The Local Communities

Without the consistent and committed support of key local communities, the Center could not exist. The medical, political and college communities as well as the public at large, appreciate the benefits the Center offers to families, friends and neighbors who are living with long-term disabilities. That appreciation is constantly shown by referrals, cooperation, joint ventures, financial assistance, and ready access to media and elected officials.

The Medical Community

The medical community, especially the rehabilitation specialists appreciate that their patients have an effective service available to them after they have done everything possible within the constraints imposed by our current health care system. Referrals to the Center come from local neurologists, internists and family medicine practitioners. The Center’s staff keeps thesePhoto of Dominican Rehab Sign physicians updated through mailings and presentations at hospital grand rounds.

Dr. Robert Quinn and Dr. Jennie Jet of the Dominican Hospital Rehabilitation Center both serve on the Center’s Advisory Board. They are frequent speakers at Center programs and advocate for the Center when the need arises. Approximately half of new referrals to the Center come from Dominican Rehabilitation.

The College Community

Robert SwensonThe founding president of Cabrillo College, Robert Swenson, was an enthusiastic supporter of the Stroke Center concept. It was through his office and support that the original college connection was made. He set the tone of support that has continued despite some rough patches when funding has been scarce.

Because the Center is so unique and because classes are so different from the mainstream, Center staff established and continue to maintain close and informative ties with the top administrators at the college and with main campus faculty. The staff readily assumes positions of responsibility in college governance to avoid isolationism. Center directors and staff have consistently served on Faculty Senate, CCFT, the college teachers’ union and other key committees. The Center's work is widely known and appreciated, even if it is not completely understood!

Disabled students' programs along with allied health and horticulture therapy programs interact closely with Center staff and students. These programs form a strong alliance that will become even stronger when the program moves from its current off-campus site to its planned new home on the Aptos campus. Proximity and commitment to a new facility will weave the program much more tightly into the fabric of the college.

The Political Community

Santa Cruz City CouncilThe Center has had the support and direct involvement of the political community from its inception in the early 1970s. Local elected officials served on the grant-supported Stroke Advisory Board that created the program. Just as they were present at its birth, local elected officials have been key to the Center’s growth and development for 30 years. The Santa Cruz City Council granted the $1.00-a-year lease for the Delaveaga Site during the Center’s second year of operation. Both the City and Counties of Santa Cruz provided additional funding to help support the fledgling program until the end of revenue sharing in 1985. After that, it was again local governments that joined with local nonprofit agencies and facilitated the formation of the Human Care Alliance to assist in the preservation of local governement funding.

California State SealTwice, state legislators have been called upon directly to enable the community college system to continue to provide the framework for the setting. And, the community college system in California has had the unwavering support of local legislators.

State Senators Henry Mello and Bruce McPherson (now California’s Secretary of State) and Assemblymen Sam Farr (now US Congressman), along with former SpeakerFour State Legislators Pro Tem of the Assembly, Fred Keeley have always been available to assist Cabrillo and the Center. State Assemblyman, John Laird, served on Cabrillo’s Governing Board before his successful election to state office. He is also a former nonprofit agency director and was an active member of the Human Care Alliance.

Congressman Sam Farr brought the Center to the attention of Congress. Through his efforts, the Center is now an official Federal Demonstration Project. Although Congressman Farr had been aware of the program’s powerful model since the time his father had a stroke, it was a reminder from Stroke Center student, Leo Greenberg that brought about federal financial support for encouraging replication of the program.

The Nonprofit Community

Human Care Alliance LogoAlthough the Center is a department in the local community college it maintains very close ties with the private non-profit agencies in the community that serve seniors and individuals with disabilities. Strong interactions among the medical, political educational and nonprofit communities can lead to cost and energy savings and much better outcomes for the constituents being served. The Third Sector as the private nonprofit sector is known, is in some regards unique to the United States, and is especially strong in Santa Cruz County. Most local health and human service private nonprofits are members of The Human Care Alliance. This formal body is unique to Santa Cruz and underscores the spirit of cooperative service that typifies the community at large.

The Alliance was formed over 15 years ago when federal revenue sharing came to an end. Initially, only those agencies that had received revenue sharing dollars were a part of the Alliance. But, the benefits of close cooperation, which assure that services are not duplicated and emerging needs are met, became apparent. Over 60 agencies are currently active members. Because of the power of the group effort and the number of voting citizens that are served by the agencies, it became important for all of the Santa Cruz County cities to participate and contribute their fair share. Substantial consistent funding from the County of Santa Cruz and the cities of Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Capitola and Scotts Valley stemming from the advocacy of the Alliance is crucial to the Center’s success.

Aside from the funding aspect, active participation in the Alliance keeps the Center deeply involved all aspects of the health and human services needs of the community. In addition, funding opportunities and unique solutions to common problems frequently come from our partnering agencies.

The General Public

The Center has always received wide support from the community at large. Local newspapers, radio stations, community television and local network affiliates, local entertainment venues, churches, service clubs and societies have provided smooth access and generous assistance.

A glance at the Santa Cruz Sentinel and Register Pajaronian reveals numerous feature articles and quotations referencing the Center. The Center is regularly featured on Community Television and is frequently seen or heard on local TV and radio network affiliates.

The Center was featured on the PBS series, Healing Quest. In addition, three different local films have been made about the Center. The most recent film venture was done professionally as part of the federal demonstration project. The Santa Cruz film festival invited the filmmakers to present the film at an afternoon showing so that Center students could easily attend and see themselves on the big screen.

The local business community assists regularly with in-kind donations and discounts. And Center participants have three times been awarded the JC Penny Golden Rule Award.

Local service clubs, Elks, Lions, and Rotary donate money and invite staff regularly to update members on Center affairs. Center staff have been recipients of a variety of service club awards.

Art League News ArticleArt exhibits at the Center have been well attended. And, Center students have had exhibits in the Administration Office on the main campus at the college and at Santa Cruz Art League.

A notable interaction with the community occurred Disability Awareness Day when five agencies teamed up and challenged community leaders to “acquire” a disability for the morning and go about their jobs. The Sherrif, a TV anchorman, Cabrillo’s President members of city councils andDisbility Day News Clip the County Board of Supervisors all participated. They were teamed with a mentor who lives daily with the same disability. All joined for an enlightening concluding lunch at a local restaurant. It was amazing!

Advisory Board

Members of the Advisory Board are drawn from the community at large. They meet once a semester to assist the Center in maintaining awareness of and adequately meeting the community’s needs. The purpose of the Advisory Board is to:

  • Clarify and reinforce mission and values as
    program prepares to move
  • Identify further opportunities to serve educational
    needs of people with acquired disabilities
  • Provide advice about program development and outreach
  • Facilitate liaison with other community organizations
  • Give guidance and support for fundraising activities

Current members of the Advisory Board are:

Claudine Wildman, Cabrillo
Governing Board
Mark Stone,
Santa Cruz County
5th District Supervisor
Ryan Coonerty,
Santa Cruz City Council
Karen Gosling,
Physical Therapist
Brigid Simpkins,
active community supporter and volunteer

Jennie Jet, MD

Barbara Schatan,
local real estate broker

Susan Roth, retired local business owner and spouse of a
Center student.

Rob Quinn, MD,
Medical Director
of Dominican        Rehabilitation Center.

Cabrillo College Stroke Center Auxiliary

In 1982, an Auxiliary was formed as a private nonprofit organization specifically to raise money to support building repairs and operations at the Center. Auxiliary members are primarily friends of the Center, rather than students or family members. Their fundraising appeals and events focus on the entire community, broadening the base of the annual funding requirements. Over the years, they have contributed many of the major improvements to the building.

Local Communities l Participants l Staff

We are grateful to Congressman Sam Farr and the US Department of Education,
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation for the funding support that made this website possible.