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"The VMRC Newsletter"

Friday, May 5, 2023

Message from the Executive Director

Tony Anderson

Improving Service Access throughout the Region and the State

The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) has implemented a program to improve the community’s access to services since 2016 spending about $11 million a year. In the Valley Mountain region, most of those funds have gone towards community-based organizations with projects focused on the needs of Hispanic families, the Hmong community, and various tribes throughout our region. Some of the projects we’ve developed over the years include the Cultural Fairs (now the “Disability Resource Fairs”), Agency wide Person-Centered Planning, Translated Booklet of Terms, Translator Training Project, translations of Early Start forms, translation devices, and an intensive advocacy training program called Partners in Policymaking (for a full report click here). To provide the community with more information on the impact of this program statewide, DDS is hosting two webinars on May 15, 2023, one in English at 1 pm and the second in Spanish at 3 pm (both webinars will have interpreters available in ASL, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese). To learn more check it out below:

Service Access and Equity Grant Program Briefing – English

May 15 @ 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

DDS will host the 2022-23 Service Access and Equity Grant Program Briefing on Monday May 15 to provide an overview of the grant program with invited grantees to share more about their project.


ENGLISH BRIEFING – 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Grant presentations include: Acorns to Oak Trees, Diversity in Health Training Institute (DHTI), Harbor Regional Center (HRC), Genuine Animate Navigate Assist Succeed (GANAS), and the University of Southern California Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (USC UCEDD at CHLA)

Service Access and Equity Grant Program Briefing – Spanish

May 15 @ 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Sesión Informativa del Programa de Subvenciones de Equidad y Acceso al Servicio – Español

15 de mayo del 2023 – 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm.

El Departamento (DDS) tendrá una sesión informativa del Programa de Subvenciones de Equidad y Acceso al Servicio 2022-23, el lunes 15 de mayo. El objetivo es brindar un resumen general del programa de subvenciones con la participación de beneficiarios invitados quienes compartirán sobre sus proyectos.

PRESENTACION EN ESPAÑOL – 3:00 pm a 4:00 pm

Las presentaciones de subvenciones incluyen: Genuine Animate Navigate Assist Succeed (GANAS) y Harbor Regional Center (HRC)


The Director's Travels

The May 8, 2023 board communication on the director's activites...

Upcoming VMRC Public Meetings

Executive Committee Meeting (Hybrid)

Wednesday, May 10, 2023, 6:30 PM

702 N. Aurora Street, Stockton, CA 95202

Click Here for Zoom Information

Upcoming VMRC Service Provider Meetings

Transportation Forum (Virtual)

Thursday, May 11, 2023, 11:00 AM

Click Here for Zoom Information

Case Management Update - Adults

Christine Couch

Director of Consumer Services - Adults

The Modesto Transition Fair was so much fun!! We met so many new friends and said hi to all of our old friends. Davis Stringer got his face painted!!

From SAMHSA, The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration!

Our words matter. Get tips on how to start a conversation about mental health with a friend or loved one: 

#Together4MH #MentalHealthMonth #MHAM2023

2023 Transition Fairs are on Schedule!

Calaveras/Amador/Tuolumne Counties

Case Management Update - Children

Tara Sisemore-Hester

Director of Consumer Services - Children


ICYMI: Last week we featured a resource from Zero-to-Three, entitled Caring for Yourself While You Care for Your Children. It includes simple tips for managing stress by being in the moment, grounding oneself, and implementing mindfulness all within a parent or caregiver’s regular daily routines. Check it out! The parents you work with will thank you!


The Spring session of Early Start Online is in full swing. If you missed it this time around,registration for the Fall 2023 session will take place in August so keep an eye out for the Fall registration announcement this summer.


Also, click here to register for the Early Start Partners Symposium, being held at the Sheraton Park Hotel Anaheim on June 1 & 2. Registration is $60 per person. Download the 2023 ESPS Brochure for details about the event and the session schedule.


Hotel reservations at the preferred rate close on MAY 3!Act fast!! Click here for hotel reservations.

You are invited to join us for this free virtual training for parents and caregivers

of children with autism. Register today by clicking the link below!


When There Are No Words: Helping Children Who Don't Speak Communicate Their Wants and Needs

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

5:15pm - 6:30pm ET

Presented by Sydney Holmes, MA, LPA, LBA, BCBA

This is the fifth of six monthly trainings provided virtually by experts at the National Autism Center at May Institute. Trainings will be held on the fourth Wednesday of the month from 5:15pm - 6:30pm ET between January and June.


ABOUT THIS TRAINING: Differences in communication is a core feature of autism. Some autistic children struggle to communicate wants and needs with others, which can be challenging for children, families, and others. Although vocal communication is how many neurotypical people communicate, some autistic individuals may be better able to communicate in other ways, such as using pictures, gestures like pointing and reaching, or augmentative devices. In this presentation, we will share practical strategies that parents can use to help their child learn to communicate with others, while making learning fun and engaging for children and families.

ABOUT THE PRESENTER: Sydney Holmes, MA, LPA, LBA, BCBA is a Research Project Coordinator at the National Autism Center at May Institute. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

Register Now

Once you register, you will receive an email to confirm your attendance

and more information about the training. 

Clinical Update

Dr. Claire Lazaro

Clinical Director

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

When talking about one’s health, we include both our physical and mental health. This May, let us focus on our mental health. The U.S. Surgeon General, Dr, Vivek Murthy, has released an Advisory on The Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation facing our County, its destructive impact on our health, and the healing power of relationships.[1] More information when you click this link.

[1] Dr. Vivek Murthy. May 2, 2023.

May is also National Nurses Month Celebration

For over 20 consecutive years, Nurses have been the top ranked most trusted profession in the country.[1],[2] Thank you to all the hard working nurses who are continuously caring for us and our loved ones.

[1] Gallup. January 10, 2023.

[2] U.S. News. January 12, 2023.


Our VMRC staff were at the health fair at Riverbank Community Health Center last Saturday. Thank you to all the volunteers and participants who were there at the event.

Family Wellness Project Community Survey

VMRC is doing the Family Wellness Pilot Project that will provide free counseling services to families of individuals with developmental disabilities. This is funded through the Part C of IDEA from American Rescue Plan Act. We plan to start soon, most likely in May or June 2023. Please fill out this survey (QR code and link included below) for us to know more about your interest in this project. If you have questions, contact

FREE Sensory Friendly Films at Modesto

The DEI Corner


Mark Crear, DEI Manger

Emergency Response Update


Aaron McDonald, Emergency Response and Saftey Specialist

Wildfire Preparedness Week is May 1 – 7, 2023


We all have a role to play when it comes to being prepared for emergencies of all types. It’s important to communicate with your family about what to do during an emergency. Here are some things you can do to better prepare yourself.

Sign up to get emergency alerts and notifications at:

Things you can so to be prepared:

• Make a plan with family and neighbors

• Pack a go bag with essential items for you, your family & pets

• Learn several routes out of your neighborhood in case you need to evacuate

• Help friends and neighbors get ready

Additional resources such as - Pack your go bag, Prep Your Pets, Tips for Home Hardening, Wildfire Smoke Safety and Wildfire preparedness can be found at:

Red Cross Wildfire Pre-Planning and Evacuation Training Available

California Department of Developmental Services has partnered with the Association of Regional Center Agencies, Department of Social Services, and American Red Cross in hosting four training sessions for residential facilities staff (adult residential facilities and residential care facilities for the elderly) that are in areas with a heightened risk for wildfires. 

This training will provide you with tools to assist you in taking your emergency plan and putting it into an action plan to assistance your staff and residents in understanding the importance of being prepared in case of an emergency. This guidance and training will support the facilities in their decision to evacuate, have plans in place before they need to evacuate and have residents and staff that know the individual preparations and actions needed before, during and after a wildfire event. We are offering the following trainings.

 Four sessions are available. Please register for the Thursday that works best with your schedule:


May 11 - 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

May 25 - 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

June 1 - 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

June 15 - 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

North Valley Hills Update

   Dena Hernandez, Regional Manager (209) 473-6930

SAC6 is excited to share that we starting office hours in both the Stanislaus and San Joaquin VMRC buildings. SAC6 is the VMRC consumer advocate. If your free stop by and say, “Hi” we would love to meet you and share some information with you about self advocacy and how you can start a self advocacy chapter. If you have a concern about your services from receive from VMRC, we can assist you with finding a solution. We have brochures and handouts we would love to share with you. We are here for you!

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