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

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for featuring the article about my company, Creative Goal Solutions. I appreciate the help getting the word out and the recognition. I would like to take a moment to encourage the use of person-first language in the title. Person-first language is a way to use language in a way to recognize the person before his or her disability, such as a "he uses a wheelchair" instead of "he is wheelchair-bound", or, in this case, "people with developmental disabilities" instead of "the developmentally disabled". Thank you, again.