History of Via
Because school was not mandated for children with disabilities in the 1940’s, the single mother of a 13-year-old boy with cerebral palsy had to leave her son alone every day in a wheelchair by the window. Two women noticed the boy and approached the mother to provide help. Soon, they were carrying him and his wheelchair down two flights of narrow stairs for short field trips and city excursions, expanding his horizons.
The women were soon helping five people with disabilities. Generous people and organizations donated transportation and a vacant house. With borrowed chairs and tables, the growing group of volunteers provided lunch, entertainment and day activities.
That act of generosity led to the creation of the Crippled Children’s Society, an organization that would become Via Services. Today, Via Services is a private, independent non-profit organization dedicated to helping individuals with disabilities and special needs achieve greater self-sufficiency and lead richer lives. Directly, and in partnership with the community, we will:
- Continue research and development of innovative, quality programs, which fill critical service gaps in the community.
- Inform the public of Via’s programs and services through marketing and public relations efforts.
- Maximize the quality and efficiency of Via’s programs and operations through best business practices.
- Support current and future programs and services through the development of stable, ongoing funding mechanisms.
Today Via Services serves 4,000 individuals with disabilities from birth through end of life annually through three primary programs. The First Step Early Intervention Program is a family-oriented, outreach and center-based screening, diagnostic and therapy service that supports children ages 0 to 12 with developmental disabilities such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Down syndrome and general developmental delays and high-risk conditions including cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
Altitude at Via provides both day and residential camps for high-functioning youths and young adults with social and cognitive challenges. Campers participate in traditional camp activities, as well as independent living skills training and guided socialization experiences with their peers designed to help them function more competently and comfortably at home, in school and in the community.
Via West Campus (VWC) is a nationally-accredited special needs camp serving children, teens and adults with disabilities. Set on 13 acres in a wooded canyon with meadows and creeks, VWC provides short-term residential care year-round with weekend respite programs during the school year and longer summer camps. VWC provides a unique combination of traditional camp experiences (including outdoor sports and hiking, creative and dramatic arts, campfires, dances and talent shows) along with life skills activities such as culinary arts and nutrition, personal safety and abuse prevention, physical fitness and health self-management. Participants enjoy the VWC campus itself, as well as the many community integration outings to zoos, shops, restaurants, amusement parks, and community events that allow them to learn social norms and communication.