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 6 - February 2019
In This Issue:


Letter from the CEO

Happy 2019! I hope you had a great holiday season, and I am so excited to let you know what we have in store for you this year.

First, I would like to thank everyone that helped us to end 2018 with a bang! We exceeded our Giving Tuesday goal and raised over $67,000 to enhance security features at Via West Campus.

Next, we have our biggest fundraiser of the year right around the corner - the 24th Annual Via Ball is 1 week from tomorrow on February 9th. I look forward to meeting as many of you, our wonderful families and supporters, as possible at the Via Ball.

Lastly, I would like to extend an invitation for you to come meet me and the rest of the executive team at Via to learn more about what we have planned this year. This will be a light lunch at 1pm on March 22nd at the Via main office - 2851 Park Ave, Santa Clara. Please email Fabiola at to RSVP by March 1st.

Via will always place the highest value on you and your ideas. Please let us know if there is anything that you would like to contribute or report to us. We look forward to maintaining a partnership with you!

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

Amy Churchill, Interim CEO


New Catalog and Client Portal
The 2019 Summer Registration Catalog for Via West and Altitude is now available, and it coincides with the launch of our new client portal.

We are offering our traditional day and overnight camps, Altitude programs, and adaptive swim clinics. Adventures in Leadership programs are now a part of the new Adventures in Life programs: Adventures in Life Readiness and Adventures in Life Planning.

For the first time ever, we will be offering travel camps during the summer. Our travel camps provide a unique experience where participants are able to gain tremendous independence and self-confidence in new environments.

The online client portal has officially launched. Families can now log on, pay remaining balances, and submit required paperwork.

Welcome Jennifer Jung
We are thrilled to welcome Jennifer Jung to our team as the Via West/Altitude Associate Director. She will be specializing in recruitment and behavior management and has a masters degree in Child Development.

Jennifer joins the Via family, which is made up of a team of dedicated, hard-working individuals. They are the backbone of our organization, and their commitment to the special needs community is second to none.

As our programs expand, our team grows, and we are always looking for individuals to join us. Please check out our available job opportunities to see if you or someone you know would be a good fit, particularly with our First Step team. 

24th Annual Via Ball

Join us on Saturday, February 9, 2019 for Via's biggest night of the year! Our black and white masquerade will be held at Villa Ragusa from 5:30pm-11:00pm. We have extended the night by a full thirty minutes to include even more time for dancing to Velvet Plum, who is back again this year!

The Wild Card Raffle is back again this year where the winner will select one of our live auction items as their prize, thereby taking it off the table! Here is just one of the items that you could win instantly:

Winter is Coming
As Game of Thrones enters its final season on HBO, you can win the opportunity to see where much of the show is filmed. This 7-day tour of Ireland will take you into the very heart of Westeros. Stand on the spot where the Lannisters schemed, follow in the footsteps of the Starks, and gaze on the grasslands crossed by the Dothraki horde. This once in a lifetime trip includes a 1-night stay at Cassidys Hotel in Dublin, 2-night stay at Ballygally Castle Hotel on the Antrim Coast, 2-night stay at Europa Hotel in Belfast, and a 1-night stay with a 3-course dinner for 2 at Clontcarf Castel Hotel in Dublin. You will also receive daily breakfast for 2, a visit to Giant's Causeway, Dunluce Castle admission, VIP tickets to the Guinness Storehouse, 6-day manual/stick shift car rental, and a $1,000 American Airlines certificate towards airfare.

The evening will also feature dinner by Villa Ragusa, exciting live and silent auctions featuring one-of-a-kind items, and more! We look forward to seeing you there!


Featured Employee: Molly Crum
Molly is the Marketing and Communications Manager for Via Services. She is responsible for all print and electronic communications, social media, website management, and event support.

Molly joined Via in 2007 as an administrative member of Via West Campus, still known then as Camp Costanoan. In 2014, she moved to the Advancement team and grew into her current role. "Via is just amazing," says Molly. "It feels like I am a part of a family, and I truly value everyone here and the families that we serve."

Leslie Davis, the VP of Advancement and Sales, says that "from the first day that I started at Via, Molly has proven herself to be one of the most valuable people that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and working with."

Molly works remotely for Via from Colorado, and she loves spending time with her husband, her 3-year old son, and her dog.


Our iPad is so helpful for our son who is on the autism spectrum, but we have a hard time pulling him off of it sometimes. Do you have any tips for metering screen time?- Jane T.
Answered by Sandy Keefe, MSN, RN, Manager of Research and Grants, Via Services

After 27 years of special needs parenting, I often catch myself saying words I never thought would come out of my mouth. Years of physical therapy made my daughter Allie a great walker, but from time to time I ask, "Can't you just sit still for a minute while I finish?" And hundreds of hours of speech services have helped her express herself to the world, yet I find myself imploring, "Hush just for give minutes, please!" Ironically, the same situation occurs with screen time: we worked so hard to learn finger isolation, cause and effect, and technology, but now, screen time is an ongoing struggle both for my daughter with Down syndrome and my 12-year-old grandson with learning disabilities.

Through trial and error, we've developed some strategies that keep discord to a minimum:

  • Screen time is earned when they complete their assigned work. For 27-year-old Allie, that's making dinner and doing housework from a written checklist each day after her adult community-based program. Logan earns his screen time in a 1:1 match with reading: 30 minutes of reading gives him a half hour of screen time.
  • Since their iPads and iPhones have built-in timers, we use that feature to announce when time is up. The alarm going off is the "bad guy" instead of me. When Allie was younger and more visual, we used a large clock-timer for the same result.
  • When one of them is sick at home, they have more screen time BUT short intervals on the machines are interspersed with activities such as reading, art projects, or watching previously-recorded educational programs on television.
  • They also earn longer screen time on long trips (for my sanity as much as for their sake) and on weekends and holidays. However, the 1:1 rule for reading is still in play for Logan, which sneaks in extra learning.

I have 2 children with special needs. My oldest had so many issues that I never anticipated triggered by puberty. Now that my second is near his teen years, I'm wondering if you have any advice on how to deal with some of the things that come with being a teenager. - Patrick M.
Answered by Jennifer Jung, MS, Associate Director of Via West/Altitude

When teens are going through hormonal changes in their life, their equilibrium is thrown off and sometimes things that might have worked in the past might not work at the moment. Staying calm during these times for your teen helps them imitate regulating their actions and emotions if they observe others being calm. Being proactive is important in order to avoid a behavior from occurring and using the antecedent strategies consistently can decrease behaviors in the future. Here are a few tips for dealing with hormonal behaviors for teens with special needs:

  • Environmental arrangement: remove distractions from area, block escape routes, etc.
  • Schedule/routine: provide structure for the day, activity, week, etc.
  • Structured time: give a specific time for them to engage in "personal time" if needed
  • Offer choices: give them choices to feel in control of the situation
  • Change the way instruction is provided: use neutral wording instead of demands
  • Provide sensory stimuli to serve same function as the interfering behavior: allows them to engage in an appropriate behavior that serves the same function but not engaging in the unwanted behavior
  • Priming: giving a heads up for changes or upcoming events
  • Premack's principle: first, then statements so they have an idea of what is happening soon
  • Transitional cues: using timers or vocal warnings that a change to another activity will occur soon

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