Friday, December 21, 2012

Important Announcement!

Via Services has scheduled maintenance on the email server during the period of December 22 to January 1. email addresses will not be able to send or receive any email.

The Via Services office will also be closed during this time for the holiday break. If you need to get in touch with someone during these dates, please call 408-243-7861 and press 0 to leave a voicemail in the general mailbox. If you would like to purchase Early Bird tickets for the Via Ball during these dates, please call 408-243-7861 and press 239 to leave a voicemail for Beth Campanella or send an email to

Thank you for your understanding and patience and from everyone at Via Services, we hope that you have a very happy holiday!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Via West Gives Back

Michelle Barr of Next Door, a San Jose organization promoting safety for women and children since 1971, accepts 150 gift stockings from Via West junior program staff member Allie Keefe. The stockings were decorated and stuffed with donations of hygiene items and candy collected by the children who attended the November 30-December 2 “All I Want for Christmas is a Snow Weekend at Via West” and adults who enjoyed the December 14-16 "Jingle Bell Rock" weekend at Via West. Michelle and her colleagues plan to place the stockings under their agency’s tree so families can take what they need for the holidays. She expressed appreciation for the kindness of our participants and their families.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Jingle Bell Rock Recap

The holiday season continued at Via West this past weekend with our adult participants and their Jingle Bell Rock! We kicked off the weekend with our opening campfire on Friday night, and then we spent Saturday morning hiking to gather pine cones for our holiday centerpieces, making menorahs, and using iPad apps to learn about the various December holidays.

Some local firefighters then stopped by to drop off our Christmas tree and to let us explore and pose for pictures with the fire truck.

We spent the rest of Saturday afternoon caroling, decorating cookies, making wreaths, making ornaments and dreidels, and decorating the tree. We also learned about the importance of giving back to the community by decorating and stuffing stockings to donate to Next Door's domestic violence shelter.

We finished up the weekend with an elegant holiday banquet, Jingle Bell Rock dance, and a meet and greet with Santa where everyone was able to receive their holiday presents!

To view more pictures from this weekend, please visit our Facebook page.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Upcoming Holiday Events

Below are some great events for you to participate in this holiday season:

December 8th from 2:00pm-4:00pm at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 81 North Second Street, San Jose, CA 95113

December 9th from 8:00am-10:00am at Applebee's Restaurant, 555 Saratoga Avenue, San Jose, CA 95129

Holiday Dinner and Dance
December 14th from 5:00pm-9:00pm at Grace Community Center, 484 San Fernando Street, San Jose, CA 95112

Special Needs Winter Ball
December 14th from 6:00pm-9:00pm at Church on the Hill, 500 Sands Drive, San Jose, CA 95125

College of Adaptive Arts Christmas in the Park Performance
December 17th from 8:00pm-9:00pm at Plaza de Cesar Chavez 101 West Santa Clara Street, San Jose, CA 95112

Thursday, December 6, 2012

All I Want for Christmas Recap

Snow in California? You bet! With some help from the Rotary Club of Cupertino, the Via West Campus was transformed this past weekend into a glistening winter wonderland. We kicked off the weekend with some caroling at our opening campfire.

On Saturday, we spent time making ornaments, dreidels, menorahs, and various other holiday crafts to take home. We read Christmas stories, played music, and learned some new iPad apps.


After some down time in the lodges, we came outside to see that winter had arrived! We went sledding, made snowmen, had an epic snowball battle, and then we warmed up inside with cookies and hot chocolate.Everyone learned the importance of giving back to the community by decorating and stuffing stockings to donate to Next Door's domestic violence shelter.

We finished up the weekend with a festive dinner, Yule Ball, and a meet and greet with Santa where everyone was able to receive their holiday presents!

To see more pictures from this weekend, please visist our Facebook page.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Toys for Children with Special Needs

The Friendship Circle Blog put together a list a while back of 10 online toy stores that sell toys that are specifically aimed at children with special needs. Check it out:

2011/01/31 By

If your child has special needs it may not be so simple to purchase an appropriate toy. You generally can’t walk into a Walmart, Target, Toys ‘R’ Us or your local dollar store and pick out the item your child wants or needs. Thankfully we live in 2011 (what did people do 20 years ago? ) and we can hop online and start browsing the web for appropriate toys.
To get you started here are some stores that sell toys geared towards children with special needs.

1. Ability Station
Ability station provides special toys for  many different special needs and skillsets. All toys are therapist approved for a child’s growth, development and fun.

2. Amazon

http://amazon.comAmazon sells anything and everything you could possibly think of (ex: Sigmund Freud action figure or UFO Detector). Tucked away in a corner of Amazon are 464 special needs multi sensory toys.

3. Different Roads to Learning
Founded in 1995 by the mother of a child diagnosed with Autism, Different Roads to Learning carries over 500 products carefully selected to support the Autism Community. You’ll find everything from basic flashcards, books and timers to advanced social skills tools to support you at every step.

4. eSpecial Needs

http://especialneeds.comFrom oversized building blocks and bungee jumpers to snapwall playsets and sand and water activity tables, eSpecial Needs offers a variety of appealing active play toys for children with special needs, including autism.

5. Fun and Function

http://funandfunction.comFun and Function designs sensory toys and therapy equipment for individuals with special needs to help children learn adaptive responses for what they may lack or crave.  Looking for a gift for a child with special needs? Fun and Function has some recommendations.

6. Gummy Lump

http://gummylump.comGummy Lump offers toys that make sweet memories:  play food, wooden toys, pretend play & educational toys for toddlers & preschoolers! Featuring Melissa & Doug and other award winning toys.

7. Lakeshore Learning

http://lakeshorelearning.comLakeshore is dedicated to creating innovative educational materials that spark young imaginations, instill a sense of wonder and foster a lifelong love of learning. Although not specifically targeted towards children with special needs, a number of their products can be very useful for children with special needs.

8. Playability Toys

http://www.playabilitytoys.comPlayAbility Toys designs and develops toys for children with special needs. Toys are geared towards children on the Autism Spectrum, individuals who are blind & visually Impaired, cognitive challenges, hearing impaired, physical challenges, speech delay and more.

9. Special Needs Toys
Special Needs Toys offers a wide range of special needs toys, from mobile Multi-Sensory, to Swings, Trampolines and otherSensory Integration kits, Switches, rewards and small Sensory toys.

10. Toys  ’R’ Us

http://toysrus.comToys ‘R’ Us has a complete  ”Differently-Abled” Kids section. Categories include: Auditory, Creativity, Fine Motor, Gross Motor, Language, Self-Esteem, Social Skills, Tactile, Thinking and Visual

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Nassreen Zarea to Receive Hope Services Award

Exciting news from the mom of Nassreen Zarea, one of our Via West participants and counselors-in-training:

"I am proud to announce that Nassreen was nominated to receive the Larry Schott award and was chosen by the family to be this year’s recipient. Larry Schott Humanitarian Award is in memory of Larry Schott, a longtime HOPE trustee and a true advocate for HOPE’s clients, he believed in doing good work for people and this award was created by his family to honor others who choose to volunteer their time.

According to the director of HOPE services, this is a huge honor as HOPE serves more than 2800 individuals each day and only one person is chosen annually for this award! She will be honored at an awards luncheon in December. The Schott family will be represented by approximately 25 family members and all of the SVDN staff and clients will be there to celebrate Nassreen’s accomplishments.

We are very proud of Nassreen and thank you all for your part in supporting her in every area of her life!"

Congratulations Nassreen!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Via West Thanksgiving Recap

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at Via West! We just spent a fantastic holiday weekend at Via West full of football, friends, and food! We went shopping at the Via West Market to select ingredients to make stuffing and pumpkin pie for our Thanksgiving feast.

We decorated masks to be sold at this year's Via Ball since the theme is Mardis Gras Masquerade.

 We made journals and photo albums, and we practiced our football skills. We then stuffed all of our Thanksgiving turkeys with our homemade stuffing.

We made vases to use as centerpieces for Thanksgiving, and we put our football skills to good the test with a campus wide scrimmage.

Everyone then dressed up to sit down to our wonderful homemade feast (thanks to Deli Dave and the kitchen staff!), and we shared what we are most thankful for this year. We finished the night off by dancing away all of our calories at the Turkey Trot!

To see more pictures from this weekend, please visit our Facebook page.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Via West Gives Back

During the holiday weekends this year, child and adult participants at Via West will be stuffing stockings to donate to the Women and Children's Shelter in San Jose. If you would like to help our participants to help out the community, we are in need of the following items:

Toiletries - Travel size items:
Body Wash
Hand Lotion
Shower Caps
Hand Sanitizer

Sewing Kits
Band Aids

Other Items:
Hair clips/bands
Wrapped cookies
Wrapped candies

We appreciate your help! Donated items can be brought to the Via Services main office at 2851 Park Ave, Santa Clara, CA 95050. We will need these items before November 30th for the children's weekend and before December 14th for the adult's weekend. If your child is attending one of these sessions, then please feel free to bring any items to check in!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

Harry Potter Halloween Recap

Expelliarmus! Our young witches and wizards spent a frightful and fun-filled weekend at the haunted Via West Castle. We competed in a live chess game, brewed potions, hatched dragon eggs, and made magic wands to cast our Halloween spells.

On Saturday, we took a field trip to Giordano Farms where we rode on the train, learned about animals in the petting zoo, and everyone picked the perfect pumpkin to take home.

Back on campus, we played a rousing game of Muggle Quidditch, searched for magical creatures with our Bowtruckle and Niffler treasure hunt, and we used iPads to learn all about Harry Potter and Halloween.

Things got a little bit spooky at the Shrieking Shack haunted house and then everyone boogied on down at the Goblin Gala. To round out the weekend, everyone was able to pose for a picture with Professor Dumbledore!

To see more pictures from the weekend, please visit our Facebook page.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Last Days of Summer Recap

We just kicked off the 2012-2013 weekend season with The Last Days of Summer! We had a blast celebrating the last of the warm weather. We learned how to make seed balls to plant in the ground and we made suncatchers and pinwheels as well. We rooted through the Via West garden and dug up some delicious vegetables that we then cooked for our summer bbq extravaganza!

We splashed around in the pool, learned on iPads, showcased our talent at the talent show, and had a fun-filled dance under the stars. 

We had an epic showdown of men versus women in the Via West baseball game. While the men made an amazing comeback, the defensive skills of the women allowed them to prevail!

To see more photos from this weekend, please visit our Facebook page. To register for a private pay weekend program, please click here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Is it Time to Clean your Closet?

Via West is looking for some items to jazz up our dress-up closet for dances, talent shows, and performances during weekend and summer programs. We can use any kind of dress-up clothes for children, teens, and adults. We welcome, in particular, prom gowns, cocktail dresses, cheerleading uniforms, square dance attire, and Halloween costumes.

We greatly appreciate any and all contributions! Please bring your dress-up clothes to the main office at 2851 Park Ave, Santa Clara, CA 95050. We are open Monday through Friday from 8:30am-4:30pm. You may also send clothes with your participant to weekend programs and we will collect them at check in.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Creative You Recap

Summer 2012 at Via West is officially in the books! We just wrapped up our final session of the summer - Creative You. It was a jam packed weekend filled with maracas, yogurt pops, and cookies. We made bookmarks and flower vases and we played a rousing game of Jeopardy.

We twisted and conga lined at Friday night's dance, and we spent a little time lounging in the pool.

The highlight of the weekend was the talent show which was full of some top notch acts.

Thank you so much for sharing your summer with us, and we will miss you all....until we see you again in the fall for weekend programs, that is!!!

To see more pictures from this weekend, please visit our Facebook page.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Let's Explore the Seven Seas Recap

Ahoy Mateys! Via West set sail last week to explore the seven seas, and explore we did! We made sea creatures, jello fish bowls, 3D aquariums, Japanese fish mobiles, and a super scrumptious "under the sea" cake.

We went on a treasure hunt, danced with Ariel at our "Little Mermaid" dance, and we had a blast eating popcorn and playing games at the "Poseidon" carnival on the sports court.

We spent a day fishing at Lake Elizabeth, and we got up close and personal with some sea creatures at the Santa Cruz Seymour Center. We had a water cannon fight outside in the sun, and we bubbled to the surface for the talent show.

To see more pictures from this session, please visit our Facebook page.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Creative You Recap

Creative You had a little something for everyone this week! Participants made flower vases, frozen pops, maracas, cookies, terrariums, and bookmarks!


We had some major fun in the sun with a water balloon fight, time spent at the pool, and a carnival, complete with a bouncy house, of course.

We really got in touch with our creative side when we visited the Children's Discovery Museum for a fun and learning filled field trip.

Creativity went through the roof as everyone showcased their talents at the talent show.

To see more pictures from the week, please visit our Facebook page.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

CSI Week (Kids) Recap

Something fishy is going on at Via West! Mr. Fluffy McFluff Fluff has met his untimely demise, and our CSI detectives must now track down the culprit!

Participants had a fantastic time last week working the Via West crime scene investigation, outlining bodies, and playing a live clue game. We made high protein smoothies to energize us for the manhunt through campus, rode horses, and took a much needed break to relax by the pool.

We took two amazing field trips to the Sheriff's Department and the Fire Station.

We danced one of the nights away and everyone showcased their abilities at an incredible talent show.

To see more pictures from this week, please visit our Facebook page.