Journeys - California MENTOR - Spring 2012

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What is California MENTOR's Family Home Agency? At California MENTOR we're building relationships and family connections through our Family Home Agency (FHA) programs. As the largest and most experienced Family Home Agency, serving the entire Golden State, we partner with Regional Centers and nurturing caregivers in the community, who we call “Mentors,” to give Californians with intellectual and developmental disabilities the services and supports they need in a place they can truly call home.


What is a Mentor?

We're with you every step of the way.

A Mentor is a person who makes a difference in the life of an individual by opening their heart and their home. Mentors participating in our innovative Family Home Agency program share their home with an adult with intellectual and developmental disabilities, providing them with the support they need to thrive. With the support of a specialized team of health and human services professionals, Mentors become trusted caregivers, friends and advocates for the individual with whom they live. This special relationship between the Mentor and the individual in their home is the foundation of our program's success. Our Mentors are our greatest resource and enable us to help individuals across the country live rich, meaningful lives in the communities they call home.

At California MENTOR, you’re never alone. Ask any Mentor who they rely on most, and you’ll probably hear, “My coordinator!” Our coordinators and clinical staff are available 24/7 to ensure that you have the support you need—every step of the way.

Who can become a Mentor? Mentors do not conform to any standard profile. They represent a wide range of backgrounds and skill levels. They may be stay-at-home moms, empty nesters looking for companionship and a way to give back, retirees looking for extra income, or social services professionals with experience caring for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Mentors may be married or single, men or women and represent a wide range of ethnicities and religions. One constant among our Mentors, however, is their commitment to care for and make a positive difference in someone's life. 2

Each home is assigned a coordinator who provides case management services. Our coordinators are human services professionals responsible for overseeing the day-to-day success of an individual's home. The coordinator ensures that the individual's needs are being met in the home and that their plan of care is being followed. They will visit the individual and the Mentor in the home regularly. There is also an after-hours coordinator on call 24/7 to respond to any urgent matters that arise outside of office hours.

How can I become a Mentor? If being a Mentor sounds like it might be right for you or someone you know, please contact us at 1-855-MENTOR2 or visit our website, We look forward to hearing from you!

REFER A FRIEND and you can earn $250! Tell someone how they can make a difference and earn money at home as a Mentor! If they become a certified Mentor you can earn $250! To learn more, visit

Dear Readers, Welcome to the second edition of Journey’s magazine. We’re proud to dedicate this issue to the men and women across the Golden State who’ve opened their hearts and their homes as Mentors to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through California MENTOR’s Family Home Agency (FHA) program. Almost 500 strong and counting, these caring individuals come from all walks of life, but they share a common bond: a desire to make a difference in the life journey of another person. We use the term Mentor because the people who open their homes to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities become so much more than just care providers. They are advocates, teachers, friends and family to the people they support. As you’ll read in the following stories, becoming a Mentor is not about special skills or abilities; it’s simply a commitment to serve someone who needs your help, and the willingness to share your home with another person who may never have had the opportunity to live in the community. By opening your home, you’re opening their world to all of the everyday pleasures that we often take for granted—like going to a park or attending a cookout with neighbors. And, with California MENTOR, you’re never alone—our dedicated team of human services professionals is with you every step of the way. At California MENTOR we’re changing how residential services are delivered to Californians with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Join us on our journey to offer family homes to thousands of Californians who deserve this life-changing opportunity! Sincerely,

Robert Efford Senior Executive Director, California MENTOR

what's inside...

4 Ray and Sharon's Love Story

6 Lynetta: Making a Difference

10 Leading By Example

12 DeAnn's Answered Prayers

14 Living in Paradise

16 Friends For Life

18 A Complete Family

20 Wonder Twin Power

Mission and Philosophy The mission of California MENTOR is to offer adults innovative, quality services and supports that lead to growth and independence, regardless of the physical, intellectual or behavioral challenges they face. Our philosophy emphasizes partnerships—with those we serve, their families, our employees, Mentors, payors and the communities in which we work—in an effort to help people shape the direction of their own lives in community-based settings. 3

"I feel like I lucked out with Ray and Sharon; they are truly a blessing."

In this photo: Brenda, Mentor 4

Ray "I



Love Story

dedicated my career to working with people with disabilities,” said Brenda, a Mentor with California MENTOR’s Family Home Agency (FHA) program, of her years at United Cerebral Palsy. “After my five children left the nest and started their own lives, I knew I wanted to continue helping guide and teach others. When I heard about this program from a colleague, it sounded like the best of both worlds.” It was nearly three years ago that Brenda opened her heart and home to Ray and Sharon, a husband and wife who both have developmental disabilities. Ray and Sharon’s love story began when they met at a day program. They courted, fell in love, and decided to get married. After their wedding, they moved into an apartment of their

own. While Ray and Sharon are able to do many things for themselves, they struggled to live independently. California MENTOR’s FHA program offered an alternative to keep them together—Ray and Sharon could live in a private home of their choosing with a Mentor, who would help guide them and foster their independence. “Brenda’s a natural caretaker,” said Monica, a clinical coordinator with California MENTOR. “She’s made it possible for Sharon and Ray to have what so many other people take for granted: a marriage and a partner for life.” “I feel like I lucked out,” said Brenda of her relationship with Ray and Sharon. “They are truly a blessing.”

In this photo: Ray and Sharon

"Brenda’s a natural caretaker!" ~ Monica, California MENTOR Clinical Coordinator 5


In this photo: Lynetta, Mentor

Making a



was a newspaper ad that first sparked Lynetta’s breakfast table conversation with her husband about opening their home and welcoming an adult with developmental disabilities into their family. And it wasn’t long after contacting California MENTOR, the state’s leading Family Home Agency, that Lynetta and her husband became Host Home providers and welcomed Kathy—and then Brenda as well—into their lives.

made scarves for everyone in Lynetta’s family for Christmas. She even made a few extras in case there were any unexpected visitors for the holidays!

“From the first time I met Kathy, it felt like we were family,” said Lynetta. “The matching process with California MENTOR is so well done. They got to know me and my interests and personality, and they hand-selected Kathy, and California MENTOR’s matching process is now Brenda, too, because designed to ensure both the Mentor and they knew we’d get along individual receiving support will be able well together.” to live together comfortably and develop

Did You Know?

Brenda has also made enormous progress. As she adapted to her new home, and her confidence grew, Brenda became more independent. She started to take pride a lasting relationship. in her surroundings “Brenda was quiet at first,” by organizing and said Lynetta of the young decorating her room, woman who had been and she demonstrated living in a homeless shelter her talent for cooking by making her grandmother’s because she did not feel accepted at home due to chile rellenos recipe for Kathy and Lynetta. Brenda her disabilities. “But when Brenda told me about also began to think about her future and enrolled in her love of junk food, I showed her our TV room, UEI’s program to become a medical assistant. She which was filled with our own junk food—and we recently graduated and is now looking for a job in her found a common bond.” chosen field. Kathy and Brenda have both made tremendous strides since joining Lynetta’s family. Kathy has learned how to take the bus from her home to her day program, giving her new confidence in her own abilities. An avid knitter, Kathy has taught both Lynetta and Brenda how to knit, and she 6

When asked how she was able to help Brenda make so much progress, Lynetta said, "All I had to do with her is tell her she could do it. She’d ask me, 'Do you really think I can?' and I’d always say, 'Yes, yes you can!'"

In this photo: Brenda, Lynetta, and Kathy at their home

"When I leave this earth, I can say, 'WOW! I made a difference in someone’s life!'" ~ Lynetta, Mentor In this photo: Brenda, Kathy, and Lynetta


California MENTOR Invites you to host a Coffee Hour! You set the date & time and we’ll provide you with the invitations. Our recruiter will come and provide the information and literature about becoming a Mentor while your guests enjoy refreshments. Just for hosting the event with 5 guests who are at least 21 years or older, are interested in becoming a Mentor, and have a home with at least one extra room, you'll earn $250! PLUS you will earn an additional $250 for each new Mentor who becomes certified after attending your event.

Contact Your Recruiter Today! 1-855-MENTOR2

Open Your Home and Share Your Heart with an Adult in Need. Become a Mentor.

Change a Life.

A Partner of

In this photo: Jim, Emy, and Keith


by example “We

We all have abilities!" ~ Jim, Mentor

don’t have any disabilities in this house,” says Jim. And he means it. Jim and his wife Emy have always had a commitment to the community and to helping others. They believe that each person has something to contribute, including Keith and Richard, the two gentlemen they support as Mentors through California MENTOR’s Family Home Agency program.

around the house that he was capable of—and he didn’t like taking responsibility for his actions. Jim could see that Keith had so much potential—if only he had the confidence to try new things. Now, whenever Keith is hesitant to try something new, Jim and Emy remind him of their family motto, “We don’t have any disabilities in this house,” and encourage him to try something new.

“We all have abilities,” says Jim. “They may not be the same for everyone, but we can all make a difference in the life of another person and do our best. Giving something to others is what makes life worthwhile.”

Keith's made a lot of progress since coming to live with Jim and Emy, and he can frequently be found joining the rest of the family volunteering in the community. Leading by example, Jim and Emy, together with Keith and Richard, demonstrate that everyone can make a difference in the life of another person.

When he first came to live with Jim and Emy, Keith would try to use his disabilities as reasons to get out of doing things 10

"We don't have any disabilities in this house...

"Giving something to others is what makes life worthwhile." ~ Emy, Mentor

In this photo: Keith, Emy, and Jim in their living room 11


answered prayers

"I’ve always relied on my faith to guide me,”

said DeAnn. So when she was looking for a way to make a difference in the lives of others, DeAnn did what she always does—she prayed for direction. “My prayer was answered when I saw an ad in the newspaper for California MENTOR’s FHA program,” she said. DeAnn cares deeply for the two individuals she supports—Jack and Sabrina. “They make me who I am,” she said. “These are my people.” Living with an individual with intellectual and developmental disabilities can be challenging sometimes. “Sabrina has the biggest heart…but she had to find it,” DeAnn said with a chuckle about Sabrina’s early days in her home. But despite a sometimes bumpy start, DeAnn refused to give up on her. The turning point came when she explained to Sabrina, “When you hurt, I hurt.” Today, Sabrina is thriving. She attends school and says she loves DeAnn and her family. Jack is deaf, non-verbal, and autistic. He uses sign language to communicate and before he came to live with DeAnn he was withdrawn and didn’t respond when people tried to communicate with him. After taking some time to adjust to his home with DeAnn, Jack came out of his shell. He enjoys watching sports, playing cards and interacting with DeAnn and her family.


“Jack is from the Dominican Republic and he doesn’t get the opportunity to see his family often,” explained DeAnn. “One day, when his father called and I signed to Jack that his father said hello, Jack waved back enthusiastically. That was a huge milestone for him,” said DeAnn, who admitted that the exchange brought tears to her eyes. DeAnn says that she’s gotten more from Sabrina and Jack than she's given. “When they hug me and say goodnight, I’ve done my job.”

In this photo: Jack, DeAnn, and Sabrina playing a game.

In this photo: Sabrina, Jack, and DeAnn at their home

"They make me who I am!"

Did You Know? As of 2012, California MENTOR has placed almost 600 individuals with developmental disabilities into family homes across California! Join us as we work to serve even more individuals in warm, inviting homes in the community.



living in


Recently retired from a 20-year career in the

medical field, Diana was looking for a way to make a difference in the life of another person while also having a flexible schedule and an opportunity to earn money to help make ends meet. When she heard about California MENTOR’s FHA program, she knew it would be the perfect fit. After undergoing California MENTOR's comprehensive screening process where the California team got to know Diana and she had the opportunity to learn more about the program, Diana was matched with Meme, a young woman with developmental disabilities. Together, the two women have created a girls' paradise at their home in the aptly named Paradise, California. When Meme’s not in school during the day, the two women enjoy going on girls’ outings shopping and to restaurants. They also discovered a shared passion for travel and recently took a trip to Texas and are planning a trip to Disneyland this spring. "The most rewarding thing about being a Mentor is seeing Meme embrace her independence," said Diana. “She never had the opportunity to do things that many of us take for granted—and being able to share those experiences with her now is a blessing.” 14

"Being a Mentor is everything I thought it would be—and more." ~ Diana, Mentor

In this photo: Meme and Diana

Paradise, CA



California In this photo: Meme and Diana in the garden



life for

In this photo: Marc, Mentor

At 23 years old, most young men are

thinking about having fun and enjoying their independence, but for Marc, a Mentor with California MENTOR’s Family Home Agency program, the opportunity to make a difference in the life of another person was something he couldn't say "no" to.

Before coming to live with Marc, Thomas had been living in a difficult situation. He needed someone to advocate for him like a brother would—the brother he never had.

"I've changed someone's life for the better."

“Growing up, I had a few classes in school with kids with disabilities,” said Marc. “They were tucked away in the back of the classroom, and they didn’t seem to have the same opportunities or attention that the other ~ Marc, Mentor kids were getting. I always felt comfortable with those kids and thought they should have the same experiences and opportunities that I did.” When he first heard about California MENTOR, Marc says he was intrigued—yet hesitant to take on such a large responsibility. “I attended a coffee hour and after hearing more about what California MENTOR did—and how well they took care of the clients and emphasized treating them as family—I decided I wanted to go for it,” he said. When he first met Thomas, the 27-year-old man he supports, Marc said, “It felt normal. We have a lot in common.” 16

Today, Thomas attends Victor Valley College, where he has made lots of friends. Marc includes him in the things he does every day. And because the two men are close in age, they have many shared interests. They enjoy watching movies, playing video games, and hanging out together. Marc says Thomas seems happier these days. “He was really reserved at first, but he’s more comfortable now. He’s just constantly smiling.”

In this photo: Thomas

In this photo: Thomas and his friends


COLLEGE TO CAREER College 2 Career (C2C), a partnership between Long Beach City College, Harbor Regional Center, HOPE Inc., and California MENTOR, provides students with disabilities the support they need to attend college, become more independent and prepare for life’s next steps.

To Learn More, Call 1-855-MENTOR2

Did You Know? There are more than 240,000 Californian's with intellectual and developmental disabilities receiving community-based services—and there are more in institutional settings who could benefit from these services. Because California’s Lanterman Act made access to services an entitlement for anyone who qualifies—the need for cost-effective, community-based solutions continues to grow as more people request access.



Violeta Provie

AComplete Family

“My mom needed someone to be with her all the time, and I wanted to be there for her,” said

Provie, who left her job as a bank teller in 1995 to become her elderly mother’s caregiver. After her mom passed away, Provie knew she wanted to make a difference in the life of another person who needed her help. “I just like taking care of people,” she explained. When she heard about California MENTOR’s FHA program, Provie decided to give it a try. “I wasn’t sure what to expect,” she said. But a decade later, Provie says it’s been a rewarding experience. “The best part is seeing the positive change in the individuals I am supporting.” Ricky came to live with Provie a decade ago and they have developed a very close bond. “I know his habits and his preferences—we’ve had our challenging moments, but we’ve worked through them and Ricky has made so much progress,” said Provie. Today, Ricky enjoys participating in Special Olympics activities, playing bocce ball, and is more active than ever. In 2011, Violeta joined the household. A budding artist, she enjoys painting and drawing. Violeta frequently visits her family, who live nearby and she enjoys spending time with Ricky and Provie.

Together, Ricky, Violeta, and Provie have the complete family they've always wanted. 18

"I'm a mother...I just like taking care of people!" ~ Provie, Mentor In this photo: Violeta, Provie, and Ricky spending time together In this photo: Ricky, Violeta, and Provie outside

Did You Know? The Family Home Agency model is thriving in California! The number of individuals being served has doubled over the past three years to more than 1,100 people—that's great progress—but we still have a ways to go. California MENTOR believes that every person with a developmental disability should have the opportunity to live in a real family home!



18 In this photo: Paul, Melinda, Danny, and Allison

Wondertwin power Some people are just natural caregivers. And that’s the case with Melinda and Paul, a couple from Escondido. They first became foster parents to help the children of a family they knew that fell on hard times. When those children left home to start their own lives, Melinda and Paul went in search of another opportunity to give back.

When Melinda stumbled across an ad in the local paper for California MENTOR’s FHA program, she was intrigued. After going through the comprehensive screening process, Melinda and Paul opened their home as relief support Mentors to individuals on a temporary basis when their fulltime Mentors went on a trip or needed some downtime. When California MENTOR reached out to Melinda and Paul to see if they would be interested in a permanent match with Danny, a 24-year-old man, they were excited to meet him. “We bonded immediately,” said Melinda. “Danny is a delightful young man. He’s very much like my husband—they’re both noisy and like to joke around!” Danny is a man on the move. He is currently enrolled in a drama class at Palomar Community College and participates in a work program volunteering his time at the local senior center and library. He’s also started his own business walking neighborhood dogs. In his free time, Paul and Melinda encourage him to participate in age appropriate activities and together, they enjoy going to hear live music and hanging out on Paul’s boat.


"Danny and Allison are the reason why I get up in the morning; they are our family!" ~ Melinda, Mentor In this photo: Danny and Allison enjoying the outdoors

“Danny’s doing really well,” said Melinda. “He’s more confident and able to do things on his own.” With Danny thriving in their home, Paul and Melinda agreed to meet Allison, a 30-year-old woman who needed a home. “We had mixed feelings about adding another person to our family, but when we met Allison, we clicked right away,” said Paul. Allison is fun loving and has bonded with Danny like a brother. She shares Paul and Danny’s sense of humor and has been known to pull a prank or two, including painting Paul’s nails while he slept one day!

In this photo: Danny and Allison cooking

Danny says he feels like he has a twin now, and together with Melinda and Paul they have a complete family.

"Our relationship with the team at California MENTOR has been marvelous! The staff is excellent at recognizing their clients needs and matches them perfectly with their Mentors!" ~ Melinda, Mentor


Our Knowledgeable Staff

2011 Network Nightingale

We're proud of our California MENTOR Family Home Agency staff. They're not only the most experienced professionals in our field, but they have a genuine desire to ensure the highest quality services for our clients.

Many thanks to The MENTOR Network’s first Network Nightingale, Donald, for traveling across the country to honor the 2011 Ripple of Hope Award winners with a once-in-a-lifetime musical performance. California MENTOR is a partner of The MENTOR Network, a national network of local health and human services providers.

One of our key team members is Tamica, who oversees our Fresno Area Family Home Agency Program. Not only is she passionate about what we do—she knows firsthand what it's like to be a Mentor. How Does She Know? She's been one! Whether you're in Fresno or anywhere else in California, call us to speak to one of our caring, knowledgeable staff about becoming a Mentor.

To see Donald's performance, visit Donald is supported by California MENTOR. He performs regularly for audiences at his day program. In addition to being an accomplished artist, Donald plays the bass guitar and is learning the cello!

Call us at 1-855-MENTOR2.

Become a Mentor!

As a Mentor, you become a teacher, advocate and friend. Make a difference in someone’s life—you will be amazed at the difference it makes in yours! Learn more at 22


CONFIDENCE &Enriching Lives Cole Vocational Services offers adults the chance learn, grow and discover new possibilities in the communities they call home.

A Partner of California MENTOR

Our day programs help individuals set and achieve personal goals, which include everything from learning vocational skills and gaining employment to earning a college degree. We provide physical and recreational therapy, skill development, and fun group activities. We offer individuals engaging, supportive programs that help them gain confidence and reach new heights.




9166 Anaheim Place, Suite 200 Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730 1-855-MENTOR2

In this photo: Joy and her Mentor, Heidi

Call us at 1-855-MENTOR2 or visit us online at We're looking for neighborhood heroes just like you!

Using your Smartphone, scan the QR code to visit our Family Home Agency website. No smartphone? No worries, visit