Category: Community Involvement

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


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

The Amazing Adventures of Amy and Jeff

Las Trampas client Jeff and his sister Amy overcame their obstacles to enjoy the summer trip of a lifetime together. Any recounts their trip and reveals how she makes every minute count for both her and her brother.

Just this past summer, my brother Jeff and I went on a couple of great trips. Jeff slept most of the way through our flight, after figuring out how to use the fold down tray for his favorite drink in the world wait for it, COFFEE!

At the beginning of our journey in the Hudson Valley, my brother, Cliff, picked up our tents at REI. From that point on, we began our camping adventure which lasted the entire 3-day, 3-night festival – something Jeff had never experienced before. The nights were dark and it was hard to find the porta potties, but Jeff and I did pretty well. He slipped and fell once though which prompted me to ask myself: would he do better with a wheel chair?

img_4569On our way to the Falcon Ridge Festival, my brother Cliff picked up his tent at REI which was at the beginning of the Hudson Valley. Jeff and I camped all through the festival for 3 days and 3 nights, something we had never had before. You can tell from the photos that he really embraced the hot days filled with trekking back and forth to camp. He was a real champ.

Public transport can be a challenge. For instance, you always have to take the stairs to the subway. Moving down the aisle of an airplane can be a challenge as well. It is getting more and more difficult to get a “handicapped” seat on a plane, so I always get a seat at the back, closest to the bathroom. Another challenge, Bathroom accidents. I always carry diaper wipes and extra underwear and pants. New York City in general is tough as it is an older city with uneven sidewalks (I’m always on the look-out for “trip factors”, stairs, doorways that have awkward steps, etc.)

jess-shipI think Jeff really enjoys the fact that he doesn’t have to be in a wheelchair however, now I always request a wheelchair at the airport. When we go to Disneyland or Universal Studios we always rent a wheelchair. I have noticed that as Jeff gets older, he moves slower, so we always allow a lot of extra time. Lighter shoes help (crocs are great), easier for his paralyzed side.

We played and swam in the Atlantic Ocean on Long Beach Island and on the bay side of Cape Cod, in the Lakes in Vermont and the hotel pool. I see my brother in the water and it hits me, he can glide through the water weightlessly. What a wonderful feeling for my brother who has Cerebral Palsy.

We visited friends, drank beer together, and picked raspberries. We managed to have a family vacation, after which we all loved one other even more than before.
My advice to other families traveling with a loved one with special needs is to plan ahead. Check in often with your loved ones as new environments can be intimidating. Jeff’s social skills are lacking, he often gets very shy, looks down, that sort of thing. So, we practice “greetings, saying his name, etc.” We make sure to rest well.

Jeff was most impressed with the fact we had camped in a cow field. He said now I can check that off my bucket list.” Me too, now that I think about it.

Sweatpants & Parenting: Clothes Make the Man

It’s 51 degrees out. Which means my autistic 21-year-old son Mickey is wearing shorts and sandals.

It’s too cold! I protest.

But it’s May.

I get it. He hates socks. Loathes sneakers. Long sleeves drive him crazy. If we let him, he’d leave the house wearing shorts and sandals in January, and probably without a coat. Winter weather doesn’t deter him. Which has turned me into the kind of mother who says, I’m cold, so you have to wear a sweater.
liane and sonI remember battling my own mother, who forced me to wear skirts with scratchy crinolines (yes, I’m that old). Is that what it’s like for Mickey when we ask him to wear clothes that itch or cling or rub, or bother him in ways we don’t even know, because he can’t parse the particulars of his discomfort. Because I hate it, he says.

I know how miserable I feel wearing Spanx. Is that how he feels about dress pants with a belt, Loafers, A blazer? Worst of all a dreaded tie.  I want regular clothes, he says.

I respect his sensory issues. I want to honor his right to choose what he wears. Unfortunately, there are just some circumstances where you can’t wear what you want, and it’s not only due to weather. Sometimes respecting his right to choose smacks up against the need to dress appropriately, whether it’s a volunteer job, visiting a house of worship, going on an interview, or hiking. It’s dangerous to climb a mountain in sandals, and disrespectful to go to synagogue in a T-shirt and shorts.
Just for today, he pleads. I’ll be careful.

Why am I making a big deal about shorts and sandals? Am I worried someone will say, How can you let him go out that way,  and judge me as a bad parent? Yes, it’s chilly, but he’s not going to die of exposure if he goes out underdressed for this weather. Maybe if he does realize it’s cold or wet and he’s not as comfortable as he thought he’d be, he will learn from it, and next time wear something more suitable. Or not.
lianeI try not to intervene with his choices unless health or safety is at stake. I may say, ?What do you think your friends will be wearing today or I don’t think those colors match, but I won’t stop him if he’s really set on the combination. It’s a fine line between encouraging self-expression, and letting him leave the house wearing clothes that may make him an object of teasing or ridicule.
Haven’t I made similarly inappropriate choices? Worn high heels out of vanity, when I should have opted for more comfortable or practical footwear? Shivered in a thin summer dress I wanted to show off, instead of wearing something more sensible.

Mickey is a young adult now. He is chafing against our restraints. His struggle to pull away from us is developmentally appropriate. The business of adolescence and young adulthood is to separate from your parents, to find your own way in the world. Part of growing up for anyone is learning to make, and live with one’s own choices.
He starts out the door in shorts and sandals, then goes back to his room. When he emerges, I see he has added a baseball cap and sunglasses. I’m going to sunbathe today, he says.
ketchup imagePack a sweatshirt, I say. He doesn’t.
I look handsome, he says.
Very cool, I agree. And resolve to say nothing more.
Because it’s his choice to make. This isn’t about autism.
It’s about autonomy.
Written by Liane Kupferberg Carter, Las Trampas guest blogger and author of Ketchup is my Favorite Vegetable.
Purchase Liane’s book on amazon HERE.

Meet Pat Flaharty!

I became familiar with Las Trampas about 15 years ago through my Rotary Club Lamorinda Sunrise. As a group we have done painting of homes, several on-campus landscaping projects and deck building. About eight years ago, Bonnie Peacock (former Development Director) spoke to our club and mentioned that the chef for Chef’s Table had moved away and that the program was unable to continue.  chris chefI  said! I can do that, and it has been a

wonderful journey since.

I have have learned so much from our clients. They have taught me patience and above all that life is all about being present.

Helping our clients learn independent living skills is very rewarding and their enthusiasm to cook, or just watch, is very fulfilling.  I have hotel and restaurant training from City College of SF. After a few years at the Disneyland Hotel, I started my insurance career and retired 8 years ago. I am very active cooking at home.

Carol (girlfriend) and I have wonderful dinner parties and I am now a bread baker. I took a class for a week at the SF Baking Institute last year and now make a mean sourdough baguette and Tartine Bakery’s great country bread. Friends and I often cook together. We are not intimidated.

Since becoming involved with Chef’s Table I was so moved by Las Trampas’ program and its clients that I asked to be considered for a Board position and was invited about four years ago to sit on the board.

Pat Flaharty has been an invaluable addition to our board and leads our Chef’s Table Program every month. Last month, the folks grilled burgers (a client favorite) to feed the entire day program.

National Charity League

For over 10 years, the National Charity League has volunteered with Las Trampas, and this year was no exception. Mothers and daughters rose to the occasion one week before the annual What’s in Our Hat? fundraising event this year to help assemble the tropical decor that seasoned our day with that Caribbean flavor.

These mother-daughter duos also woke up bright and early on Sunday morning (mind you -there was a Warriors Game that day) to help us set up at the Lafayette Park Hotel & Spa. The event ran until 6:30p.m. but NCL members had as much energy as they had heart… They helped with our raffle, silent auction, photo shoots and our sanity (planning a perfect day can be stressful!).

We are so appreciative of this group. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

Lafayette Orinda Presbyterian Church

Las Trampas is so appreciative of the Lafayette Orinda Presbyterian Church and the wonderful volunteer work they do for so many Contra Costa nonprofits. This is the third year in a row that they have chosen to help us with volunteer work. A large group worked on campus to help organize the Development Department’s storage areas, while others headed to Maureen House to clean out the garage and start the process of creating a game room! LOPC has been helping Las Trampas in so many ways over the years and we are so grateful for everything they do!
Lafayette Orinda Presbyterian Church & Las Trampas Garage

UPS Delivers!

Twelve UPS workers did not need a drone to deliver a fantastic paint job in one of our classrooms.

Instead, as part of their community service outreach, they swooped in wearing their brown UPS shirts to grab drop cloths, blue tape, paint brushes, and rollers and transform a dingy room into a warm and inviting space. No space was out of reach for these smiling worker bees.

ups 2 ups 3

Las Trampas has become quite the hotspot for community service projects and we could not be more grateful. Given the constraints of our budget and 2001 state funding levels, beautification projects are only possible with wonderful volunteers from companies like UPS.

ups 4

Wells Fargo

A fantastic team of Wells Fargo volunteers swooped into Stinson House, one of our 5 residential homes, on September 17th to create a whole new look for the interior. Grabbing brushes and rollers, they painted the public rooms a stunning combination of cocoa brown and taupe. Instant facelift!

Our group homes provide round-the-clock services and support to individuals with significant developmental disabilities. Many of these individuals no longer have family nearby who might provide fulltime care, so beautification projects like this help sustain a true sense of home. When the six residents and their staff returned to Stinson after attending our Day Program on the main campus in Lafayette, they were so excited to see the transformation. Next they hope another team will give a fresh coat of paint to the bedrooms!

Aeris Communications

Nothing like a corporate group of volunteers who actually pay a nonprofit to do a day of community service! On Friday, August 14, a team of Aeris Communications volunteers from around the world rolled up their sleeves, grabbed paint brushes and gave a non-surgical facelift to the Las Trampas campus. This Day of Service was part of their annual week-long conference in Silicon Valley, so these international worker bees came from as far away as India and England, and from multiple US states to share this beautification project.
IMG_0204 Kim Biz ofs furniture
Receptionist Desk

Who would believe these rooms were once a dormitory room? Thanks to the volunteer paint crew from Aeris Communications and the fabulous gift of new mahogany furniture from HUB International, a provider of insurance for Las Trampas, our Admin offices have a new, glamorous look.

crop aeris 3 crop aeris 2
crop aeris 1 2 women - London, Patti
Jeff, England, India