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By Sharon Lea

As the first rainfall showers the Bay Area with some much needed precipitation, CAA is so thankful for the beautiful, sunny weather we had last weekend for the 5th Annual CAA Golf Classic. Our wonderful, generous donors hit a HOLE IN ONE helping us to raise $40,000 to further the mission to help our students be the best they can be. We can now offer more classes, workshops and awesome opportunities for our students! This was my first CAA Golf event and certainly will be one of many to come!

b2ap3_thumbnail_golfelvis16.jpgCAA is growing fast and to see so many smiling faces on the golf course was very exciting for me. I started with CAA as a volunteer just a few months ago and soon realized this special place I wanted to call home. Golfing may have brought us together on that day and yet, we came away with so much more! The day was all about friendship, giving hugs and laughing under the sun on the golf course. It was about making new friends and seeing old ones. It was about coming together and dancing with Elvis in front of his pink Cadillac! It was about enjoying a day of golf, no matter if you hit the ball or not. Golfing brought us together and we had a BALL!

The CAA Golf Classic was a HUGE success and we are extremely grateful to everyone who came and gave so much of their time and efforts! I cannot tell you how honored I am to be a part of such a supportive and loving community, where differing abilities are applauded and everyone is given the opportunity to shine. SO even though the rain is here, we still carry warm memories from the 5th Annual CAA Golf Classic. I am very excited to a part of the CAA family!

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CAA "Cardinal Nest"

By Pamela Lindsay, Dean of Curriculum & Instruction

Excitement is in the air as students return from their summer activities and prepare to settle into their CAA “Cardinal Nest.” The cool weather and early evenings may slow some people down but the start of a new fall quarter always gets us moving!

b2ap3_thumbnail_dancing2.jpgIf you are looking for a place to warm up, come by Latizmo hip-hop class and feel the heat. If the grace of falling leaves inspires you, visit our site during Classical and Contemporary or Graduate Dance. Are you a fall sports lover? Come join our Cardinal team activities and Cheerleading squad. If the fog on these brisk fall mornings reminds you of Frost or Keats, you may want to swing by Poetry class and compose a few lines. If the autumn fog turns to dramatic and stormy skies, share those images in Theatre Performance, Language Studies, Fine Arts, and Music classes. If you find yourself intrigued by all of the different and vibrant colors of the trees and their fallen leaves, learn about them in Applied Science and Mathematics. And of course, our TV/Film and Photojournalism students are here to capture all of your beautiful fall CAA memories.

Autumn is also a time for beautiful changes! In this spirit, the Fall 2016 Quarter now includes 30 classes scheduled across the week for accessibility by more students than ever. New workshops and performance opportunities offer even more excitement for current students. More adults discover and register for these opportunities every month while CAA’s student leaders share their knowledge as contributing citizens. Soon the coming fall festivals, performances, and holiday celebrations will give them a stage to do what they do so well…represent and celebrate the abilities of all individuals, and the ability of all individuals to affect change.

You are treasured part of the College of Adaptive Arts family and always welcome at our CAA home. Go to and click “Sign up for a student tour” to come in and see what’s new. We’ll keep the kettle on for you!

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by Nicole Ferguson, Department Chair of the College of Adaptive Arts School of Art


From the beginning, College of Adaptive Arts, one core belief has always been “perception, not perfection.” In our society, we are driven to be perfect. To have the perfect grades, the perfect job, and the perfect life . We pose for and post our perfect selfies on Twitter and Instagram. We continue to perpetuate the illusion of perfection all over Facebook. At CAA, this shift in thought from “perfection to perception” is a unique concept for many people and adults with differing abilities. Students, who thought they weren’t skilled enough to dance, act, sing or paint, might have never tried. CAA continues to build classes that are safe places to learn, free from judgment, while supporting creativity and courage to explore different areas in the arts. For our college students, the illusion of perfection has been broken. All CAA students get the chance to experience real success, hard work, form lasting friendships, and find what they are passionate about in life and as performing artists. Perfection is only an illusion. Believe in yourself…that’s real.


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by Nicole Kim

Nicole with ReneeI am a professor at College of Adaptive Arts for the Speaking with Confidence class but I am also a parent of an adult with Down syndrome. As Said’s mom, I’ve been used to being his advocate his entire life. Speaking for him and giving him a voice when he didn’t have one. Now that he is 26 and has just moved out in a supported living situation, I recognize the importance of him having his own voice and having the ability to speak for himself. Self-advocacy and self-determination are important skills for people with disabilities to possess and I’d like to share 3 ways you can help your adult gain self-advocacy skills.

Self-advocacy is the act of representing yourself or your own views. Self-determination is the process of taking control and making decisions that affect one’s life. Self-determination helps us make choices, decisions, problem solve, set and attain goals, self-advocate and perform independently. Both are essential for our adult children as they transition to adulthood and independence. It doesn’t matter where your student is in their process, even if they live with you or with caregivers, they can, and should always be, self-advocates!

1. Increase Self-Awareness - Help your student make a list of 3-5 things they are good at and what they need help with.

a. I don’t call it “strengths” and “weaknesses” because we ALL have things we need help with. Part of self-advocacy is knowing when to ask for help and that is NOT a weakness. When we are aware of our limits and abilities, we can be more aware of when we really need help and be able to articulate what help we need.

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by DeAnna Pursai

We use this phrase often at the College of Adaptive Arts, in our mission, our vision, our mottos in reference to our dynamic student body and professors and staff. This past week we’ve had our first amazing dance video go viral, and it truly represents the essence of what it means to CAA to empower our Student Body to be Successful Contributing Citizens through the Arts. This particular student dancer wore her very own red dress (all the other student dancers were in black), and performed her own choreography to a piece that she self-selected. It was the Spring Recital Night of our Graduate Dance Clinic of student dancers, choreographers, and budding dance instructors.

This student’s joy of dance and artistic expression is sincerely palpable and infectious. She was sincerely and truly in her element, dancing with conviction, eloquence, and sheer joy. One of the beautiful back stories is that her father was in the audience, and it is a rare treat when he can get off work and enjoy his daughter’s performance. The saying above the dance mirror states ‘To Watch Us Dance is to Hear Our Hearts Speak’ (Hopi Native American saying). In this dancer’s instance, her heart spoke with such sincere conviction and has touched so many hearts in the afterglow.

These dancers, all adults with disabilities, make such exquisite contributions to our College each and every time they step through the CAA doors to continue to grow, learn, share, and performb2ap3_thumbnail_dancing2.jpg. They have such rich stories to tell through their dance moves, their poetry, their paintbrushes, their cameras, their musical instruments. It is such a compelling story that makes everyone around them feel more alive and vibrant. When I’m with the students at the College of Adaptive Arts, I become recalibrated each time as to what is really important and meaningful in the overall realm of life.

Another beautiful backstory I’d like to share is that this video that went viral was videotaped, edited, and uploaded as well by a CAA Professor who is also an adult with a differing ability. Many of our staff have struggled in a typical workforce environment. At the College of Adaptive Arts, we are creating a safe, joyful and creative space for our professors and staff to also flourish and thrive in their authentic gifts and abilities.

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