We are so grateful to everyone in the community who is rallying behind the growing concept that adults with differing abilities want to and can continue to learn past the age of 22, even when it is apparent that they will not be able to access an accredited Associate’s degree on a community college campus.
One such community partner which has been such a tremendous asset and boon to College of adaptive Arts has been Spanish55 out of the binational region of San Diego and Tijuana. The young entrepreneur co-founders, Alvaro Sanchez Diaz & Abraham Arechiga, reached out to DeAnna about 3 years ago to share their innovative, engaging, and affordable model for learning Spanish through lessons over Skype. The service they offer was created with the mission of becoming the best option for busy professionals like DeAnna; in her case, she decided to work with her online Spanish tutor twice a week around her schedule.
The lessons were cumulative and articulated, but also provided lots of flexibility to focus on areas of learning most meaningful for her in her profession. Through these lessons, DeAnna’s confidence with the Spanish language has simply soared. She was given a safe and supportive environment to practice, make many mistakes 😊, take risks, and to ask real-time questions with a native Spanish speaker. DeAnna was able to explore the Spanish language through methods which worked best for her, including poetry, role-playing, & canciones (songs) 😊.
College of Adaptive Arts has become a richer and more robust organization thanks to the generous support of the Spanish55 leadership. The co-founders made the trek to San Jose a few years back to show their solidarity and support at CAA’s Leadership Awards luncheon. DeAnna and board member Toni Cook had an opportunity to travel to Mexico with a Rotary group to practice her Spanish, and the Spanish55 team arranged a speaking engagement (in Spanish!) at a local secondary school about College of Adaptive Arts. Through their gracious support, CAA has made friends with a wonderful charity out of Tijuana supporting children with special needs, Amorh, in which they collaboratively worked together on a creative art project involving pink boots and awesome hand-made logos.
CAA is now offering Spanish as one of its 35 class offerings each week in its School of Communications. The Spanish class has had the opportunity to have Spanish55 tutors call into class to allow our College students to learn and ask questions. From these rich experiences, Spanish thrives at College of Adaptive Arts. Many CAA families speak Spanish, and relationships have been strengthened and fortified being able to converse with someone in their native language. DeAnna feels confident enough now with her Spanish to answer telephone calls in Spanish, to give tours of the College in Spanish (certainly not fluent yet), and to find and recruit new families of adults with special needs who may have felt isolated by only being able to converse in Spanish. Just this week DeAnna found a new community business leader who wants to do a card-making workshop due to her striking up a conversation with him in Spanish.
College of Adaptive Arts is forever grateful to the outstanding services of this wonderful collaborator. CAA’s long-term vision is to make this lifelong educational model as robust in the education world as Special Olympics is in the athletics world. We foresee Spanish55 becoming just as robust and widespread, because this avenue for learning Spanish is accessible, affordable, innovative, super-fun, and rich and lasting friendships await when we all focus on helping, supporting, encouraging, and learning from one another.