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 13 - February 2021
In This Issue:


Dear Families, Friends, and Supporters of Via Services:

As we begin to emerge from this terrible pandemic, I think we have good reason to believe that 2021 will be a much happier, healthier year than the last. Vaccines are being administered, shelter-in-pace orders are being lifted, and there appears to be a light flickering at the end of this long, dark tunnel. 
In our last newsletter, like many service providers, we were trying to offer our best guesses as to when we may be able to return to in-person programs, particularly at Via West. Clearly, we will not be able to resume programs in February, as we had hoped. But based on the current rate of vaccinations and the latest projections of Covid-19 infections, we are now planning to return to in-person programs in September of this year, with the possibility of some late summer camp sessions.
I know this feels like a long way off, especially since we have been closed for nearly a year now. But as we have said consistently, we must be able to ensure the health and safety of camp participants, our First Step clients, and our staff before returning to in-person programs. How do we plan to do that? We will require that all participants, including clients, staff, and contractors, must be vaccinated in order to take part in Via programs and services. We will continue to monitor the progress of vaccinations and infection rates and, if possible, accelerate our planned reopening.
In the meantime, we continue our work to offer new programs, including in-home respite. Unfortunately, the program design and vendorization process for new programs take quite a bit of time. We do, however, expect to be making announcements regarding this and other potential programs later this spring. Shortly after that, we will share Via's new strategic plan for how we will enhance our services for the special needs community and their families, as well as a new vision, mission, and core values for the organization.
Despite the devastating effects of Covid-19, we are building momentum for a stronger, more impactful Via Services in the near future. I want to thank you for your patience and continued support. As always, please reach out to me directly with any comments, questions, or suggestions at


Matt Bell

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay connected with us all year round!

Join us online for our first ever VIRTUAL fundraiser. Enjoy a delicious meal, wine, live and silent auctions, one-of-a-kind prizes, and more - all from the comfort of home! Tickets are now on sale! 100% of the proceeds benefit the programs of Via Services - Altitude, First Step, and Via West. Click here for ticket sales and sponsorship information.

Poker Tournament, Golf Tournament, Fall Festival
Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions on gatherings and events, we have made the decision to cancel the Via Services Poker Tournament. The 2021 Charity Golf Classic will be held in late August/early September, and the Fall Festival will return on October 9, 2021. We will be sending out more details about these events over the next few months.


Via West Campus Reopening Plan
With the success of the vaccine roll-out, we anticipate that we will be able to resume Via West Camp programs in September, and we are hopeful that this could possibly be pushed up to late summer. 

Our ability to reopen is going to be driven by both county health and regional center guidelines. In order to ensure the safety of all involved, we will also be requiring all clients, staff, and contractors to be vaccinated in order to participate in our in-person programs.

Social Saturdays and Sundays
Late this spring, we will be launching Social Saturdays and Sundays, a shorter program based on our Via West community integration outings. The activities will vary depending on the group's ages, interests, and cognitive abilities, but some of the places we may visit are Happy Hollow Park and Zoo, Westfield Valley Fair Mall, San Jose History Park, and the San Jose Museum of Art.

We will be following Covid safety guidelines including limited group sizes, face masks, hand sanitizer, and social distancing.

We are working with the regional center to determine an appropriate launch date this spring, county guidelines permitting. This program will fall under our current out-of-home respite vendorization, and you will receive an email link once registration is available.

First Step
Our speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists align with the category of healthcare professionals. Therefore, several of our team members have received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine through Santa Clara County.  

We are continuing to follow the safety guidelines set forth by the county health department and regional center for planning the future 
re-opening of in-person therapy and assessment services, and we are taking the necessary steps to ensure the safety of the children and the families we serve, as well as our Via team members and our Santa Clara community.

As we navigate the beginning of 2021 and the hopeful changes that it will bring,we continue to provide quality speech-language therapy, occupational therapy, and Early Start intake assessment services through telehealth by video conference format. 

 boardVia Services Board of Directors

Via Services is directly supported by our Board of Directors. They are committed to our mission of helping individuals with disabilities and special needs achieve greater self-sufficiency and lead richer lives.

We are so excited to welcome the addition of 4 new members:

Megan Cueller, Assistant Professor
San Jose State University

Tracy Gries, IT PMO Manager
NetApp, Inc.

Venkat Nagaswamy, Global VP, Demand Generation
8x8, Inc. 

Julie Paulsen, VP, Corporate Social Responsibility
Align Technology
donor Featured Donors: Cupertino De Anza Lions Charities, Inc.

Members of the Cupertino De Anza Lions Charities, Inc. at Via West Campus. Photo credit:

The Cupertino De Anza Lions Charities, Inc. are longtime supporters of Via Services. They contribute monetary donations to our programs annually, and they have worked on many various projects at our Via West Campus over the last 40+ years.

Currently, Joan Chin is leading a group that is revamping the greenhouse and garden at Via West. They have planted and made structural improvements, and they will continue to maintain both areas. Once camps reopen, they hope to work with program staff to create lessons on healthy foods, sustainable gardening, and more to benefit our participants.

A second group, led by Steve Ratner, is building a working model train to be housed in the Sobrato Building for the Performing Arts. Future camp sessions will be built around transportation with a feature on the new train for our participants to enjoy.

Both groups have already donated over 500 man hours just on these two projects. We are lucky to have such wonderful community partners.

Please click here to learn about how your organization can volunteer and support the programs of Via Services, or if you would like to make a monetary donation, then please click here.

Featured Employee: Jessica Sanchez
Jessica is the Intake Assessment Administrative Coordinator for our First Step team. She is responsible for managing incoming files from SCCOE, setting appointments, billing, and managing the many calendars for Via's assessment team. She joined Via in 2016.

Prior to Via, Jessica worked in various capacities, but once she experienced working in a clinic, she knew she wanted to help serve people in need. She loves what Via is able to do for children and families in need, and of her team, she says "I love that we treat each other like family."

Jennifer Baird, First Step Director, praises Jessica for her attention to detail, communication skills, friendly approach, and always bringing a positive and collaborative work ethic to Via. "Jessica works hard behind the scenes with scheduling and keeping our referrals organized, and she always does it with a smile," says Jennifer.  

Outside of Via, Jessica enjoys hiking, going to the movies, and hockey games.


We have been coming to camp for years, but obviously, my son has not attended since the pandemic started. Once camp starts again, will we have to fill out all of the same forms that you have on file since it has been over a year?  - Sloan F.
Answered by Leslie Davis, M.A., Vice President (and former Via West Director), Via Services

We are so excited to announce that we will be upgrading our online registration to incorporate a new software that will make our online services so much easier! It will perform functions with regards to your account for registration, payments, document collection, and more.

Since we are implementing a new system, everyone will have to create a new registration and client profile, regardless of your current client status with Via. The good news is that you will only have to complete these new forms once! Moving forward, each year, you will either verify that the information in your profile is still accurate, or you will have the opportunity to make any new changes.

We do have plans to launch brand new programs this year, in addition to reopening Via West. You will not have to complete any new forms for these once you have created your new registration and profile in the system. 

Once this new system is up and running, we will email you the information that you need in order to set up your new profile.

Do you have any volunteer opportunities right now since your campus is closed? - Kayden T.
Answered by Molly Crum, Marketing Communications Manager, Via Services

We have many covid safe volunteer opportunities for our upcoming virtual Via Ball on May 20, 2021. Our most pressing need is for volunteers to deliver meal packages on the night of the event (masks, social distancing, and other safety protocols will be in place). Please contact our Advancement Team for more information or to sign up to volunteer!

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