Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pacific Graduate Helps the Developmentally Disabled

Sasha (Storm) Vidales '03

With a BA in Psychology, an almost-completed MBA under my belt, and a lay-off ahead of me, I knew it was time for a career change. Anticipating my lay off, I had started looking for work, but was frustrated by the lack of interesting and challenging jobs. I decided to start my own company.

Having worked in social services for over a decade, I envisioned an organization which did things differently: working with clients’ intrinsic motivation, integrating technology and multi-media learning, and providing services in natural community-based settings. These ideas came together as I opened Creative Goal Solutions, an organization providing motivation, education and training to adults with developmental disabilities. While many services focus on the use of behaviorism, I have decided to focus more heavily on motivational strategies and multi-sensory learning to achieve results. In a short time, I have noticed very encouraging results from this approach.

The process of starting my own company has been an exciting way to combine my education in Psychology and my recent MBA with my diverse experience. In developing programming and curriculum, I am able to “test” the psychological and business theory I learned through both educational programs.
Currently, I offer four programs to clients. The Community Involvement Program engages clients in their communities through volunteerism, physical activity, and neighborhood exploration. Education focuses on social skills, community navigation, and strengthening community ties. I offer an RSVP program which allows clients to engage in evening and weekend community activities which fit their schedule. The Self-Employment in the Creative Arts program (SECA) provides visual artists, musicians and writers, and crafts the training, networking and technical assistance they need to be self-employed artists. Finally, Independent Living classes educate clients on all the topics they need to live successfully on their own. From Small Appliance Cooking and Basic Home Repair to Conversation Skills and Sexual Health and relationship topics, we arm clients with the information, confidence, and motivation to achieve independence.
Three weeks after opening my doors, I employed two Skills Trainers and am at full client capacity,  and am looking to expand soon. In a job market with sometimes limited opportunities, it has been highly rewarding to venture out on my own. I look forward to the challenge and possibilities of this new adventure.
Vidales '03 studied psychology at Pacific University and earned and MBA from Marylhurst in 2011. For more information, visit www.creativegoalsolutions.org

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Pacific's Class Trip to Vancouver BC: Year 21

Stephanie Haugen '12

A couple weeks ago, I returned from Vancouver BC with a new excitement for continuing my education and the possibilities for my chosen career path.

I participated in Pacific’s photography field class in its 21st year. The intense week-long workshop was more valuable that I could have ever anticipated. I learned so much in that one week—as much as I could’ve learned in an entire semester.

While in Vancouver, we got to experience A LOT. These experiences were both fun and eye-opening. The week we spent in Vancouver BC was intense. We started early and ended late. We shot all day, and uploaded and edited our photos when we returned to our rooms at night. Upon our arrival, most of us were shocked by the size and atmosphere of the University of British Columbia, where we were going to be staying. In stark contrast to Pacific, UBC is big and bustling, looks like a city, and is located right on the coast. It was educational to be able to experience college life in such a startlingly different way. In that week, we all got a taste for what it would be like to attend a university that is opposite to Pacific in many ways.

The next day was a full day. We visited the Buddhist temple and the Japanese gardens. Both were beautiful and educational in their own ways. Both offered a look into another culture while providing the opportunity to take great photographs.

Throughout our trip, we visited more tourist destinations including the Bloedel Floral Conservatory where we photographed exotic birds and flowers, and the Museum of Anthropology where we got to see and take pictures of ancient artwork.

We also visited Stanley Park, where we waited until it got dark, looked across the water and photographed the Vancouver skyline. While we perfected our nighttime photography skills, we also bonded with each other and viewed the breathtaking city from another angle.

My favorite parts of the trip were the spur-of-the-moment ones. We went to Granville Island where the indoor market, resembling Seattle’s Pike Place, bustles with people and the flavor of different foods, products and cultures. The market opens up onto the docks where seagulls fly and beg for scraps of food, families eat their market meals, street musicians sing (in French when we happened to be there), and brightly colored water taxis take customers from dock to dock. The joy of the market shows on everybody’s face, making them prime photographic subjects.

Each individual had their own favorite stops, but I think all of us left with new photography skills and an appreciation for each others’ talents.My trip to Vancouver BC will always stand out as one of my favorite and most influential memories from my time at Pacific University.

Haugen '12 has worked in the Office of Alumni Relations as the Communications Assistant and is an editor for the student newspaper, The Pacific Index. She studied journalism at Pacific.