Garden Project Grows a Community

Hope Services and community partners build elementary school garden in Salinas

San Jose, CA  / April 15, 2016

Salinas Garden

Hope Services in Salinas is demonstrating how to bring a community together and provide lasting benefits in celebration of Earth Day. In a combined effort local businesses, nonprofits, and students will build a community garden located on the grounds of University Park Elementary school in Salinas, CA.

All building and garden supplies have been donated by the Capitola Orchard Supply Hardware store. With support from California State University Monterey Bay interns, local high school students, the Boy Scouts, Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce, and other community partners, the ongoing project will start on April 23, 2016 and launch with a day of building the 500 square foot garden structure and prepping it for planting by Hope Services’ participants.

Hope Services’ Day Program Manager Greg Dinsmore has been involved in community garden projects for more than six years and is transitioning to elementary schools within the local area. “The school garden will ultimately be used towards inclusion and integration of adults and children with disabilities, as well as an outdoor classroom where Hope staff, CSUMB student interns, and school teachers will educate students about healthy eating, where their food comes from , sustainable practices, and many other health and environmental benefits,” he said.

Throughout the year 12 Hope Services’ participants will maintain the garden with a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables. College interns and Hope Services’ participants and staff will facilitate activities that will educate students, with or without disabilities, on the importance of nutrition and healthy food choices.

What: Construction of University Park Elementary School garden project
Where: University Park Elementary School 833 W. Acacia St. Salinas, CA
When: April 23, 2016 at 9:00 A.M.

Name Dropping: Hope Services benefits to tune of $30,000 thanks to holiday parking program

By Justine DaCosta, Santa Cruz Sentinel / February 20, 2016

Holiday Parking Program

Santa Cruz Mayor Cynthia Mathews, third from left, awards a check for more than $30,000 on behalf of the city of Santa Cruz and the Downtown Association’s Parking for Hope Program to Hope Services staff and workers last month.

Hope Services was recently awarded more than $30,000 from Santa Cruz Mayor Cynthia on behalf of the city of Santa Cruz and the Downtown Association’s Parking for Hope Program.

The money came from the second annual Parking for Hope downtown holiday parking program, held Dec. 18–25. Proceeds from street meters were donated to the local nonprofit, which provides training and support services for adults with developmental disabilities and has helped keep the streets of downtown Santa Cruz clean for two decades.

The 2015 holiday parking program proved to be even more successful than 2014 holiday program, thanks in part to the city’s partnership with Parkmobile, the pay-by-phone service that waived the 35-cents-per-transaction fee for the eight-day program.

Meter revenue totaled $24,776 and revenue paid through the Parkmobile pay-by-phone service brought in almost $5,300.

“This unexpected large increase in funds is so meaningful to Hope Services,” Santa Cruz Hope Services Manager Sheryl Hagemann said in a statement. “It provides the opportunity for our workers to work longer hours and clean even more of our downtown.”

Thank You, Torani!

January 21, 2016

Torani Party!

Torani thanked Hope participants for their hard work by providing Hope’s Santa Clara office with a pizza and Torani soda party on January 21. Thank you Torani!

Kaiser San Jose Receives Award for Project Search

January 6, 2016

Kaiser SJ - Employer of the Year Award

Congratulations to Kaiser San Jose, recipient of the Employer of the Year Award at the San Jose District Annual Awards and Training Meeting on January 5th at the Santa Clara County office of Education. Kaiser received the award for their participation in Project Search, a collaboration with Hope Services, the Fremont Union High School District, and the San Andreas Regional Center. Hope’s Project Search clients interned at Kaiser, learning valuable interpersonal and job skills. Kaiser was nominated for the award by Fiona Donohoe, the Department of Rehabilitation Counselor for Hope’s interns at Kaiser. Pictured above at the awards presentation are Trudy Gross (Director of Special Education for FUHSD); Vicki Yoshihara (Hope Services Project Search Kaiser Manager); Irene Chavez, Michelle Morgan and Teri Brown from Kaiser; Fiona Donohoe (DOR); and Chris Wright (Hope Services Business and Project Search Liaison).

Five Stars Recognized For Hiring Persons with Developmental Disabilities

Press Release / November 23, 2015

Five Stars Award

Victor Hoof Five Stars, Cathy Bouchard of Hope Services, and Eugene Kim of Five Stars.
Christopher Cooke Photography

Excellence in Employment Award from California Disability Services Association

The Five Stars company of San Francisco has received an Excellence in Employment Award from the California Disability Services Association for recognizing the value of hiring persons with developmental disabilities.

Five Stars operates customer loyalty programs for businesses, using tablets and scanners that record customer purchases and award loyalty points. Five Stars utilizes a Hope Services facility in Santa Clara that employs an average of 60 people with developmental disabilities to test each tablet to assure that software is loaded and functional. The workers also assemble full kits for companies that include customer cards, scanners, the tablet and customer display.

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Hope is proud to celebrate the 2014 & 2015 Larry Schott Humanitarian Award Winners!

November 2015

2015 Larry Schott Award winer Paolo Naval

Melissa Morton receives her award from Hope CEO, Ray Smith.

The Schott Award recognizes individuals who exemplify the characteristics of Larry Schott—his humanitarian heart and his dedication to volunteer service in the community.

Congratulations to Paolo Naval, the 2015 award winner, for his service in the community and advocacy for people with developmental disabilities.

Melissa Morton is the 2014 recipient—she is a woman of vision, who looks for ways to contribute to her community, better herself, and inspire those around her.  Read more about Melissa in the Summer Hope in Action newsletter.

Images: Paolo & Melissa receive their awards from Hope’s CEO, Ray Smith.

Hope Participants Take Pride in Making a Difference at Tesla

November 17, 2015

Hope Participants love their jobs at Tesla!

Tesla is lucky to have the help of a dedicated and enthusiastic group of Hope employees. Hope clients maintain the massive parking lots at Tesla, the outside sales area, picnic areas, and the front admin entry way.  They pick up trash, sweep, and in general help to keep the Tesla environment looking immaculate.

Pictured from left to right: Pedro P. (Hope client), Greggy L. (Hope client), Corleen R. (Hope coordinator), Bryan L. (Hope client), Joey F. (Hope client), Tom Garcia (Hope job coach), and Dean Valentine (Tesla Manager)

The stars shined bright at Sunset Boulevard: A Night in Old Hollywood

October 17, 2015

Gala Logo

Hope Services shined brightly at the black tie gala at the Silicon Valley Capital Club on October 17th.  Hope was the non-profit recipient of the Gala, and was able to raise much needed funds that will help support the transition of 459 clients from sheltered workshops to community-based programs.  Through the generosity of many corporate sponsors and individual donors, Hope was able to net over $100,000 towards the $1,000,000+ required in facility renovation and staffing for this transition.

J. Lohr Vineyards—A Longtime Hope Partner

October 9, 2015

Hope clients working at J. Lohr

Congratulations J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines on being featured as one of Sunset Magazine’s wine country competition winners this year! J. Lohr has provided jobs for 9 permanent Hope Services participants plus an additional 6 positions during peak season for almost 10 years. J. Lohr is also a strong supporter in Hope’s fundraising efforts. Thank you, J. Lohr, for all you do for Hope and for the community! Cheers!

Group Celebrates 10 Years of Giving Hope

Stacy Trevenon | Half Moon Bay Review | August 27, 2015

Half Moon Bay Day Program

Photo courtesy Robb DeVournai

For 10 years, adults with developmental disabilities have found hope through Hope Services.

Hope Services is a private nonprofit that originated in San Jose more than 60 years ago and grew to serve roughly 3,000 individuals in San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, San Benito and Monterey counties.

With a mission of improving quality of life for people with developmental disabilities, it staffs and supports the Half Moon Bay-Peninsula Diversified Network, informally known as its Community Day Program.

Cars 'n' Cowboys

It was the moment everyone had been waiting for Saturday night at Hope Services’ inaugural Cars ‘n’ Cowboys event in Los Gatos: Whose key would start the 1970 Cadillac El Dorado that was the event’s opportunity drawing prize?

John Di Manto put his key in the ignition, and the engine turned over. And then Di Manto turned over the car — right back to Hope Services.

“Coincidentally, I already own a car like that so I want to donate that car back to the cause and add $1,000,” he told the crowd. Jim Zanardi — who presented the event with his wife, Randi Zanardi, at the Los Gatos Shopping Center on North Santa Cruz Avenue — quickly decided to auction off the auto, which sold for $8,000.

It was a memorable moment at the event, which showcased two dozen classic and exotic cars, including a 1939 “woodie” Cadillac, a 1914 Packard, a ’49 Nash and ’58 Edsel — though given the Western theme, you’d expect a covered wagon, too. There were cowboy hats and boots all around, including on Italian tenor Pasquale Esposito, who showed a talent for country tunes.

The event raised more than $230,000 for the San Jose-based nonprofit agency, which provides support for more than 3,500 individuals with developmental disabilities in Northern California.

Hope Services Team Up With RAFT

July 2015

Hope clients at RAFT

Resource Area For Teaching (RAFT), the San Jose-based nonprofit organization committed to hands-on learning, has long focused on supporting teaching the way all students learn best. In doing so, RAFT has attracted the attention of non-profit organizations with similar goals. Hope Services, the San-Jose headquartered non-profit dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities, has teamed up with RAFT to give back to their community and support learners who have special needs, in the way they learn best, and using a hands-on approach.

Hope Services’ participants volunteer at RAFT on a weekly basis – assembling hands-on learning kits, helping in the retail space, and learning real-life lessons about workplace environments.

“I like working at RAFT because of the challenging jobs and the team effort that goes into everything we do,” says Karen Treat, a Hope Services’ member and RAFT volunteer for three years.

Working together and collaborating on assignments simulates a real work environment that helps persons with disabilities demonstrate essential 21st century skills, such as time management and cultivating coworker relationships. Work experience is essential, as people with developmental disabilities have an 87% unemployment rate in California.

“In the five years that I’ve been assisting our groups at RAFT, I’ve seen our members’ confidence blossom so much. They really feel like they’re helping out the community. And it’s really important that we help everyone to see that people with disabilities can be real assets to the community if they’re just given the opportunity,” says Jane Chin, Community Access Network Support Facilitator with Hope Services.

RAFT was founded by a former teacher who observed children learning math and science concepts and noticed a pattern of greater understanding when students had a hands-on activity to deepen the learning experience. Volunteers, such as Hope Services, helped engineer RAFT’s kits as an evolution in hands-on teaching ideas. Now, RAFT has more than 100 different kits available to educators at its resource centers and online store, and has provided nearly 500,000 student hands-on learning experiences.

About Resource Area For Teaching

RAFT believes the best way to spark the love of learning for the next generation of thinkers, innovators, problem-solvers, and creators, is through hands-on learning. A nonprofit organization since 1994, RAFT serves 12,000 educators each year who teach over 900,000 students. Find out more about RAFT and how to get involved at

News about Hope Services Building Community Breakfast

May 2015

Hope Gala Logo

We are pleased to announce that after 10 successful years, the Hope Annual Breakfast has been reinvented. This year we are thrilled to have been selected by the Silicon Valley Capital Club as the nonprofit recipient of the gala this year — a huge honor for Hope!

Hope Services will hold our biggest fundraiser of the year on the evening of Oct 17th at the Silicon Valley Capital Club in San Jose. As always, we have a great audience –Bay Area decision-makers, elected officials, and high-profile donors. Coming soon: watch for a special announcement about our honorary chairs!

Reserve your tickets now…space is extremely limited and tickets go fast! Tickets start at $175 and will go up after August 15th  Please visit: or contact Angela Mazza 408 284-2862.

Thank you for your support and we hope to see you there!

Hope Services Partners with Guadalupe River Park Conservancy to Make Rotary PlayGarden Cleanest and Safest Park in South Bay

May 2015

Hope Services and the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy have teamed up to maintain the Rotary PlayGarden in San Jose, designed and built for children and young adults with special needs.  Hope Services’ participants will be cleaning the park Monday through Friday. The goal is for the PlayGarden to be the cleanest and safest park in the south bay. The PlayGarden opened on May 23rd, and thousands of people have been enjoying the park on a daily basis.  For more information see the PDF, or visit the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy website.

Roatary PlayGarden Scene

Yellowstone National Park Recognizes Hope Participants’ Work

May 2015

Modwalls has hired Hope’s clients for the past 10 years to produce their glass mosaic tile blends. Recently, Modwalls had a large purchase from Yellowstone National Park that Hope employees assembled for them. When Yellowstone learned that Hope Services did the work they donated 200 hats for our clients.

Hope Participants Help Make ARCA Grass Roots Day a Success

April 2015

ARCA Meeting

Hope participants and staff were among the volunteers who advocated for increased funding for DD services at the annual Association of Regional Centers’ (ARCA) Grass Roots Day in Sacramento on 4/15/2015. Pictured with Senate majority leader Bill Monning (center) are volunteers from the San Andreas Regional Center catchment area including Hope participants (from left to right) Chris G., Maya B. and Jane M., and Hope CRA Jackie Rabouin. Hope volunteers also met with other state representatives including Assembly member Richard Gordon and Senator Jim Beall throughout the day.

Hope Employee Mike Nichols Wins Award for Community Membership and Media Program (CMMP)

February 2015

At Hope Services, there are so many practices and people that have high impact on the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities. Late last year we went on a search to identify the person who most represented this effort and was deserving of this recognition. We asked for nominations and while we considered many for this award, one person stood out above all others.

Please join me in congratulating Mike Nichols for the significant, life changing impact his Community Membership and Media Program (CMMP) has had on so many people. Through the past five years, Mike has developed a program has had a quantifiable positive impact on at least four of our eight quality of life domains:

  • Social Inclusion – educating the community about healthy nutritional choices
  • Rights – engaging our clients in the legislative process
  • Interpersonal Relations – using media to improve social skills
  • Emotional Well Being – putting clients first to help recognized them and build their confidence.

We look forward to the possible expansion of this program and want to thank Mike for his tireless contribution for using media/technology to expand the possibilities for quality of life! Mike’s award will go on the Presidents’ Wall at Hope’s Las Colinas headquarters.

Mike Nichols receives his award from Hope CEO Ray Smith

Hope University: Leading The Way in Employee Development

January 2015

Education is an important component of any employment program. With Hope University, Hope Services is leading the way to ensure that Hope employees have top notch training. This program will develop a nationally-recognized certification program that offers “degrees” of success from certificates to PhDs. In cooperation with the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP), this new training program will enable employees to enhance their studies, both in- and outside of their specific areas of expertise. Our direct-support employees will continue to receive core training in a variety of important areas, including classes about the history of developmental disabilities, advocacy, effective communication, medication support, among others.

Joe Rodriguez | Mercury News | December, 2014

Autistic lab worker flourishes at biomedical company

Project Search offers training programs to help young adults with developmental disabilities overcome the odds to obtain employment.

San Jose – Alex Go lifted the sealed medical boxes from Italy and Spain, then placed them softly onto a small counter. They contained dozens of vials of blood from expectant mothers seeking information about the health of their babies. Go is the first one at Ariosa Diagnostics, a global prenatal testing company, to handle the vials.

“We have lots of specimens but very little space, ” he said with a smile. It wasn’t a gripe as much as a nice problem to have for both the growing San Jose company and the 22-year-old autistic laboratory worker.

Not too long ago, adults with autism rarely held sensitive jobs like this, it they ever got them at all. They are now beginning to break through thanks to efforts like Project Search, a 9-month-old, hands-on training program run by Hope Services….

Read More (PDF) »


Hope Services Names New President/CEO

July 29, 2014

The Board of Directors of Hope Services has announced the appointment of Ray Smith as President/CEO. “As Silicon Valley’s leading provider of job creation for people with developmental disabilities, we are pleased that Ray is joining Hope at this most exciting time,” said Gene Sinclair, board chair and interim CEO. “Ray’s corporate experience, coupled with his commitment to the community is a great fit for Hope’s strategic vision of social enterprise and client advocacy. Under Ray’s leadership, we can inspire companies to create a diverse and inclusive work environment and help people with disabilities build rewarding careers.”

Continue with announcement (PDF) »

Hope CEO Ray Smith

Social Security Disability Help

February 4, 2014

Molly Clarke is a writer for the Social Security Disability Help Blog ( where she covers topics related to Social Security Disability benefits and disability awareness. For more information, contact Molly at

Molly Clarke Article:
Click here to download the PDF »

Off 68 | The Salinas Californian | December 3, 2013

Hope Services takes young adults out on the range

Clients of Hope Services received a special treat in October. By spending a day on a range, the developmentally challenged young people learned basic horsemanship, life skills and leadership. They visited the ranch at 220 J. San Benancio Salinas. The visit included grooming, leading, small tasks (cleaning a stall, washing brushes, cleaning tack), and some rides when possible.

Continue to article:
Off 68 | The Salinas Californian »

Monterey County Weekly | October 17, 2013

Hope Services’ enviro programs employ hundreds of disabled workers.

In high school, I’d wake up at an ungodly hour to ride the public bus with about 30 strangers – most of them barely speaking, barely awake and barely functioning. The bus would arrive in Sand City around 8am, silent except for the motor’s low grumble and some chatter from a group in the front, wearing brightly colored shirts that read, “Hope.”

Some were seated and speaking in simple sentences; others were in wheelchairs, squeezing out smiles. The group would stop at the corner of Contra Costa Street and Del Monte Boulevard and disappear inside the Hope Services headquarters.

Continue to article:
Monterey County Weekly »

Mercury News | November 15,2012

Hope Services, based in Santa Clara County, is marking its 60th anniversary

When Dominic Acqistapace talks about where he’s worked–IBM, Hewlett-Packard, CMC Technology, Pacer Technology and now Specialized Bicycle Components–he sounds like any other Silicon Valley veteran.

However, there is a difference between Acqistapace and much of the local workforce. He has severe developmental disabilities.

Now 61, Acqistapace was fortunate enough to be born in San Jose just a year before a group of determined parents founded what is now known as Hope Services, and he has been a client of the agency since the mid 1950s.

Continue to article:
Mercury News »

San Jose Mercury News & Santa Cruz Sentinel | July 2012

Funding cuts imperil downtown Santa Cruz litter busters

SANTA CRUZ – A well-liked downtown litter crew faces an uncertain future due to a loss of funding, and several events have been scheduled to help keep the program afloat.

For 11 years, Hope Services’ small “Litter Abatement Crew” has worked Monday through Friday to keep downtown sidewalks clean. The handful of developmentally disabled workers pick up trash and cigarette butts and empty trash and recycling containers along Pacific Avenue between Laurel and Water streets and one block over on both sides…

Continue to article:
Jose Mercury News
Santa Cruz Sentinel

Alliance Credit Union | July 2012

Alliance Credit Union Holds Recycling Drive to Benefit Hope Services
Donating Recyclables Can Help Provide Hope for People with Developmental Disabilities

San Jose/Fremont, CA (July 19, 2012) – Alliance Credit Union will be holding an e-Waste Recycling & Clothing Drive benefiting Hope Services on Saturday, July 21st from 10AM-2PM. Your tax-deductible donation will help Hope Services carry out its mission of helping people with developmental disabilities live and participate independently in their community. .

continue to article»

NISH Worlplace Magazine | June 2012

Hope Services Expands E-Waste to Wages Programming

Head quartered in San Jose, Calif., producing AbilityOne® non profit Hope Services is expanding electronic waste recycling organization-wide. Hope’s green services initiated as a pilot program through their Monterey Country District’s Electronic Waste to Wages (e-WTW) program. In September 2011, NISH’sIde as to Work Fund Program awarded Hope a $100,000 grant to expand their e-WTW Monterey County District program’s service area to Hope’s additional four service districts, which span from south ofthe San Francisco Bay through the Monterey Bay Area.

continue to article»

San Jose Mercury News | April 6th 2012

Changeling Dance Theatre offers dance classes for physically and mentally challenged young people in Santa Clara County

The two young women glide across the floor, clad in pink and black, moving with grace and skill. Their dance is the tale of their search for friendship. At the piece’s end, when they finally come together, reaching out and finding each other, their joy can scarcely be suppressed.

Telling a story through dance is as old as humankind itself. But for these dancers, their creative work means something extra, as it has been achieved despite the extra challenges in their lives.

continue to article»

CBS5 San Francisco | March 27th 2012

Donations To Some Bay Area Charities Stolen (Video)

As Bay Area charities struggle in the down economy, some nonprofit groups are now dealing with thieves stealing donations. Patrick Sedillo reports:

watch video »

KTVU Bay Area | March 19th 2012

Thieves steal donations from nonprofit that serves the disabled

CUPERTINO, Calif. — Hope Services charity is suffering huge losses from thieves who keep stealing donations before they can be picked up, the nonprofit said.

The organization said it was reluctant to talk about the thefts publicly, but now losses have mounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars, impacting services.

Monterey County Weekly | March 8th 2012

Heroes Real and Fictional: A magnetic Marina man defies cerebral palsy to conceive a novel and inspire others.


Spend enough time with Jonathan Schanz, and you see a telling transformation take place. The initial impression – of a thin 26-year-old man with halting speech, prominent cheekbones, curled tongue and arm muscles contracted tightly into his wheelchair – melts away. His wide brown eyes make contact. His enthusiasm consumes the room. Then he starts a narrative that comes effortlessly and takes his listeners into another world.

That world is the fictional career of a renegade CIA agent set off by the assassination of his wife to work as a gun for hire, often teaming with one-time adversaries like the Russian mob.

“These are the kind of people you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley,” he says. “These are guys who know how to fight, and fight well, but they care about each other.”

read full article »

Santa Cruz County | February 2012

Santa Cruz Police Partners with Hope Services

The Santa Cruz Police Department Community Services Unit, and officer Brian Warren, teamed with Hope Services to create a public safety announcement. You can watch the video above on the Santa Cruz Police Department Blog.

NISH Workplace | February 2012

Hope Services Launches Hope TV in Santa Cruz, California

In 2009, Hope Services launched an innovative new day program, Community Membership and Media (CMMP). It’s unique designed allowed for flexible days and times and a staff to employee ratio of 1:3. The program also exemplified Hope’s philosophy of “Community Membership.” Community membership is integration with the non-disabled population in all aspects of life so that people with developmental disabilities can partici- pate fully as active and productive citizens of their community.

San Jose Mercury News | January 10th 2012

Santa Cruz County moves to curtail spread of electronic waste

“We’re used to thinking of electronics as a stand-alone product” but that’s not the case anymore, Goncharoff said. “They’re in shoes, they’re in greeting cards, they’re in toys. Tomorrow they’ll be in things we never thought of. We’re trying to get a handle on this before it gets completely out of control.”

Basel’s certification process can take months, but Goncharoff said several recyclers in the area have been approved as “eStewards.” One is Santa Clara-based ECF Refining, which is used by both Grey Bears and San Jose-based Hope Services. read full article »