Newsletter // September, 2015
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 Message from
 Craig King, 
 Executive Director


It appears highly unlikely that State legislators will take action at this time to develop new/increased funding for disability services. The legislature will reconvene in January. Let your legislators know that you will be watching and will hold them accountable to resolve the disability services funding crisis.

SACRAMENTO, CA [CDCAN LAST UPDATED 09/24/2015 03:06 PM] – The Assembly and State Senate announced yesterday the members of the conference committees for both the transportation funding special session and the health care funding special session.  Both conference committees have ten members each – five members from both the Assembly and State Senate.
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Neither special session conference committee has any hearings scheduled, and neither are likely to meet anytime soon until some progress has been made in getting agreement on some of the major funding issues related to taxes or some other alternative funding source. 

The Legislature adjourned the regular session in the late evening hours of September 11th and will reconvene in January.  The two special sessions adjourned also, 
but in theory could reconvene before January if called back by the State Senate and Assembly Democratic leadership – a prospect that appears to be highly unlikely barring an agreement on the issues connected to approving taxes to fund the transportation funding crisis and the health care funding crisis that includes funding increases for Medi-Cal providers and developmental services and also continued restoration of the 7% in services for all people receiving In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) beyond June 30, 2016. 
Conference Committee on: (SBX2 2 (Hernandez) and ABX2 1 (Bonta)
Senator Ed Hernandez (Democrat - West Covina, 22nd State Senate District)
Assemblymember Rob Bonta (Democrat – Alameda, 18th Assembly District)
Senator Ed Hernandez (Democrat – West Covina, 22nd State Senate District) – CO-CHAIR
Senator Mark Leno (Democrat - San Francisco, 11th State Senate District)
Senator Holly Mitchell (Democrat - Culver City, 30th State Senate District)
Assemblymember Susan Bonilla (Democrat  Concord, 14th Assembly District)
Assemblymember Rob Bonta (Democrat – Alameda, 18th Assembly District) – 
Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (Democrat – Los Angeles, 53rd Assembly District)
Senator Jim Nielsen (Republican – Gerber, 4th State Senate District)
1 Senate Republican Vacancy
Assemblymember James Gallagher (Republican – Nicolaus, 3rd Assembly District)
Assemblymember Jim Patterson (Republican – Fresno, 23rd Assembly District)

Craig C. King
Executive Director
Greater Opportunities
900 Lafayette Street, Suite 700
Santa Clara, CA 95050
408-248-4464 x23

Our First Annual Spaghetti Dinner!

On Friday, September 18, Greater Opportunities held our first annual Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser, and it was a huge success! Two hundred supporters purchased tickets, and we raised over $4000 for Greater Opportunities to support our work of helping adults with developmental disabilities lead more independent lives.
We were delighted by the enthusiastic outpouring of support. We had prepared for 125 diners. To handle the much larger turnout, our great crew of volunteers from One Brick Silicon Valley who were on hand to serve our guests were happily put to work making more food. 
The event was a really good time for everybody. Our participant artists beamed with pride in presenting their works of art for sale. Smiling raffle winners came away with all kinds of prizes. Our good friends from San Jose Fire Station 34 brought their firetruck for the kids (and adults as well) to enjoy. 
A very appreciative shout-out goes to our generous sponsors and donors including:
  • Dr. Bill Dawson
  • John & Patricia Giosso
  • Marv Bamburg
  • William Hall
  • Costco
  • Safeway-The Alameda
  • Safeway-Berryessa
  • Safeway-Fremont
  • Safeway-Milpitas
  • SaveMart
  • Sprouts Farmers Market
  • Aunna Mazzanti
  • Cliff Bishop
  • Craig & Linda King
  • Cinnabar Hills Golf Club
  • Rancho Del Pueblo Golf Course
Thanks to all, and we will see you again next time!

Communication Devices:

A Range of Solutions for a Hugely Important Need

Imagine the frustration of being unable to easily communicate your needs, desires and thoughts. Some of our consumers have speech impediments or other physical or cognitive limitations that interfere with their ability to express themselves. To help them find solutions, Parents Helping Parents invited Greater Opportunities to collaborate in a research and development project supported by the Federal Disability Communications Fund, called “Communication Access for Adults with Disabilities”. The goal of the project is to improve access to communication for non-verbal or minimally verbal adults in day programs, by putting communication tools directly in the hands of the clients and staff, and giving them proper training for successful implementation.

Some of the communication devices are very simple and straightforward to use, such as individually-chosen collections of printed images of activities and things that the individual commonly desires. Some communication devices are battery-operated talking boxes operated by push buttons. More complex and sophisticated solutions include software applications for voice synthesis loaded onto an iPad.

Alan uses a hand-held laser pointer with a storyboard to select letters, words and phrases. This relatively simple communication solution has made a big difference for Alan – a bright guy who has cerebral palsy that makes it difficult for him to speak.

We are having a great time creatively exploring with clients what works best for them, and enjoying their delight when they achieve breakthroughs in their ability to communicate.

Alan using laser pointer with storyboard
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900 Lafayette St., Suite 700
Santa Clara, CA 95050