January 2021
A New Year Message from Executive Director, Dennis Rutnam
Dear TASC Families and Supporters,

I am honored to address my first communication with you as TASC’s newly appointed Executive Director.

It is incredible how life unfolds. If you had told me twenty three years ago when I started at TASC that I would be leading this organization and that my first day as Executive Director would be in the middle of an unrelenting pandemic, it would have been simply unbelievable. Especially the pandemic part.

I feel so fortunate to step into this role and continue leading TASC to serve our clients with developmental disabilities during COVID-19. My deep knowledge of TASC these many years allows for a seamless leadership transition, which is critical at this time.

While this pandemic has changed many things, it has not changed the importance of working together to fulfill TASC’s mission of providing innovative and proactive services that empower individuals with diverse intellectual, developmental and mental health needs.

We saw this across groups, from our families to board members, volunteers, staff, clients, and community supporters. We thank you.

At the beginning of COVID-19, you donated the necessary items for our in-home clients when they needed them most. Then throughout the rest of 2020, there was enormous support for our virtual fundraisers and events that brought in critical funding to provide the necessary services for our clients across all programs. From helping us purchase tablets for clients to access Zoom classes, items for at-home activity packets, and various PPE for clients and staff to stay safe, and much more.
We were also grateful for the funding made available in our local community to purchase necessary items provided by grants from the Lake Balboa Neighborhood Council, Boston Private Bank, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s office, Verizon’s community grant, and Nonprofits Insurance Alliance.

Along with the ongoing support of families that have been understanding and flexible as programs change based on safety for clients, while still ensuring their most productive and enjoyable day as possible.
We could not have done this without you.
Another testament to the power of teamwork is TASC’s dedicated employees who have been working nonstop to ensure #1: Our services are provided in the safest way possible and #2: Services are individualized and flexible to meet each client and family’s unique needs, especially as needs change during COVID-19.
I am especially proud of the quality of the alternative services we can offer to clients and staff members' willingness at every level to not just do their jobs, but volunteer to take on extra responsibilities to ensure the client’s needs are met.
Enough hearing about my proudest moments. We asked a few team members to chime in, and below are some of their statements.
Now, as we move into this awaited year, 2021, we must continue to work together and keep our spirits lifted as we anticipate the next shift of changes.
While some community members have started receiving the vaccine, many of our clients are not yet eligible. This is an area that we are advocating for as they are amongst the most vulnerable to the virus. See the section below on how to advocate for this issue or reply to this email for more information.
This year, we will also be working toward our strategic goals as defined in our Strategic Plan that was updated with a group including clients, families, and staff from different levels and departments during the summer of 2020.
We have big goals for TASC that will:
  • Increase the quality of services to our clients with a person-centered approach,
  • Create innovative programs based on our client’s needs,
  • Increase training for our staff members on their positions to best serve our clients and meet our mission to support them.
We will meet these goals with the caring, familiar, and family-like culture that is well-known at TASC.
I also look forward to getting to know each of you on a deeper level. Trust that I will be making my own thank you phone calls that just might rival Ken Lane’s!
Speaking of Ken, know that he didn’t go too far from TASC as he is now a part of TASC’s Board of Directors. He will continue providing support and knowledge from a different perspective while enjoying the retired life. Don’t be surprised if he continues to make his famous thank you calls. One of his favorite things is to hear how TASC has impacted the lives of so many individuals.
I’d like to end this message with one of TASC’s core-values that not only summarizes the work seen throughout 2020 at TASC but is also a sentiment to guide us into 2021:
Courage. We believe it takes courage; to be innovative in our programs, overcome personal adversity, and be the leaders that contribute to the advancement of our community and those we serve. We are not afraid to confront adversity, find opportunities for growth in all that we do, and do it together as the TASC family.
With thanks and appreciation,

Dennis Rutnam, TASC Executive Director

P.S. Be on the lookout for your list of 2020 tax-deductible donations to TASC. Depending on the information we have on file, they will either be mailed or emailed to you. If you have any questions please email: Christie Hight at chight@taschq.com
New Series: Meet Our TASC Board of Directors
We are excited to introduce you to our TASC Board Members through this new series to be featured in our monthly newsletters.

First to kick-off this series is Larry Getlin that joined the board last year. Larry has a clear desire to serve our community and our organization as an active member of the board and member in several committees within TASC.
Tell us a little about yourself:
I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, graduating from San Fernando High School and Cal State University at Northridge. I Obtained a JD degree and moved to Minnesota in 1991 where I served in various senior executive positions for a medical device manufacturing company, providing strategic guidance and leadership of legal, regulatory, clinical testing, and compliance organizations. Currently, I am a board member of the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation and a member of the St. Cloud State University School of Engineering Advisory Board for the Applied Education in the MedTech Industry MBA Program. 
Why do you serve on TASC’s Board of Directors?
I believe in the Mission and Vision of the TASC organization and the commitment I have seen as it pertains to all of its clients including their extended families.

There is a community spirit that TASC embodies that draws me to wanting to be part of that process and offer any benefit of my 45 years of business experience in the healthcare industry in California and Minnesota
In spite of all of the adversity experienced this year due to the pandemic this organization has found enumerable ways to make a difference in the daily lives of its clients. As a result, there are new avenues and processes to be explored with a broader expertise of guidance that can be accessed through additional and varied background of board membership.
What is the best thing about serving on TASC’s Board?
Interaction with a broad range of dedicated members who provide unique insights, commitment to excellence, desire to make a difference, and instill an environment of organizational community.
What are your future hopes for TASC?
I have had a great experience in being involved in TASC’s future through its strategic planning process and I consider it a privilege to help guide those plans in coming to fruition.
What is one surprising or fun fact about you to share with our TASC readers?
For the past 23 years, along with a group of friends, I take a week to explore by canoe and portaging the northern wilderness in Minnesota called the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, which provides a unique opportunity to experience all the wonders nature has to offer without any form of motorized vehicles or other global distractions.

What is your favorite leadership quote?
Roadblocks provide opportunities for innovative thinking and action.
Advocate for COVID-19 Vaccines for Individuals with Disabilities
Individuals with disabilities should be prioritized in the next phase 1B. Make your voice heard by following these simple steps provided by Disability Voices United.
  • Governor Gavin Newsom
  • Click HERE to email him
  • Or call at 916-445-2841
  • California Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly
  • Click HERE to email him
  • Dr. Tomas Aragon, Director, California Dept of Public Health
  • Click HERE to email him
1) Introduce yourself - say if you are
  • a person with a disability
  • a family member of a person with a disability
  • a professional who works with people with disabilities
2) Explain why the vaccine is important for people with disabilities
  • We can't wait for a vaccine
  • People with disabilities are more at risk for getting and dying of COVID
  • People with disabilities need to be prioritized for vaccinations
  • The vaccine rollout must be accessible to people with disabilities
Your email or phone call doesn't have to be long. It just needs to be your words and feelings. AND IT NEEDS TO BE DONE RIGHT AWAY!
On Wednesday, Association of Regional Center Agencies (ARCA) co-sponsored a town hall webinar with Disability Voices United (DVU), the State Council on Developmental
Disabilities (SCDD), and Disability Rights California (DRC).

The town hall is archived on Facebook for you to watch.

Click here to download the SCDD COVID-19 presentation
from Aaron Caruthers.

Click here to download DVUs Advocacy Plan on Inclusion as a PDF.
Upcoming Events & Community Resources
Saturday, January 30
10:00AM - 3:30PM

Event: Aquarium of the Pacific's Virtual Festival of Human Abilities

Join the Aquarium of the Pacific for its 18th annual Festival of Human Abilities, a celebration highlighting the creative talents and abilities of people with disabilities. This event is free.

Learn more: https://fb.me/e/40dbLptus
Tuesday, February 2

Event: TASC Fundraising Committee

Support TASC by joining our Fundraising Committee! All meetings are being held virtually. Click HERE to join the meeting. Passcode: 052171

Tuesday, February 9

Event: Dealing with Difficult Emotions During the Pandemic

Hosted by ETTA and the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles is a virtual discussion about loneliness, loss, grief, and boredom for adults with developmental disabilities. Registration is free, click HERE.
Monday, February 15

Event: Presidents' Day

TASC programs and office are OPEN!

Thursday, February 18

Event: Virtual Education on Dementia

Hosted by the Alzheimer’s Association, this event is an introduction to the 10 Warning Signs of Dementia. In this training, attendees will learn about the risk of developing dementia for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities; the unique signs and symptoms of dementia and available community resources.

To register, please call Michelle Quiroga-Diaz, LCSW at 818.446.1687 or email mquirogadiaz@alz.org
Thursday, March 18

Event: Virtual Caregiver Support Group

Hosted by the Alzheimer’s Association, this support group is for families caring for a loved one with dementia and intellectual/developmental disabilities. This ongoing support group will be on the 3rd Thursday of the month, starting in March.

To register, please call Michelle Quiroga-Diaz, LCSW at 818.446.1687 or email mquirogadiaz@alz.org
Mission Statement:
The Adult Skills Center (TASC) provides innovative and proactive services that empowers individuals with diverse intellectual, developmental and mental health needs to achieve their highest level of independence and realize their greatest potential.

TASC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your contribution will have an immediate and direct impact on TASC’s ability to improve the lives of the men and women we serve. Your contributions are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law. Tax ID: 95-4116924
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