Author: Las Trampas

Letter from our Executive Director on the New Building Project

Letter from our Executive Director on the New Building Project


Greetings from Las Trampas,


It’s still almost a daily update on COVID-19 changes taking place, even though we are nearly 19 months into the pandemic.  This past June, we resumed limited in-person services at our Adult Development Program. The individuals we serve were so excited to be back; since that time we have unfortunately had to suspend in-person services on two occasions due to COVID-19.


The pandemic is also creating delays for us in the construction of our new building.  In the beginning, our project site had to close down due to the onset of COVID-19 and health department mandates. This shutdown lasted for several weeks, putting us behind on our construction schedule.  Since then, we have experienced some cases of COVID-19 causing additional delays to the project.


Today, we face delays in receiving much-needed supplies for the completion of the project.  You may have experienced delays in the supply chain for many products yourself.  If you have recently purchased an appliance or even a piece of furniture, you know that not only have the costs increased dramatically, but the delays can now be measured in months rather than days or weeks.


At this time, we are anticipating a completion date for our new building to be mid-January of which we will need an additional month to prepare the site for services. Of course, this timeline is tentative, barring any further delays on the essential components of our project.  To keep up to date on the progress of the project, including changes in our schedule, please join us each month for our virtual tours.  Information on our tours can be accessed at our REACH Beyond Capital Campaign page.


I want to sincerely thank everyone in our community for continuing to support our project and helping us create new opportunities and choices for the individuals we serve.  Your donations and support are invaluable to Las Trampas and the individuals we serve!


With gratitude,

Daniel L. Hogue

Executive Director


ARM Gets Moving!

How do you get moving? The residents of Las Trampas’ two houses love walks. The homes locations in safe residential neighborhoods and their easy access to local trails like the Iron Horse Trail and the Canal Trail mean that residents are able to indulge in beautiful walks several times a week.

This month, all the houses are planning to participate in the Walk n Roll!
Helping program participants stay active is critical to helping them stay healthy. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC,) adults with disabilities have obesity rates about 57% higher than the rest of the population. For people who experience physical impacts of developmental disabilities like heart and circulatory issues, lack of physical activity can make existing issues more dangerous.

The staff at the houses try to make exercise fun since getting people to participate can be difficult at times. We play active games, try different sports, swim, and dance to help the people we serve stay active. We are also creating healthy and tasty meals with residents with the help of a registered dietician and the My25 dietary program. With meal planning focused on fresh seasonal foods, balanced nutrition, and new recipes, Las Trampas residents enjoy nutritious and delicious options every day!

Exploring Worlds with Las Trampas

The day program is always looking for new worlds to explore. We regularly use local libraries to seek out new sites and organizations we can partner with to help our program participants become more and more engaged in and with their community.

Our memberships at the Lawrence Hall of Science, Chabot Space and Science Center, Blackhawk Museum and Fitness 19 open up worlds of knowledge and experience while teaching us the importance of staying healthy and fit.

Our partnerships with Diablo Valley Bowl, Clayton Valley Bowl, and Danville Bowl give us the opportunity to participate in friendly competition while working on our social skills (e.g., Show a Good Attitude, Follow Directions, Give Positive Feedback). With ramps and bumpers, bowling is an activity open to almost every program participant. It is the first programming choice of many in the community groups.

On a daily basis, there are more than 40 day program participants exploring and engaging with their community. You will find us on the regional trails, at local parks and historical sites, in the shops and fitness centers, in classes and service centers. We volunteer, shop, compete, play sports and games, read, plant and grow, make friends, and, most important of all, we learn from our experiences.

We’re an awful lot like you.

SLS Chilling with the Fish in Monterey

Rebecca watched the big shark swim past the thick glass of the tank. Whoa! he said, laughing. Each time the shark circled by, Rebecca reacted with the same joyful Whoa!

A manta rayRebecca visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium for the first time on a recent trip organized by the Supported Living team for program participants. The visit was a first for many other program participants, too.

Highlights of the day included petting the rays in the touch tank, watching the water flow in and out of the kelp tank and seeing how the different animals reacted to it, observing all the different kinds of fish, and of course, the sharks.

Special outings like day trips to the Monterey Bay Aquarium provide unique opportunities for community integration. New situations and changes in routine can be challenging for some program participants, but provide important breaks from the everyday. Sabrina, an SLS facilitator, remarked This was a fantastic way for some of our clients to interact with each other in a setting that is different and interesting for them. We will definitely be trying to set up more outings like these to help enrich our clients lives and to show them different and new things.

The silhouette of a man in front of a blue tank with a glowing jellyfish
Most participants in the SLS program have very limited resources for activities like day trips. This past year, we were fortunate enough to receive a grant from the Carl Gellert and Celia Berta Gellert Foundation to underwrite community integration outings like the trip to Monterey. Financial support from partners like the Gellert Foundation makes it possible for our program participants to lead truly full lives in the community!

July Employee of the Month–LaToya Hudson

July’s Employee of the Month is Day Program superstar LaToya Hudson.
Watching LaToya interact with Day Program participants, her focus is very clear: independence and decision-making. As one of the job coaches for the work groups, she sets high expectations for participants and helps them learn to do tasks well on their own. She also promotes goodwill in the community through her interactions with program participants and community members. Managers of local attractions and parks like Crab Cove in Alameda tells us that LaToya’s groups are respectful of each other and other visitors and that LaToya goes to great lengths to engage program participants and make experiences fun and informative.
Thank you, LaToya!

Las Trampas Cooks: Ingredients for Success!

What could be better than sharing a home-cooked meal, chosen and prepared with care by a friend or colleague? Each month, the 10 students participating in the Day Program Las Trampas Cooks program choose a meal each month based on a theme, and work with staff throughout the month make that meal a reality for each other as well as other Day Program participants and staff members.

In 2018, the monthly themes are based on countries of the world, often chosen based on where a student’s family is from, so participants learn about food and culture they may not otherwise get to experience.

Smiling man with glasses gestures toward a supermarket shelf.Shopping: Once Las Trampas Cooks chefs have chosen their meal for the month, they help staff research recipes, compile a shopping list, and hit the stores! Participants go to multiple stores in the area (Safeway, Costco, Sam’s Club, Smart & Final, Trader Joe’s) and compare prices on the ingredients they will need for the month’s recipe.

Meal Preparation:
Participants are involved in all aspects of creating the meal. As much as possible, they use fresh ingredients rather than packaged. Participants work with program staff to learn about the textures, smells, properties, and uses of the ingredients they are using, as well as learning about kitchen safety, and food service.

Enjoying a meal together:
On Las Trampas Cooks day, Day Program participants and any Las Trampas staff who are on campus are invited to share the results of the group’s hard work. Spending time together eating a delicious meal prepared by friends is a great way to spend lunchtime!

Clean Up:An older man in a red cap and green shirt washes dishes in a sink
You’re not done cooking until you’ve cleaned up! Participants learn that leaving the cooking area cleaner than you found it? is as important as all of the other aspects of planning and cooking a meal. When the kitchen is clean and supplies are put away, we are ready to start planning for next month.
Las Trampas Cooks is a fun and delicious way to gain life skills, explore new foods, and learn more about the world. Here are some of the meals we’ve shared so far this year. We’ve included some of the recipes we’ve used, and we invite you to cook along with Las Trampas Cooks!

A young man with a striped shirt and glasses, a young woman with long brown hair, and a young man with a blue and white shirt and glasses sit at a table enjoying their food.March: (Italy) Spaghetti, Salad, Garlic Bread, Strawberry Shortcake
April: (Japan) Teriyaki Bowls, Gyoza, Cherry Parfait
May: (Mexico) Mexican Chili, Sweet Corn Cakes, (Unfried)Fried Ice Cream
June: (U.S.A.) Sloppy Toms (Turkey Sloppy Joes), Potato Salad, Baked Peach Crumble
July: (Greece) Gyros, Greek Salad, Sparkling Santorini Jello

SLS/ILS–Celebrating Independence

Do you remember moving out of your parent’s home for the first time? So many mixed emotions– a little apprehensive and scared, but excited and overwhelmed with joy when all your belongings were in place. When she moved out of her parents’ house at the age of 33, Ariel felt the same way.
In July we celebrate independence. Moving into a place of your own, being responsible for yourself, is one of the most fundamental kinds of independence a person can experience. Unfortunately, for many of Las Trampas program participants the road to independence is littered with challenges. Finding affordable housing is a struggle for many people in the Bay Area, but can be especially difficult for people with developmental disabilities.

  • For most Las Trampas participants, rent is higher than their monthly income.
  • The Housing Authority of Contra Costa waiting list for Section 8 housing is closed and has been closed for years. Even the waiting list for the waiting list is closed!
  • Project based low income housing units are rare in this area. The wait can be years and getting a unit is really the luck of the draw.
  • Did you know that there are minimum income requirements for Low Income and Low Low Income housing.  Sometimes our program participants receive a fixed income that is too low to even be considered Low Low Income!
  • As rents in the area increase, more and more landlords are transitioning their properties away from the Section 8 program when they become eligible to do so, resulting in even fewer options available to a person on a fixed income.

Ariel has been very fortunate that her family is able to subsidize her rent. Otherwise she would not have been able to move out of her parent’s home.  Since moving out on her own, Ariel has discovered the joys and challenges of living independently. She is really enjoying being responsible for choosing and preparing her own meals and selecting her own clothes and household items. She no longer needs her parents’ permission to go out into her community and she loves having a dog to take care of and a roommate of her choice. She is living her dream in a home of her own, and she wouldn’t have it any other way!

From the Executive Director–A Year in Advocacy

My name is Daniel Hogue, Executive Director of Las Trampas. I have worked in the Intellectual and Developmental Disability (I/DD) service industry since 1993, starting as a direct care worker. Now, in my role as a leader, I am constantly asked about the state and future of our field.  Now, more than ever, this is an important topic that should be addressed. It’s my hope to address concerns, successes, and opportunities for action that will help people with developmental disabilities and the I/DD community.

In the human services field, we as care takers, social workers, and people who work from the heart tend to speak lightly, politely, and focus on the work to be done. Leaders in the I/DD service industry understand that there are many competing interests within the state. We are not used to taking a hard stands. This has to change. While it sounds alarming, the viability of the I/DD service system is on the brink of collapse and it’s time for us to find our voice.

Yet another year has gone by without increases to I/DD funding. The state budget approved by the legislature and the governor at the end of June again neglects to fully fund programs and services for this vulnerable population. So, what are the impacts! Well, to put it frankly, if you have a child or family member with I/DD who receives services, they may be at risk.

Since 2003, state funding for I/DD services has essentially been a downhill spiral with minimal increases offsetting serious cuts during the 2008 financial crisis. So what does this mean.  It means that providers, and more importantly the people served, have to make do with extremely limited resources, and often times, to simply do without. Full-time professional positions like speech language pathologists, a full program staff with clinical training and experience, budgets for transportation and community integration, and more, all of these program components have been cut or seriously reduced over the past decade. Meanwhile, mandates continue to come down from the state level to do more do more, with less, all while the state holds record surpluses.

And older white man wearing glasses and a blue ball cap dances with an older white woman with glasses and white hair.
Photo by Letlove Photography

Each month, I will be discussing the ramifications of the current state including the impacts on providers and the people served as well as how the system is coping, advocacy efforts, progress and setbacks, stories of success in the midst of tough times, and things that you can do to support people with developmental disabilities. I hope you’ll join me!

Take Action Now!

Urgent Action Item: Contact the Chairs of the California State Senate and Assembly Budget Committees today and tell them you support Assemblymember Chris Holden’s proposal to add $25 million to the DDS budget to assist service providers in high cost regions to meet the escalating costs for labor and other essential operations.

Background: Since the rates paid by the State of California to providers of intellectual and developmental disabilities services were frozen in 2003, they have increased by only 7% by the end of 2017 while the cost of operations has risen by more than 70%. The governor’s current state budget proposal for FY 2019 not only proposes no increases for Intellectual and Developmental Disability services, but also proposes cuts through mandated provider furlough days.

The impact of rate stagnation is profound. Service providers in places like the San Francisco Bay Area, including Las Trampas, struggle to provide competitive wages in a labor market where the cost of living is skyrocketing. Assembly member Holden’s proposal would add $25 million to the DDS budget in 2018 to provide some temporary relief for service providers who can document a need for these funds.

Act Now: Customize one of the letters below and fax it to the Chairs of the Budget Committees, or email or call their office at the Capitol. Let them know you support living wages for service providers!

  1. Senator Holly Mitchell (Chair):
    • Fax #: (916) 651-4930
    • email
    • Phone: (916) 651-4030
  2. Senator Richard Pan:
    • Fax #: (916) 651-4906
    • email
    • Phone: (916) 651-4006
  3. Assembly Member: Phil Ting:
    • Fax #: (916) 319-2119
    • email
    • Phone: (916) 319-2019
  4. Assembly Member: Dr. Joaquin Arambula
    • Fax #: (91) 319-2131
    • email
    • Phone: (916) 319-2031

Budget request provider support letter.General
Budget request provider support letter.Service provider