheelchair into the car every day to drive her to program.

Like Alicia, there are many adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have been eagerly sitting on our waitlist for years. In fact, we now have a waitlist of 53 participants for our Adult Day Program. While our new facility provides the space we need for additional participants, we—like most direct-service nonprofits—are facing profound staffing challenges. We need additional resources for staff recruitment and retention, so we can bring more participants off our waitlist. In addition to challenges with staffing, winter storms have caused significant damage to Las Trampas’ properties, taking out five linear feet of land and a fence at our Moraga Blvd property, and collapsing a retention wall built to protect our main campus. These damages are costly and must be repaired.

Las Trampas has the expertise and abiding commitment to meet this moment. However, community support is the key to funding participant outings and providing the gold-standard services and safe facilities that our participants deserve.

Will you make a gift to Las Trampas that is significant to you today? Your contribution will be doubled and will make possible the community outings, staff recruitment, and storm repairs that are essential to making our programs a place of inclusion, friendship, and belonging. As always, thank you for your support.

With Gratitude,

Daniel Hogue

Executive Director