SDLC Classes

Where learning happens

At the Stroke and Disability Learning Center, we are committed to both healing and learning. Our students include, but are not limited to, those who have experienced:

  • stroke
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • traumatic brain injury / tumor
  • arthritis
  • speech, language or hearing impairment

These or other orthopedic or neurological limitations, make you a great candidate for the Cabrillo College Stroke and Disability Learning Center where you will gain new knowledge and skills.

Our professional team provides instruction and techniques for learning new activities and re-learning familiar tasks. For many, repetition, practice and perseverance are the keys to success. A community of support is built as students receive encouragement from others who have had similar experiences, share accomplishments and witness each other "standing tall."

The SDLC also provides opportunities for service and experiential learning to Cabrillo students interested in careers in Health and Human Services.

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CORE Classes
A foundation to build on

Core classes are offered as part of the Cabrillo College Accessibility Support Center (ASC). Classes include: counseling, mobility, adaptive yoga, speech language and memory classes.

Your support team

The counselor's primary goal is to help students clarify their educational goals so they can maximize college and community resources and develop successful strategies for adaptation. Counselors speak with prospective students and their families by phone, arrange tours and coordinate student assessments. An Orientation class helps new students learn about the program, choose the correct classes and then begin to integrate into classes. 

CORE counseling classes include Exploring Abilities, Self-Management, Women's group and Men's group. Each class assists students gain self-awareness and confidence as they pursue their learning goals and interests.

Mobility and Adaptive Yoga
Fun and Fitness

The majority of students who come to the Center want to regain lost function in mobility and/or dexterity, as well as maintain and improve their fitness level. The instructors, who are licensed physical therapists, and the class assistants, provide group activities at different levels of function and ability. Students encourage each other to push past limitations through committed exercise and practice. Goals include improving use of upper and lower extremities by developing strength, dexterity, flexibility, balance, coordination and endurance.

Speech and Language
Connecting through communication

Communication skills are crucial for successful relationships and for meaningful participation in the community. The SDLC instructor, who is a speech therapist, and their instructional assistant, offer CORE classes that strengthen oral communication, reading, writing and memory strategies. A fully equipped Computer Lab allows students to access the many resources of the Internet as well as specific programs to promote language skills. Students pursue individual goals to improve voice and speech, gesture, hearing, listening, comprehension, attention, thought processes and memory.

HEART classes
Health, Education , Art and Recreation Together

The HEART Program is offered in collaboration with Cabrillo Extension. In our current online format, HEART classes include Choir, Horticultural Therapy and Painting. When able to operate in person, we also offer Upper Body, and Ceramics. HEART Program classes are reserved for students enrolled in CORE classes.


After a stroke, many individuals lose language capabilities yet are able to sing because music lives in a different part of the brain. Our choir gives students the opportunity to exercise voice and harmony, as well as to perform for our Stroke Center parties.

Penny Hanna, BA

Penny Hanna plays popular, jazz, and classical music on saxophone, bass, guitar, and viola da gamba. After spending most of her career on the road as a multi-instrumentalist and singer, she is thrilled and inspired to be part of the Cabrillo College Stroke Center Choir, blending voices with all the enthusiastic and gifted students.


Each week we combine our love of learning and plants! This class is lively and fun with lots of interaction and socializing organized around plant-based activities. Working with plants can be therapeutic and mood lifting. Sessions are specifically designed for all abilities to use fine and gross motor skills and stimulate the senses. While we nurture, cultivate and grow plants we do the same for ourselves.

Trish Hildinger

Trish has a B.S. in Horticulture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and is a registered horticultural therapist. Before beginning her current work in horticultural therapy, she taught gardening to children, teachers, and community members for over 25 years both in Santa Cruz and through teacher workshops across the U.S. Combining her gardening skills with a desire to help others led her to horticultural therapy. In 2017 she completed her professional registration through the American Horticultural Therapy Association. In 2018 she started and founded the Horticultural Therapy Association of California and Horticultural Therapy Santa Cruz. She has worked with the SDLC since June of 2018.


Max Rain
Max Rain is overjoyed to be teaching ceramics at the SDLC. He took his first clay class over 20 years ago as a freshman in college and immediately fell in love with the medium. Max has shown his work both locally and internationally, and has been teaching at the college level since 2009. He is currently the head of sculpture and ceramics at Gavilan College in Gilroy.

Max has also taught numerous ceramics courses for children, and genuinely believes that everybody is inherently wonderful at sculpting clay, regardless of their situation or experience. Ceramics has transcendent effects in terms of self-expression, nurturing creativity, and overall personal development. Plus, making stuff with clay is fun!

Max lives in the forest above Aptos with his wife, two kids, and a goofy puppy.


Painting class includes experimentation in a variety of media, which fosters self-expression, self-discovery, and emotional growth. Students benefit from personal fulfillment, empowerment, relaxation/stress relief, and are encouraged to learn a new medium and create meaningful images. Class discussions include elements of diverse two dimensional art, both modern and historical.

Barbara Bailey-Porter

Barbara enjoys getting to know, support, and be inspired by the strength of our students at SDLC. She came to the SDLC in 2008 as an Art Therapist teaching therapeutic ceramics classes. Since then, she has attained her CA Marriage and Family Therapist license, is one of two counselors here at SDLC, and continues to provide Art Therapy to our students. Barbara holds a Masters Degree in Fine Art, and a dual Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and Art Therapy. She also maintains a private practice as an LMFT and an art studio. Barbara loves teaching, working in her garden, big family dinners, crocheting, traveling and of course being in her studio.


Jodi Zenczak
Jodi has worked at the Stroke Center on and off since 1999. She has a Master's Degree in Social Work through San Jose State University and specialized in aging and elder care. Jodi also has experience in the physical therapy field working alongside therapists in a variety of settings. She worked as an Ombudsman for individuals living in skilled nursing and residential care facilities and was a volunteer at Hospice organizations. She is a New Yorker who has lived in Santa Cruz for over twenty years and is raising her family here. The Stroke Center holds a special place in her heart and she loves working with all of the dedicated staff, resilient and inspiring students, and the many wonderful volunteers. Jodi loves hiking, reading, poetry and writing and loves her time spent at the Stroke Center. She is so grateful to be a part of such a dignified, loving, and supportive environment! The hard working students and staff bring such light and joy to her life.