An Ensemble of Love

I love our College of Adaptive Arts community with all of my heart and soul.  I love our Mountain Mover board members who pour their heart, soul, time, treasure and talents into growing this collegiate model strategically and mindfully. I love our CAA students who show us each day what it means to live in the moment and celebrate each small victory.  I love the co-founder, Dean of Instruction, and my authentic soul sister who challenges me daily to think differently and redefine possibility. I love our CAA parents who bring the students, ask hard questions, support this model in a myriad of small and grand ways, and never, ever give up on the abilities and potential of their adult children.

I love how each day the students return and bring their friends to learn from the most dedicated staff of teachers and leaders, many of whom have life paths for many reasons where they have also felt marginalized. Here at CAA they are our Leaders, and Professors, and Site Managers, and front-line Believers in the CAA college students and their boundless potential.

Each day you can hear booming laughter emanating from the classrooms. Each day you hear positive affirmations of support and encouragement and celebration of yet another skill achieved when it wasn’t the day before. Each day you sense the bar expectation raise ever so slightly in every class and every conversation. Each day you sense this mountain which as obstructed adults with special needs access to lifelong education is shifting just a little bit more.

I love how I have an expansive network of awesome folks who come together for the sake of their loved ones.  We are a community of individuals from all ethnicities, backgrounds, political positions, religious differences, and economic levels.  I truly believe one of the hardest jobs in the entire world is to be a careprovider for a loved one. It is tireless, anguishing, exhausting work.  This dedication to a loved one transcends all other societal-imposed definitions, and it’s so beautiful to watch the bonds emerge and strengthen when we all realize we are here to support each other, to support our loved ones, and to never give up on their abilities and potential.

We do not always see eye to eye; we do not always agree, but we figure out a way to work together and forge new and creative opportunities for the students to be able to showcase their authentic abilities. It feels so awesome and so right and so ripe for possibility. I encourage you to come in and experience this sense of joy each and every Friday during our weekly tour when school is in session. The students win over another heart/mind/soul each and every time they connect with the community at large. College of Adaptive Arts is truly an Ensemble of Love.

DeAnna Pursai, Co-Founder & Executive Director
College of Adaptive Arts

Giving the Gift of Hope

Last Friday morning the College of Adaptive Arts Mountain Movers Board hosted a Thank You Breakfast for Parents, Careproviders, Volunteers, and Staff.  Here’s a story of overcoming adversity and Giving the Gift of Hope shared by our incredible College of Adaptive Arts School of Science and Technology Director:

Because of my disability I had very little work experience and was never able to finish even a AA degree. The job I had for 12 years at CVS was actually my first job.  Working for you is my second.

Normally, working with special needs young adults would require a specialized teaching degree. Same for working in the IT field. The IT field requires some kind of tech degree. Both require experience before your resume is even considered.  I had little to no “official” experience. I really spent years in recovery from a mental illness that happened when I was in my teenage years.

What I did have was years of personal experience learning technology as I went along. I also had years of experience learning tech and art topics at Foothill College. I never got to earn my AA, but I did earn multiple certificates, and I actually earned an A in almost every course I took and almost every assignment I turned in.

I’ve worked very hard in life to go somewhere. Yet I struggled to gain any type of employment.

When you hired me and I found myself in an environment of kindness, acceptance, and dignity, and yes respect, and you freed me from an oppressive job, it has been one of the greatest breaks in my life.

I wanted to point out today how the college not only rescues our students, helps student’s parents, but it also gives the faculty a break in their careers/life as well. I’m saving lives, my life is being saved, we’re all doing such great work!

When you say transformative, I feel so proud of what I have accomplished while working for you and the college. From the professional Wi-Fi and phone system, to the three AV carts, to laptop purchases and working on the website and print stuff with Linda and video editing and day to day IT needs, installing a new PA system, and installing our new computer lab. Not to mention teaching and helping to teach classes! I was also very proud to become the Director of the School of Science and Technology.

I wanted to just touch on some of this.  Now I want to work on my public speaking skills. You might see me get up at the next Staff Showcase. ; )

Thank you from my heart,


Help CAA Grow by CAA Board Member Joseph Siecinski

I’ve had the honor and privilege of working with the College of Adaptive Arts for many years. As a business consultant, coach and mentor, I know this organization is laying the foundation strategically and tactically to scale and replicate nationwide, no worldwide.  I have seen this organization grow from a small venture at Randol school to a thriving college serving an ever-expanding student body with currently over 100 of adult learners, and 9 schools.  We have grown 1000% since our inception.  As a board member I witness and ensure CAA is very mindful of each penny to make sure that it is used wisely.  We are innovative and responsive to our students needs and wants. Our Vision is to get to the operation budget of 2 million in the next 3 years to and take this model nationwide.  I have seen lots of nonprofits and for-profits in my years of business consulting, and I can vouch that this is the real deal.  We need your help in finding a college campus to co-locate to prove our model.  We look for your help.  If you know someone that can help, let us know.  If you don’t, your donations are greatly appreciated.