For more than a century, Vista Del Mar has been here to help children and families in need. From our founding as an orphanage in 1908, we have continually evolved to serve the changing needs of our community by offering a range of exceptional programs in education, mental health, autism, adoption, residential care, prevention and early intervention that are nurturing and accessible to over 6,000 children and families annually.
Services provided by our agency include:
- a therapeutic residential treatment for emotionally disturbed youth, a non-public, special needs school for emotionally disturbed youth and children with autism (K-12),
- private adoption services for both domestic and international adoptions,
- a network of mental health and case management services for children at risk of out-of-home placement;
- mental health services to students in schools throughout Los Angeles, therapeutic services for children with autism,
- individual and group counseling for children and families,
- educational assessment and treatment, child abuse prevention services,
- and early childhood care and provider training.
VistaDel Mar has been awarded a Gold Seal by the Joint Commission, which is the highest level of accreditation a behavioral health organization can achieve.
The Vista School, a non-public located on our West Los Angeles campus, is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and serves approximately 350 children who have learning disabilities or developmental challenges, as well as those experiencing social problems, emotional problems, behavior problems or other mental health issues.
Every child who arrives at The Vista School has experienced a life filled with challenges. Whether emotional, behavioral, or developmental, those challenges have created an obstacle for that child’s success. Our mission is to help that child overcome those challenges and prepare them to continue their academic career, and that process begins with the development of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Tailored to the child’s unique needs, the IEP contains annual, measurable goals for academics, behavior, social and emotional development, together with recommendations for any classes and electives at our school that may help the child reach those goals.
Because every child’s challenges are unique, every lesson plan is unique, too. For example, within a single middle school grade our students may have widely varying reading abilities, with some reading at the Kindergarten level. This lack of reading ability may hold the child back in his or her other academic subjects as well. Although we maintain small class sizes (up to 12 students), each of our teachers has several classes per day, totaling dozens of students, each with his or her own special needs. With several dozen individualized lesson plans to create, it is easy to understand how even our highly skilled teachers can be overwhelmed.
That’s why we are announcing our new classroom Laptop Initiative, “No Child Left Unplugged.” No Child Left Unplugged aims to provide each Vista student with a laptop computer to use while at our school. The laptop will enable each student to upload and access lesson plans specially tailored for them by their teacher, and work at his or her own pace, without peer pressure or fear of failure.
But it will also serve another, equally important function. The majority of our children come from low-income families without access to computers, which puts them at a further disadvantage compared to students in public schools. By providing them with state of the art software and instruction, No Child Left Unplugged will help them develop valuable a skill set that will serve them throughout school and making them more employable when they graduate.
Approximately 140 of the children in our school have developmental disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorder. Some are unable to speak. For them, tablet computers can provide a vital link with those around them by allowing them to type what they want to say on the screen. In this way, the table gives them with a “voice,” some for the first time in their lives.
These are only a few of the reasons that we feel this initiative is not only important, but vital to the success and well-being of the children we serve.
Our goal for No Child Left Unplugged is to provide and support 350 laptops for our students, as well as 50 tablets for our non-verbal students. These numbers include spare computers for those that may malfunction or be damaged during use.
Adding this many users to Vista’s network will also require an upgrade to our infrastructure, including wiring, installation of charging stations, an additional server, and a dedicated technician to ensure that the laptops and the network continue to function smoothly.
Clearly, this is an ambitious project, but we know that we can reach our goal with your help. We hope that you will take this opportunity to support No Child Left Unplugged and open up a new pathway to learning that has been closed until now. Together with your support, we can ensure the ongoing operation of these important services to the most vulnerable members of our society.
Attached to this email is an electronic copy of our brochure. You can also visit our website at www.vistadelmar.org. If you need more information on Vista Del Mar or the initiative, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 836-1223 ext. 274.