AbilityPath Unveils New Inclusive Outdoor Event Venue for Community
County Supervisor Joe Simitian gives remarks at ribbon cutting ceremony
PALO ALTO, CA – AbilityPath, one of the largest and oldest nonprofits on the Peninsula serving children and adults with disabilities and their families, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring remarks by Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian. The ceremony commemorated AbilityPath’s new outdoor event venue at its Middlefield campus in Palo Alto. The beautifully renovated courtyard is designed to advance AbilityPath’s mission of developing innovative programs that promote inclusion and provide opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.
This new outdoor event space features an ADA dop-off entry, bocce ball court, stage, gardens, and an eco-friendly commemorative water feature that uses recycled water, and there are future plans to develop a commercial kitchen that will provide job experience in culinary arts and hospitality. The kitchen will also be utilized for independent living skills classes for people with disabilities.
“The pandemic has shown us that outdoor spaces are here to stay,” said Supervisor Simitian. “This funding collaboration between the County and private donors will have a significant impact on folks in the developmental disabilities community and support their ability to find meaningful work.”
Development of the outdoor courtyard and the future commercial kitchen are made possible in part by grants from Santa Clara County and private donations. Supervisor Simitian, who proposed County support, has been a long-time champion with a great vision for how the community could be more inclusive, especially when it comes to affordable housing and employment opportunities.
“The unemployment rate for people with developmental disabilities is approximately 85%,” said Bryan Neider, CEO of AbilityPath. “Our employment and careers program regularly supports more than 120 adults with developmental disabilities in jobs with local and national businesses in the community. This new event space creates an amazing new opportunity for people we serve to work onsite, while also bringing awareness of our mission, and inclusive employment to the broader community.”
In addition to providing employment opportunities, the revenue generated from this innovative social enterprise will be reinvested in AbilityPath programs and activities that support individuals in the disability community throughout their lifespan.
“It’s a living example of what full inclusion can be,” Neider added. “We are extremely grateful to the donors, Supervisor Simitian and the County for making this project possible, and also to the Harvard Business School Alumni volunteers who developed the business plan for the event venue program.”
“AbilityPath’s work to provide individuals with developmental disabilities the skills needed to participate in today’s workforce is a real plus,” said Simitian. “And, with businesses competing for talent in a limited labor pool, adults of all abilities are a valuable resource for local businesses seeking to meet their staffing needs.”
AbilityPath has been a cornerstone of our community for 100 years, providing a lifespan of support services to individuals with special needs and developmental disabilities in the greater Bay Area. Our mission is to empower people with special needs to achieve their full potential through innovative, inclusive programs and community partnerships. With educational, therapeutic, vocational, and family support services, we are distinctive in providing support to an individual throughout their lifetime. We collaborate with businesses, third-party providers, local nonprofits, and various organizations to bring the highest quality services to the children, youth, and adults in our programs. Together, we are creating a world where people of all abilities are fully accepted, respected, and included in all aspects of life – in the classroom, the workplace, and in our communities. Join us in “Inspiring Inclusion.”