Via Services is a private, independent non-profit that has been dedicated to helping individuals with disabilities and special needs achieve greater self-sufficiency and lead richer lives since 1945.
The Via Vanguard
Issue 3 - May 2018
In This Issue:


Letter from the CEO

Summer is just around the corner, and we have so many great events to share with you!

Via West summer programs kick off on May 31st, and we're so excited to announce that our adult programs now include everyone ages 16 and up. Altitude has increased our offerings to 5 programs so that there is something for everyone. We also have our annual Charity Golf Tournament taking place on June 8. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay connected on all of our events.

We welcome ideas and contributions! Please let us know what YOU would like for us to report on. Via is and always will be a collaboration with our families and supporters. We look forward to working with you more!

Leslie Davis, CEO


$35k from Goals for Kids
Thank you so much to the San Jose Sharks Foundation, a long time partner and supporter of Via, for including us in the Goals for Kids Program!

The Sharks Foundation, in partnership with Taube Philanthropies, Koret Foundation, Swenson, Marcus & Millichap, and the Sobrato Foundation extended the Goals for Kids Program through the playoffs! This means that Via's total was raised to almost $35k!

Poker Tournament
On May 3, 60 guests joined us to compete in the 2nd Annual Via Poker Tournament and helped us to surpass our fundraising goals for the evening.

The competition came down to a close battle between Jed Dershimer of Suhr Risk and Andrew Bothman of Robert A. Bothman Construction, but Mr. Dershimer was able to take home the grand prize trip to Cancun.

Via West Golf Grant
Via West participants just completed a golf clinic thanks to a grant from the National Alliance for Accessible Golf. We adapted curriculum for our participants with challenges like visual impairment, behavioral, sensory, and attention and covered basic skills, golf etiquette, proper and safe use of equipment, and more.

We received adapted equipment to use on campus and instruction from LPGA golf instructors and others at the San Jose Municipal Golf Course and Deep Cliff Golf Course.

Due to popular demand, we will be resuming our other golf clinics in the fall for our 2018-2019 respite season.

2018 Charity Golf Tournament

Join us on Friday, June 8, 2018 for a 4-man team scramble, shotgun start golf tournament. All of the proceeds will directly benefit Via Services.

The day's events will include a hot breakfast, margarita and "Jack is Back" whiskey holes, contests, exclusive prizes for the top 3 winning foursomes, silent auction, and a hosted bar and buffet following the tournament.


Featured Employee: Irshad Fardan

Irshad is the Director for the Via West and Altitude programs at Via Services. He provides leadership, supervision, and management for both programs. He joined Via in 2013 as a counselor before becoming the program administrator in 2015. He also worked as the Assistant Director of Via West for 2 years before transitioning into the role of director in 2017.

Prior to his years at Via, Irshad worked with at-risk youth at Corbett Group Homes, Inc. and has spent time mentoring middle school children with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula. Remembering back to his start in 2013, Irshad says "Via changed my life and I want to give back as much as I can to this wonderful organization that helped make me who I am today."

Leslie Davis, CEO, admires Irshad's hard work and perseverance and says that "he always dedicates 110% of himself to Via and our families."

Outside of Via, Irshad loves sports, hiking, traveling, and exploring wine country.


Summer is coming up and I want to teach my 8 year old son who is on the spectrum some safe swimming practices. Do you have any advice?  - Tim A.
Answered by Chase Davis, Sports Manager Via West

Not only can teaching a child with special needs to swim allow them to have more fun in the pool, but it can also lead to improved behavioral outcomes and greater muscle strength! We recommend the following tactics:

Constant praise. Swimming can be frightening to anyone in the beginning, so remember to have patience and continue to give praise and encouragement for any and all small accomplishments throughout the learning process.

Limit distractions. Try finding an area of the pool with as few people as possible so that noises will be reduced. This allows your child to give and receive undivided attention.

Use adaptive tools. Try some specific learning tools like demonstrating the strokes, using hand-over-hand, or visual cues such as flash cards.

If you would like to add in professional lessons, Via West offers a swim clinic during the summer to teach children and adults with special needs swimming skills and water safety. You can learn more by clicking here.

I am a junior in high school and I volunteered last year at the Fall Festival. Do you have more volunteer opportunities during the summer where I can earn my community services hours? - Nancy H.
Answered by Jose Mosqueda, Staffing Manager Via West and Altitude

Via West and Altitude are always looking for volunteers to work with our special needs participants at Via West Campus during the summer season. It is a great and rewarding way to earn your community services hours!

To start the process, please complete an online application. I will then reach out to discuss the opportunity with you and sign you up for one of our 1-day training sessions. If you are 18 or older, you will be required to undergo a fingerprinting and background check.

Once you are scheduled for the summer, you could earn up to 14 hours a day during an overnight camp session. If you have any further questions, please feel free to email me at

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