It was super cool when Rhonda Daniels, Executive Director of Moving Forward Towards Independence (Moving Forward), agreed to do an interview for disABLED+Empowered. I've known about Moving Forward for a while and given my specialty with teens and adults with neurodevelopmental disabilities, they have been on my radar.
Moving Forward is a unique program that has a strong identity with a proven track record. They know what they do and do it well. Serving non-college-bound adults with developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, and autism spectrum disorders, they focus on the growth of the whole person (read: not academic). They help adults meet their personal potential vocationally and socially while filling in the gaps (if needed) for daily living. Classes and groups are offered by interest and are crafted by staff who will stop at nothing to make learning fun and meaningful (enter Pokemon Go for social skills and executive functioning training). There's a focus on learning by doing and adults are integrated into the community and start vocational training on day one.
It doesn't take long to realize that Rhonda knows what she is doing. With an easy confidence, Rhonda believes that adults need to find the best program for now. This means that some adults may grow out of Moving Forward or may stay for their lifetime. Whatever happens, Rhonda wants the best for each resident and doesn't take it personally when things don't work out.
I love the idea that adults can live at Moving Forward forever. With a 3-tiered program, Moving Forward nods to the reality that individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities not only need graduated levels of support, but may also need some form of support for their entire lifetimes. Moving Forward has been building their community in Napa for over 20 years. This stability has not only provided robust relationships with businesses and the surrounding Napa community, but also for the parents of residents who have also built meaningful relationships with each other. Everyone belongs.
I just loved talking to Rhonda about Moving Forward. Her experience, confidence, and solid belief in their program immediately put me at ease and makes me so happy that a place like this exists. Find out more about Moving Forward Towards Independence by watching and listening to our interview.
If you want to contact Rhonda directly, call her at (415) 302-4614.
Check out Moving Forward Towards Independence here.
For a full transcript of my interview with Rhonda, go here.