Today is a new day and a new era at Tri-Valley Developmental Services. We are rebranding ourselves. We are not the same agency we were twenty or thirty years ago. During the 1970’s, options for persons with developmental disabilities were very limited. There was no special education system, most persons with developmental disabilities remained at home with their families or were sent to the state hospitals. In the 1980’s and 90’s we witnessed the advent of supported employment and independent living services. In the first decade of the new millennium we saw more growth in our residential program, a horticultural therapy program, computer labs and art therapy. The Foundation built several group homes. All these changes at Tri-Valley created a new audience, new clients, programs, families and guardians, customers and employees. There was a need to find Tri-Valley’s identity.
A lot of research went into determining what Tri-Valley is and what we do. We asked ourselves soul searching questions like why does Tri-Valley exist?Why do we do what we do? Is what we do reflective of what we are telling our audience that we do? We conducted surveys and examined the data. We completed program assessments and looked at our quality assurance statistics. We held meetings and workshops. We looked at our values, mission statement and vision for the future, etc. We even looked at what our key messages were, and did they reflect our unique strengths? For example, we offer the widest array of services in our coverage area, which allow our clients to have more choices in crafting the life they want. Was that message getting across to the public though?
The answer to that question was an emphatic no. We were not doing a good job connecting to our audiences whether it was perspective clients, their families, special education teachers, business and employers, or people who refer individuals to Tri-Valley. We have a lot to be proud of, but we are not good about communicating that fact.
Through the rebranding process, we found that belonging does matter to the people we serve. People with disabilities thrive when they are active members of a welcoming community.Whether people with disabilities continue to live at home or move out into the wider community, they can face isolation and loneliness. In fact, once they leave the school system, they’re at high risk for being on the sidelines, devoid of meaningful relationships outside their families. That’s why Tri-Valley exists. We empower people with disabilities to realize their potential as full citizens in the community, through supporting them in working and living in the place they call home. We help them live as independently as possible. And we help them belong. But it goes beyond the lives of the people we serve. We believe our whole community grows stronger when we embrace people with disabilities as citizens who make valuable contributions