New Family Thoughts with CAA & West Valley College

Figuring out how to construct a meaningful and engaging life for our daughter, aged 21 when the pandemic began and now 23, was an evolutionary process.  Taking classes at CAA has been one of the best, most engaging, esteem building, fun, challenging (in a good way) pandemic “silver linings” we possibly could have stumbled upon for her.   She LOVES her classes. Emma loves to learn and she feels great pride in attending college in a way that suits her.  (Ie: no traditional homework with the attendant stressors).   Not only are the CAA staff inspiring and positive people, CAA has found a wonderful home at West Valley College.  The campus is beautiful and employees of the college we have encountered have been nothing but kind, generous and supportive.  It is a magical place.

Our daughter Emma has a genetic disorder called Prader-Willi Syndrome.  Like many disabilities, the characteristics of the syndrome run on a spectrum.   CAA plays to Emma’s strengths in that the content of the classes is first rate.  Instructors don’t talk down to or infantilize the students in any way.  Students are treated respectfully and with the assumption that they are able to grow and learn.  They are taught to treat everyone in kind.  They are students with “differing” abilities with the focus on abilities.   The values of mutual respect, humility, teamwork, etc. are laced throughout the program and are great values to practice out in the world.   The positive ripple effect of the College of Adaptive Arts may be hard to quantify, but we know it is significant.  We are grateful that our daughter is a proud CAA Cardinal.

Not only has CAA itself been a very positive addition to Emma’s life, we have found the West Valley College staff we have encountered to be incredibly kind and helpful.  Our first day there the campus was quite deserted and we were not sure how to find the CAA building.  We saw a lone employee getting into a West Valley College vehicle and we hurried over to ask him for directions.  He kindly told us to follow him and he led us right to it.  This past Friday, I lost my keys on campus.

After Emma’s class we had taken a hike around the beautiful campus, so we had quite a distance to traverse to retrace our steps!  It was late Friday afternoon and I assumed I was going to get value out of my AAA Plus card shortly!  We found ourselves in front of a facilities building.  Though open, no one was at the reception desk and it seemed we were back to square one.  I then saw a phone number near the front door on a smallish sign.  Though the number went right to voicemail on my first attempt, on my second attempt when I planned to leave a message, someone picked up and he was like the angel earning his wings from the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life!”  He virtually flew out of the building to meet us in the parking lot, walked us to the police station o campus, chatting amiably all the while, and lo and behold our keys had been turned in there.  We all virtually danced a jig, including the staff at the police station and our tale had a happy ending.  West Valley College Staff have shown us a warmth and civility that is sorely lacking these days!  We are grateful.

Go Cardinals!!