News

2010 looks like a Snap

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by MATTHEW NASH
Sequim Gazette

Going into its 12th year, Snap, formerly known as Special Needs Advocacy Parents, has several new opportunities for developmentally disabled individuals in Clallam County for 2010.

Winter classes start Jan. 11, beginning a new quarterly schedule with alternating courses that participants ages 18 and up can select.

Some of the upcoming classes offered promote:
• Health and healthy relationships
• Nutrition
• Safety such as avoiding scams
• Art
• Performing arts and talents

Interim executive director Jenell DeMatteo said new classes will work with individuals on social issues such as sexuality and money management, too.

“Developmentally disabled people don’t always have much money, are isolated, have limited money, are typically not active and lonely,” DeMatteo said.

“Our main focus is building confidence.”

Upcoming programs
Following a brainstorming session by volunteers and parents in November, several new and existing programs await participants in 2010.

• Aug. 19-22, participants will be offered the chance to go camping, possibly for the first time, at Camp Robbinswold on Hood Canal. Participants are allowed a payment plan of $30 a month for the $240 fee. Scholarships may be available.

• Oct. 16, the first Sprout Film Festival will take place at Port Angeles High School. A selection of films will be shown by, for and about people with disabilities. Further details are to be determined.

• Jan. 23, Feb. 20 and March 20, winter-quarter dances are planned at Olympic Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. The cost is $3 with a can of food for the Sequim Food Bank.

Developing community
Snap supports about 100 people each month in Clallam County with its services.

“We want everyone to know that people with developmental disabilities have a lot to offer to the community,” DeMatteo said “They are people who just want to live their lives.”

All Snap participants are eligible to work and mostly do so through job placement programs.

DeMatteo said participants are mostly at poverty level and cannot afford programming so costs are subsidized through donations.

Funds for Snap comes from several sources.

• 24 percent from United Way and Developmental Disabilities Clallam County
• 23 percent from grants and foundations
• 15 percent from donors
• 14 percent from fundraising and special events
• 24 percent from recreation/camp and class fees

Jody Moss, executive director of United Way of Clallam County, said her organization has given about $15,000 each year in 2008 and 2007.

“People with developmental disabilities bring their own qualities and treasures to the community,” Moss said.

“We believe by helping (Snap), we improve the quality of life in the county.”

Incoming director
DeMatteo succeeded Tresa Stuber, founding member and past executive director, on Aug. 15. She expects to be voted in as permanent director on Jan. 24.

Currently, DeMatteo works 25 hours a week for Snap and 20 hours with ARC of Kitsap and Jefferson Counties, helping with their parent-to-parent program and weekly social dances.

“No matter the organization, you have a lot of pieces to put together,” she said.

DeMatteo said volunteers are welcome to help with classes, events and as board members.
Programs cater to adults above 18, but some recreational events are open to middle and high school students.

For information on programs, events and volunteering, contact Jenell DeMatteo at 681-8642 or dematteo@olypen.com.
 
Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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