ETTA Expands Day Program Offerings for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

special needs ETTA Programs ExpandETTA’s Isak Boruchin Adult Day Program opened in September with three clients, and has exceeded expectations by growing to 14 clients in the first year. The program provides safe, meaningful and purposeful volunteering, job development, skill building, and recreation activities for adults with disabilities at sites within their local community.

That growth will continue, as ETTA is expanding the program to include adults with more severe disabilities, and opening of new day program for adults with mild to moderate disabilities in the Conejo Valley.

ETTA provides a full spectrum of services for adults with special needs and their families, including residential housing, case management, employment training and placement and educational and social services.

“Deep compassion and a profound understanding of the needs of adults with more severe disabilities has moved the board of Looking Beyond to partner with ETTA so that we can help these adults who require more support and assistance in their daily lives,” says Dr. Michael Held, executive director of ETTA.

The expansion into the Valley was motivated by Jewish Federation Valley Alliance research that found Jewish families in the area feel that most available services for people with special needs are located too far away to be beneficial. “We are scouting for a Valley site and beginning preliminary contacts with prospective clients and families,” says Held. “We expect to begin with four to six clients in January 2016, grow to 10 after the first six months, and likely 20 by June 2017.”

Shanna Rosenberg, manager of the Day Program, says the grant from Looking Beyond will also help ETTA augment the current sports and hiking that are offered by adding a fitness program with a trainer.

Day Program clients also recently began participating in growing and harvesting the produce of a new nonprofit called Harvesting Hope, created by longtime ETTA supporters Jonathan and Ollie Istrin. The program conducts urban farming through local greenhouses and drip irrigation above-ground gardening beds. Harvesting Hope’s goal is to employ individuals with disabilities, especially clients of ETTA, and above-ground gardening beds were recently placed at ETTA’s Sohacheski Family Women’s Group Home in North Hollywood.

The Day Program’s transportation capabilities will be enhanced thanks to a new van purchased through a grant from the Isak Boruchin Trust. “For some participants, it’s very challenging to use public transportation because of their disabilities,” Rosenberg says. “The new van will also help our clients who deliver meals to needy families.”

Held noted that ETTA will continue to seek opportunities to partner with other groups in the Los Angeles area in its quest to reach more people with special needs and provide them with the best services. ETTA’s programs and services are vendored by California Regional Centers, and more information is available at

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