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"The VMRC Newsletter"

Friday, October 27, 2023

Message from the Executive Director

Tony Anderson

A Letter from the Director

It is with mixed emotions that I write this letter to our Valley Mountain Regional Center Community, but this past Wednesday evening during our closed session of the board meeting I informed the board I will not be renewing my contract as the executive director after January 3, 2024. On one hand I am sad to report that my seven-year tenure at VMRC will be ending but on the other hand I am very excited to report that I will be moving to the Association of Regional Center Agencies (ARCA) as the associate director focused on disability public policy for people with developmental disabilities and their families throughout California. This is a wonderful opportunity for me in my career in service to our community throughout the state. My time at VMRC has been life changing for me and I hope I have been able to make a difference in the lives of the people we serve in our region.

To the staff at VMRC I am forever grateful to every one of you, you have shown me what true grace looks like as you remain persistent in service even in the face of surmounting regulatory requirements and occasional criticism.

To the provider community who I have watched strengthen and organize your network and build your own professional development structure admired across the state, I am filled with admiration and hope for the future of our provider network.

To the board of directors who I watched go from bickering and limited prospects for board development to a cohesive board that can ask good and hard questions of each other and who always have about 10 times more board applicants than open positions. Through the leadership of Melinda, Tom, Margaret and now Suzanne, with the stable support of Doug, our board is a shining example for community nonprofits everywhere. We can all feel confident that this transition will be handled with great care and intention.

To all our community partners your willingness to work on dozens of projects for our community every year is forever etched in my memory as the true spirit of community inclusion.

To all my staff in the director’s office who work tirelessly on specific important projects, often alone with little support or direction, I thank you for pushing through for better outcomes for people with disabilities. The work may seem lonely at times but your impact is large scale.

To my own leadership team, whom I work with the most and closest, I am comfortable leaving knowing you are all competent and capable of continuing to achieve great things for our community in this fast paced ever changing environment which has become the new normal for our system. Your dedication is solid and your commitment steadfast.

To our program managers, the most popular staff in the regional center, I have come to learn that you are the key to whether this regional center excels to the highest standards as we meet our caseload ratios by the end of the fiscal year and train all the new service coordinators in the next 12 to 18 months. With your track record of a low turnover rate that is the best throughout the state and being with over these past 7 years I have 100% confidence that VMRC’s best days are ahead.

And to the people we serve and their families, thank you, it has been an absolute honor to serve you. I have learned from so many resilient families about why the regional center is here and how it plays an integral role in their lives. The endless pages of comments from grateful families leaves my heart full of confirmation that the work of VMRC makes a difference every day.

And finally, to the army of self-advocates and those who help their voices become elevated in our public discourse and dialogue, it is a privilege to dedicate my career to you. When you show up, I am inspired. When you speak up, I am awakened. And when you inspire other self-advocates to engage, I am silent, listening for your direction. You make me think, you make me laugh, and you fill me with appreciation.




VMRC Consumer Services Committee Meeting (Hybrid)

Wednesday, November 1, 2023, 5:00 PM

702 N. Aurora Street, Stockton, CA 95202, Cohen Board Room

Click Here for Zoom Information

Case Management Update - Children

Tara Sisemore-Hester

Director of Consumer Services - Children

Reframing Our Words: Having Challenging Conversations With Respect

with Michelle Oliver, MS, ECSE

Wednesday November 29, 2023

3:30pm - 5:00pm

Virtual Event


Can't attend the event live? 

Register to receive access to the recording!

Have you ever had those visits where you wish you had said something differently? 


Do you often wonder how to ask a hard question and answer when a parent asks a hard question?


What about those times when you may be frustrated and wish that you could communicate with the family more affectively? 


Let’s get together and work through some of these situations. Finding ways to reframe or rephrase things we want to say is an important skill and takes practice. 


Join us as we all practice together.


Learning Objectives:

·    Recognize how our priorities may not align with families

·    Explore various ways to gather information from families

·     Compare and contrast sample questions/statements

Michelle E. Oliver, MS, ECSE works in numerous capacities in the field of Early Intervention and special education. She has worked in a variety of roles since 1994, from home visiting to program specialist, and director. Her passion is direct service with families and professional development support.  Currently, Michelle provides direct service and support to families in Early Start, with a focus on families whose children have been in the NICU,   Michelle is a Consultant with her local regional center, providing ongoing support sessions to Private Infant Programs. Read more

Non-Member: $30

IDA Agency/Individual Member: $25

IDA Parent/Student/New Clinician Member: $20



IDA CE Hours: Nursing, PT, Speech and Language $15 (1.5 hour)



ADA Requests: Contact IDA @

with ADA request by November 13, 2023

Register Now

Sensory Friendly Movies

Regal Cinemas provides sensory friendly movie experiences at their Stockton City Center Theater. The next showing will be The Marvels on November 10th. Please visit

Case Management Update - Adults

Christine Couch

Director of Consumer Services - Adults

Clinical Update

Dr. Claire Lazaro

Clinical Director

Health Fair at the VMRC Stockton Office

What: Flu Shots, and other vaccines such as Hepatitis B, TDaP, Shingles, and Pneumococcal. And Health Fair with Medicare Part D Enrollment, medication review, Naloxone nasal spray, Health screenings and health supplies such as blood glucose monitor, blood pressure monitor, etc (while supplies last).

When: October 27th, 2023 at 1 – 5 pm

Where: 702 N Aurora Street, Stockton, CA

Make an appointment: call (209) 687-4014

Bring your Medical and Prescription card, Medicare Card (if you have one), and ALL your medications.

Members of Kaiser will have to go to Kaiser as UOP don’t have the ability to bill Kaiser.

Take a Look at the Rest of the 2023 University of Pacific Health Fairs

National Dental Hygiene Month

Week 4 – from Karissa McGuffin, RDHAP, VMRC Dental Coordinator

Brushing and flossing your teeth are great ways to keep your mouth healthy but those aren’t the only ways! There are other healthy habits to include in your life to keep teeth, gums, and tongue healthy. One of the most important ways is by eating foods that are good for your teeth. Crunchy fruits and vegetables are great at removing extra food from your teeth and removing the soft bacteria on your teeth called plaque. An apple is nature’s floss! Another food that is great for your teeth is cheese. It is full of calcium to strengthen your bones and teeth but it also makes our mouth less acidic which prevents cavities. Drinking a lot of water keeps our mouth from getting dry and rinses the left over food from our teeth. Bad habits can prevent us from having a healthy mouth. Smoking and vaping is one of the worst habits for our teeth. It can cause cavities and gum disease. Another habit to remember that effects our mouth poorly is drinking alcohol. It can dry out your mouth which means there is less saliva to protect our teeth. 

Community Services Update


Brian Bennett, Director of Community Services

Attention DIRECT SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS (in licensed residential care)!

San Joaquin County Office of Education will be having another In-Person Year 1 DSP Training starting November 6, 2023. Please see dates and time below:

In-Person (Year 1 DSP Training)

November 6, 7, 9, 13, 14, 16, 17, 2023

Time: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with a 1-hour lunch

Registration is open at

!!!Special Incident Report Training (SIR) !!!!


Date: Tuesday, November 14th

Time: 9 AM to 11:30 AM

Location: Valley Mountain Regional Center – Stockton Location

(702 N. Aurora St.)

Fee: $15 per registrant (only participating registrants may attend) – non-refundable


Registration Link:


Date: Wednesday, November 15th

Time: 1 PM to 3:30 PM

Location: via Dialpad (online)

Fee: $15 per registrant (only participating registrants may attend) – non-refundable


Registration Link:

VMRC’s revised CPP / CRDP Proposals for 2023-2024


Valley Mountain Regional Center has been collecting input over the past year related to potential unmet Community Placement Plan / Community Resource Development Planning service needs; VMRC generates “unmet” resource information from Case Management staff on a routine basis. All project requests are dependent on Department of Developmental Services (DDS) approval and will be developed through the Request for Proposal (RFP) process, in accordance with VMRC’s Administrative Policy 200-11-01.

VMRC is proposing the following projects as priorities for CPP/CRDP resource development for the 2023-2024 fiscal year.

1. $1.5 million to support renovation or acquisition of affordable, supportive housing predevelopment or renovation

2. $250,000 Start Up Funds to support:

(1) Adult Day Program to support persons requiring significant (sometimes 1:1) staffing support from well-trained direct support staff and with support from a licensed BCBA (consultant) in San Joaquin County

3. $250,000 Start Up Funds to support:

(1) Adult Day Program to support persons requiring significant (sometimes 1:1) staffing support from well-trained direct support staff and with support from a licensed BCBA (consultant) in South Stanislaus County

4. 150,000 for renovation to VMRC’s EBSH for persons with Acquired Brain Injuries. To improve the exterior property, to renovate existing “out building” and to add calming and relaxation paths, outdoor activity areas

We invite you to email your comments related to these project proposals (and any suggestions ) for CPP/CRDP development to the Director of Community Services, Brian L. Bennett no later than Monday November 6th.

This is not a Request for Proposal but rather VMRC’s planned projects for 2023-2024

Social Recreational Opportunity in Stockton

Made possible by a Grant from the Department of Developmental Services

!!! Attention! Children’s Residential Providers!!!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER for the Congregate Care Provider Session


CLICK HERE TO REGISTER for the FFA and Adoption Agency Session

Emergency Services Update


Aaron McDonald, Emergency Response and Safety Specialist

Flood Preparedness Week: October 21-28, 2023

California Flood Preparedness Week began in 2012 with a single event in Sacramento County and is now in its eleventh year. DWR supports events across the state, working with federal, state, and local agencies to inform Californians about flood risk and flood preparedness.

Did you know that every county in California has been declared a federal flood disaster area at least once in the last 20 years?  California experiences many types of flooding: alluvial fan, debris flow, riverine, coastal, tsunami, flash, and localized floods:

  • Alluvial Fan Flooding: Occurs in areas at the base of a valley where the slope flattens out, allowing floodwater to decrease in speed and spread out, dropping sediment over a fan-shaped area. This type of flooding is characterized by high-velocity flows; active processes of erosion, sediment transport, and deposition; and unpredictable flow paths.
  • Debris Flow: can move much faster than floods in steep channel reaches and much slower than floods in low-gradient reaches.
  • Riverine Flooding: is a flood that occurs when rivers overflow their banks and flow into surrounding areas. Depending on the surrounding terrain, these types of floods can result from torrential rain and can stick around for days or even weeks.
  • Coastal Flooding: is a flood that occurs when (often low-lying) land that is usually dry is flooded with seawater. This happens because, for some reason, the sea level rises, and it will spill onto the land.
  • Tsunamis: are giant waves caused by earthquakes or volcanic eruptions under the sea. Out in the depths of the ocean, tsunami waves do not dramatically increase in height. But as the waves travel inland, they build up to higher and higher heights as the depth of the ocean decreases. The speed of tsunami waves depends on ocean depth rather than the distance from the source of the wave. Tsunami waves may travel as fast as jet planes over deep waters, only slowing down when reaching shallow waters. While tsunamis are often referred to as tidal waves, this name is discouraged by oceanographers because tides have little to do with these giant waves.
  • Flash Flooding: is flooding that begins within 6 hours, and often within 3 hours, of the heavy rainfall (or other cause).
  • Localized Flooding: is a flood that occurs when rainfall overwhelms the capacity of urban drainage systems.

Not every part of California experiences every type of flooding, but the results of each are the same: without proper preparedness, lives, homes, infrastructure, and agriculture are lost, and damage to the environment and economy is likely. It is crucial for people to prepare for flooding by following three basic steps:

Be aware of your risk: Know whether your home is in a flood zone (; pay attention to weather forecasts; and listen to local authorities.

Be prepared: Always have an emergency evacuation kit ready; be prepared to evacuate early; have a household inventory with copies of critical documents; and have a plan for where you will go in an emergency and what to do with your pets.

Take action: Evacuate immediately when advised to. Also, homeowners’ insurance does not cover damage due to flooding; consider purchasing flood insurance (

Preparing your home for flooding:

  • Look up your address on MyHazards ( to discover hazards in your area and learn steps to reduce personal risk.
  • Share flood preparedness information with neighbors, students, family, and friends.
  • Teach them how to prepare an emergency supply kit and evacuation plan.
  • Establish a family communication plan for emergencies. Your family may not be together during an emergency so think about how you will communicate and where you will meet following an evacuation. Periodically review your plan.
  • Keep storm drains clear. If your property is prone to flooding, have sandbags, plastic sheeting, and other flood-fighting materials on hand.
  • Learn how to turn off water, gas, and electricity connections to your home in the event that your home is flooded. Contact your local utility companies for their help.
  • Do not try to escape rising floodwater by going into the attic unless you have roof access or unless it’s your only option.
  • Consider flood insurance. Most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover flood damage. Ask your insurance agent about obtaining flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program ( A 30-day wait period is typically required before a flood insurance policy takes effect. Contact your insurance provider for more information.

Preparing your vehicle for flooding:

  • Driving through flood waters is extremely dangerous; more people are trapped and die in their vehicles than anywhere else during a flood.
  • It’s important to be prepared and aware of potential hazards when you’re away from home.
  • For more tips on vehicles and flood waters, see NOAA’s Flooding Safety Card (, which can be printed and stored in the glove box. “Turn around don’t drown!

Maintain Awareness:

  • Be aware of the possibility of flooding to make sure you and your family have adequate time to prepare for an evacuation. Maintain awareness of incoming storms, weather watches, warnings, and evacuations issued by the National Weather Service (
  • Television and radio stations are a source of weather forecasts and emergency messages before and during a severe weather event.
  • Consider purchasing a radio capable of picking up National Weather Service broadcast frequencies.

Family Resource Network

North Valley Hills Update

   Dena Hernandez, Regional Manager (209) 473-6930


Our CHOICES Conference Planning Committee is meeting to get ready for the  

2024 Conference!


Our theme is:

Be the Light! Shine through YOUR CHOICES


It will be held on Friday, April 12, 2024 at the

San Joaquin County Office of Education


We are looking for any self-advocates (18 years and older) from our 5 counties (Amador, Calaveras, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tuolumne) who would be interested in speaking at the conference.


We want to hear YOUR story on how You are the Light in YOUR life and how you shine through YOUR CHOICES.

You would need to speak to a large crowd of people for about

20 minutes.


INTERESTED or Have Questions? Please call or email Dena Hernandez at SCDD North Valley Hills at 209-473-6944

DEADLINE to let Dena know is Tuesday, November 14, 2023

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