The Adult Skills Center partnered with Sanctuary Animal Assisted Therapy and hosted a free music festival in Canyon Country on Saturday to bring awareness to its mission: empowering individuals with intellectual and developmental health needs.
“We don’t have a dollar goal. It’s really to spread the word … and get people to show support,” said TASC Executive Director Dennis Rutnam.
TASC was founded in 1987 and serves over 300 individuals with developmental and intellectual needs, providing various programs that provide more opportunities for their independence.
“We provide special therapeutic services, we have (board certified behavior analysts), (licensed marriage and family therapists), on-staff nurses, licensed psychiatric techs, and we also have a community-based day service where individuals go out into the community and participate in different activities,” said Rutnam.
TASC’s biggest mission is to show the world that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities can live normal lives and maintain employment if given the opportunity.
“The new philosophy is that it doesn’t matter how disabled you are. There is a job out there for you. We’re trying to find jobs that our individuals could do whether it’s a few hours, once in a while, or it’s a full-time job,” said Rutnam.
TASC has partnered with Dave n’ Busters, Amazon Fresh, and various other businesses that are willing to employ individuals with disabilities so they can receive help in ways they need to ensure they perform at the best of their ability.
They have also created micro businesses such as clothing and pet supplies stores to provide full-time employment to their program recipients.
“It’s an amazing message … there’s always ways to navigate that because what people want to do is work. They want to do something and these little jobs that we’re creating really help,” Rutnam said.
TASC and Sanctuary Animal Assisted Therapy, both nonprofit organizations, co-hosted this year’s fall music festival.
They have been working closely since 2018 to continue providing TASC recipients more opportunities and enrichment programs.
“Five years ago, we sat together … and decided to do this and we bought this property and remodeled it and made it accessible. It’s one of the few farms that’s accessible, which is pretty a big deal,” TASC Deputy Executive Director Alona Yorkshire said. She also founded and owns Sanctuary Animal Assisted Therapy.
Sanctuary Animal Assisted Therapy is an animal rescue that helps neglected and abused animals have a second chance at life, creates jobs for individuals with disabilities, and serves as a therapy service organization.
“I was a foster mom and I had special needs children and we decided that we wanted to have a very alternative therapeutic setting, to not only help the kids but also a lot of our clients who are receiving mental health service,” she said.
Hidden in the hills of Canyon Country, the music festival allowed guests to spend time with rescued farm animals, in addition to a train trolley for children to ride, live music, pumpkin painting and carnival games.