TopJanuary 2012 
In This Issue
President's Message
Taking Charge in Action
Early Education
Community Outreach
Specialty School for Students with Autism
Almansor Academy
Transition & Adult Services
Social Responsibility
This and That
Employee Highlight
Employee Highlight

Board of Directors

Nancy J. Lavelle, Ph.D., President

Mary Louise Bunker, Vice President

John Vandercook, Secretary

Richard Dotts, Treasurer

Angelo Antoci

Joel Bennett

David A. Ford

Jeffrey Graham

Chirstine McLeod

Sara Menjivar

Helen Ortiz-Gilstrap

Richard Roche

Marjorie Steinberg

Brad Talt

Executive Team


Nancy J. Lavelle, Ph.D. 

  Founder and President


Jason D. Rubin, M.S.W., LCSW Managing Director


Raul Martinez, B.A.

Operations Manager


Nita Moore, M.P.A 

Director, Transition and Adult Services


Lori Andrews, M.Ed.

Education Director, Special Education Day School


Albert G. Hernandez, Ed.D Education Director, Special Education Day School


Edwin Shrader, M.A., LMFT Clinical Director, Clinical Services (Mental Health) 


Linda Davies, M.S.

Director, Early Childhood Education Services


Emily Baltazar

 Program Manager,  Community Outreach Services


Rachel Southard, M.B.A. Development Associate

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The Institute for the Redesign of Learning/Almansor Center is pleased to introduce to you its first electronic issue of theTaking Charge Newsletter. We hope you find this correspondence informative; but most of all, inspiring, just as the students and clients of our programs inspire us each and every day.


Have a story idea, question or comment? Please write 



 Dr. Nancy J. Lavelle, Founder and President


Whoever said time flies made the understatement of the century! As I look back over the last 37 years (yes, it's 37!), I find it hard to believe that Almansor started with only four students in space rented from a church in Alhambra and today we serve nearly 3,400 infants, children and adults annually from our four facilities in South Pasadena and our mental health clinic in the City of Commerce. In addition to the work going on in and around our own facilities, Almansor now provides early intervention in over 285 Head Start classrooms in Los Angeles County and mental health services in over 45 public school campuses throughout Los Angeles County.


This past autumn, we experienced our highest enrollment ever in our Special Education Day School, the Almansor Academy. And, we were pleased to welcome back our newest program for its third year, the Almansor Specialty School for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Importantly, Almansor's unique Taking Charge philosophy continues to form the basis of our approach with the core belief that each of us (student, client, parent and professional) is whole, able and complete and can take charge of their (our) own learning process.


I am often asked what keeps me motivated during these challenging economic times. And my answer is always simple: the children and adults we serve; and, YOU -- the dedicated professional and support staff; parents and caregivers; Almansor Board of Directors; and the many community supporters who make up the Almansor "Family". With your perseverance and steadfast support through thick and thin, Almansor continues to be able to offer services at the highest level of quality and reaches more and more children and adults with special needs. Thank you once again for making a difference in the lives of so many, mine included! 



Having trouble dealing with a particular behavior? Try asking a question.

By Laura House, MFT; Mental Health Services Program Director


Our assumptions about people and events determine the actions we take and are often based previous experiences in our lives (both positive and negative). When we examine our assumptions and ask others for clarification, we become better able to take correct action rather than getting caught in a reactive (and often negative and painful) cycle.



Next time you find yourself caught in a seemingly "no-win" situation with your child, try affecting a "curious" approach, even if you are certain of the child's intentions or meaning. Asking questions is a great way to start. Questions such as, "are you okay?" Or, "what can I do to help?"   These may seem like simple inquiries, but these modest words can open up a dialogue between you and the child.



Children's behaviors are often attempts to communicate feelings when they do not have the words. We as adults can "language" them through expression of their concerns.





Taking Charge: Empowering Students and Clients to Lead By Example

Story Shared by Jamie Manriquez, Driver

Written by Rachel Southard, Development Associate


The premise of the Institute for the Redesign of Learning/Almansor's Taking Charge curriculum and programming is to empower at-risk individuals to take charge of their own learning and become competent, caring members of society. In working with a population at the Almansor Academy Day School where 90% of students live at or below the poverty level and often lack strong role models at home, it is easy for the students to develop a negative attitude that is sometimes carried over to the campus.


This past November, Manuel* brought such an attitude and undesirable language onto the bus for his ride home. Coming from a family where gang membership is a way of life, such behavior was not uncommon outside the perimeter of the Almansor Academy. Instead of allowing this behavior to continue and/or effect his own mind set, another student on the bus reached out to his classmate by explaining that this attitude and behavior were going to get him nowhere and that being a "hard gangster" was not a way of life. He went on to share his own story and why he resisted joining the gang in his own neighborhood and encouraged Manuel to do the same.


In the end, this student urged Manuel to resist the temptations of his circumstance, to listen to his teachers, and to figure out what it is he really wanted to do with his life.


The Taking Charge curriculum encourages students and clients to seize opportunities for success and to lead by example at school, at home, and in their communities. This one student's initiative is a small example of how simple gestures can have a profound impact.  


*Name has been changed to preserve privacy.


Do you have a "Taking Charge" story to share? If so, please e-mail Rachel at


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A New Year, A New Direction

By Linda Davies, Early Education Director


Almansor's Early Education Department is an environment where everyone learns. In this setting parents and teachers share the joys of each child's successes through documentation, open communication, and collaboration.  In keeping with this spirit, this autumn teachers met with the new Early Education Director, Linda Davies, and expressed their hopes and dreams for 2012. Teachers hoped for more in-house workshops, higher enrollment, stronger communication, parent education, supplementary field trips, music programs, and science in the outside yards, just to name a few mentioned wishes.

Deshawn and his mother, Ebony, express their joy as they see a picture of Deshawn reading a book in his PreK classroom.


At the annual Back to School Night, the teachers posted their hopes and dreams on a large poster and placed another poster beside it for parents to write their desires for their children in the New Year. Here are some of their responses: keep up the great work, strengthen communication, more math and science projects, reading readiness, and parent education. This provided a strong outline for this coming year's program.


As a result of this brainstorming, the Parent Education series was born. Designed to offer trainings and an open forum for parents to communicate with the teachers, topics were selected based on parent preference. These topics include: Building a Healthy Brain; Helping Parents Understand Temperament; Social-Emotional Development in Infant, Toddlers and Preschool-age Children; Challenging Behaviors in Infants and Young Toddlers; Challenging Behaviors in Preschool-age Children; and Art & Science for Outdoor Exploration.


To learn more or view the complete training schedule please CLICK HERE  




Welcome Linda Davies!


The Institute for the Redesign of Learning/Almansor would like to introduce Linda Davies, our new Early Education Director! Ms. Davies joined the Almansor team this past fall and already her passion and dedication to the children we serve has inspired those around her to strive for success-students and teachers alike.


Linda came to IRL directly from the state of New Hampshire and brought with her over 20 years of experience in early childhood education leadership.  In addition to a Master's Degree in human development and numerous awards in child care leadership garnered over the years, Linda offers a personal style which is characterized by energy, creativity, professionalism, and warmth. And, while she is a recent transplant, this is not her first experience in leading California early education centers -- having previously been selected to open and operate the childcare center at Universal Studios where she stayed for a period of five years.


Welcome Linda!




Wish List:


Digital Camera for each classroom (five total)

Indigenous plants for the garden

Monetary donation to purchase colored ink for the printer




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Transforming for Enhanced Service

By Emily Baltazar, Community Outreach Services Director


Change can be difficult no matter the circumstance; however, in the case of Almansor's Community Outreach Services department, it has proven to be quite positive! With over 280 Head Start sites within the Los Angeles Unified School District, Almansor's team of providers commute as far as South Bay, San Pedro, Huntington Park, Sun Valley, South Central LA, and North Hollywood to deliver services. With a relatively small team of only 20 providers, serving roughly 750 clients, it became imperative to divide the service areas into three, more manageable, regions.


In order to facilitate the reorganization, this past autumn three service providers were promoted to Lead Provider positions. Under this new structure, each Lead Provider serves as a mentor to a team of up to five Service Providers within their designated region. Since the department's emphasis has always been to encourage a "team" approach, the implementation of the Lead Provider position delivers the understanding and mentorship necessary to promote team spirit. Each Lead Provider holds individual team meetings twice a month to collaborate as a team, sharing new ideas and upcoming projects.


In addition to their own team meetings, each Lead Provider meets with their team members on an individual basis. Collaboration meetings are held at the Head Start sites of the providers' choosing to allow the Lead Provider an opportunity to observe and provide feedback. Only a few short months into this new service structure, it has proven to be an efficient approach to providing staff support, facilitating team work, and allowing for open communication.


The decision to promote internally proved to be great idea. The three Lead Providers come with years of experience, compassion, understanding, and most importantly, an eagerness to learn.


The Community Outreach Department is proud to introduce our Lead Providers: Hazel Medrano, Margarita Chong and Lorena Ramirez




Wish List:


Fat crayon sets

Colored construction paper

Glue Sticks

Scissors with rounded tips

Story books for 3-5 year olds

Learning toys (food play, toy blocks, toy cars, dolls, etc.)

Achievement stickers

CD player with microphone for language exercises

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Almansor's Jeremy Bernstein Receives "Entrepreneur 'Judges' Pick' Award" at the 2011 International Naturally Autistic® People Award 

By Rachel Southard, MBA; Development Associate



As more is learned about the true talents, abilities and aspirations of individuals living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), the students of Almansor's Autism program never cease to amaze their teachers, parents and community with their accomplishments.  Twelve year old Jeremy Bernstein is a prime example of how hard work and dedication can open doors to success.


Jeremy is not camera shy on CNN Headline News!

With a contagious smile, Jeremy was honored as "Entrepreneur 'Judges' Pick' Award" at the 2011 International Naturally Autistic® People Award ceremony held in Porter Ranch, CA this past September.  This international celebration received nominations from eight countries around the world and Jeremy was one of six U.S. recipients selected to receive one of the eleven awards given for various accomplishments by individuals living with ASD.  With an entrepreneurial mindset coupled with a creative side, Jeremy was selected to receive the award for starting and managing his own business focused on selling hand-made jewelry.


After purchasing a rock polishing kit, Jeremy learned to polish and use the stones, along with beads, buttons and various other items to make necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings.  His eye for design and business management skills have opened the door for sales at Grassroots Market, Whole Foods Market, and the Chalk Art Festival in Azusa.  He has learned how to construct patterned bead work, but in the end, each piece is inspired by his imagination. 


At the awards ceremony he wore one of his own creations-a necklace made of buttons, pony beads, and a CD. 


Outside of his school work at the Almansor Academy and running his own business, Jeremy's business mind set has led him to start his own dog walking venture as well.  Jeremy has passion for connecting with people and is a great advocate for himself and others living with ASD.   


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Almansor Transition Class Celebrates Holidays While Preparing to Launch a New Program

By Lori Andrews, Education Director


At Almansor Academy the Transition Class loves to get their hands dirty--dirty cooking that is!  As a class, the teachers and students conducted several fundraisers this past year by learning how to make grilled cheese sandwiches and then selling the sandwiches to other students and faculty across the campus.  Proving to be a popular revenue source, the students in Room 4 have enjoyed learning how to independently make, market, and enjoy their own food while generating funds to ensure a sustainable program.


In November and December the Transition curriculum focused on holiday traditions.  In keeping with the holiday spirit, teacher associate Joe Garcia brought in the supplies to help students learn about a traditional holiday food in many Hispanic communities, Tamales.


The students were educated in detail about the ingredients and how they are used in this traditional dish. For example, they learned about masa, where it comes from, how the corn husks are used to wrap the Tamales, and how the meat and sauces are used.  Students then learned how to make the individual components and combine them to create their own tamales.  Every student participated in the learning, making, cooking, and the best part, eating of the Tamales!  Room 4's yield was then shared with and enjoyed by others on campus. 


Hector is using the skills he learned in class to make traditional tamales to sell on campus. 

One enterprising student asked if she could take home the remainder of the masa and the corn husks which she then used to make a traditional curried chicken recipe from her family's Asian roots fused with a Hispanic twist.  She even brought some of her creation to class to share.  Her creativity and culinary skills were best described by the class as "delicious."





A Change is in the Works for the High School Community: an Enhanced Vocational Program!


Beginning February 2, Almansor Academy students from rooms 4, 5 and 17 will have the opportunity to be enrolled in two elective periods each day with training and curriculum from their choice of five vocational programs:  Culinary Arts, Landscaping & Gardening, Retail Management, Micro-Business, and Pre-Vocational Skills.  Throughout the semester, students will be learning vocational-related vocabulary and skills, safety in each of their program areas, and how these skills translate into future career opportunities. 


To help launch the new program, teachers are expanding

their focus beyond "educator" to include "job coach;" the goal being that every student become an active life learner.  As the program assists students and parents in planning for their futures, this enhanced program will also assist every student in gaining solid skills to obtain and hold future jobs.


A special thank you to AT&T for their contribution to the enhanced Vocational Program!




Congratulations to Almansor's Soccer Team!


The Almansor Academy's soccer team captured it's third consecutive championship title at the A.M.A.S.E. Leauge's Annual Tournament. 


Next up the basketball team will be taking the court for its 2012 season.  Want to attend a game and support the Almansor Eagles?  Here's the schedule!



Wish List:


Gardening tools (gloves, small hand tools, etc.)

Kitchen utensils, measuring cups, mixing bowls, small appliances, etc.

Laundry baskets, soap, dryer sheets, etc.

Folding tables 6 or 8 foot length

DVD players

Art supplies (brushes, beads, acrylic paint, watercolor paint, pastels, chalk, etc.)

Frames for artwork

Sporting equipment (softballs, softball gloves, soccer balls, gym balls, bym mats, weights, jump ropes, etc.)

Music stands

Musical instruments (guitars, bass, drum equipment)




The AKTION Club of Almansor: Giving Back to the Community

By George Gonzales, TAS Interim Supervisor


The AKTION Club of Almansor-a sponsored program of Kiwanis International for adults with developmental disabilities--was inspired by the community's dedication, hard work, and commitment to persons with disabilities. In turn, TAS clients are taught to embrace the importance of not only receiving services and assistance, but giving back to the community in which they reside.


Since its inception in October of 2010, the club's administrative staff has worked side by side with club members/clients and in conjunction with its community partner, the South Pasadena Kiwanis Club, to fulfill its mission of getting involved in the community and helping others who are in need. Over the past year, Almansor's AKTION Club has volunteered at the South Pasadena Kiwanis/Fireman's Association Spaghetti Dinner, a Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast, South Pasadena's Festival of Balloons, and took an active role in remodeling Pico Park in Pico Rivera, a site for numerous Special Olympic sporting events. "The South Pasadena Kiwanis Club is thrilled to work with Almansor's clients as our sponsored AKTION Club group," said John Vandercook, South Pasadena Kiwanis Club Past President. "The participants are energetic, positive and eager to help--their enthusiasm truly is infectious!"    


In addition to helping at these events , the group has raised funds by way of bake and sundae sales in order to support itself and take an active role in improving TAS' lunch menu. The goal of this initiative is to include healthier choices for clients and staff alike. The AKTION club has financially assisted the TAS Drama Club in acquiring costumes for a presentation to be held in early 2012 (dates to be announced later).


Currently, the AKTION Club is completing volunteer work with the "Holy Family Giving Band" in South Pasadena twice weekly. These volunteer hours and projects go beyond helping others, and in fact, benefit AKTION Club members themselves by providing personal growth and learning opportunities. Through all of these activities, members and staff have grown in many special ways of significance and participants and staff have acted on their heartfelt desire to give back to the community.




Almansor's Supported Employment Program Partners with Community Employers

By Mirian Olmedo, TAS Employment Services Case Manager


In line with the organization's mission to empower at-risk individuals to take charge of their own learning to become contributing members to the communities in which they live, IRL/Almansor's Transition and Adult Services (TAS) program has been providing employment and training to adults with disabilities for over twenty years.   


The program does so by identifying a client's skills, abilities, and interests, and from there, Almansor's Job Developer and Case Manager work to identify employment opportunities that are a good match for both parties. The process of identifying a mutually beneficial employment "match" is rather straight-forward, but can have a profound impact for both the client/employee and his/her employer.


TAS Employment Service Placements in Action:


Meet Jennifer: With the assistance of Almansor's Supported Employment Program (SEP) staff, Jennifer's case was opened with funding by California's State Department of Rehabilitation in October 2009. After developing skills in the areas of independent living, cooking, community awareness, and public transportation, she was ready to learn more advanced skills such as interviewing and customer service. With a natural passion for helping others, in February 2011, Jennifer interviewed with Vons Corporation where she was offered a courtesy clerk position.


Nearly a year after starting with Vons, Jennifer states, "I enjoy assisting customers; I answer phone calls and even provide training to new courtesy clerks." She adds, "My goal is to go to college and become more confident in using the cash register so I can become a cashier in the future."


Meet Cinthia: She is trilingual in English, Spanish and American Sign Language, and qualified for services from TAS's SEP program due to her hearing impairment. Supported by SEP staff in the areas of job placement, preparation and interview skills, Cinthia was then connected with Almansor's community partner, Union Bank in July 2011. Securing a full time position, she landed in Union Bank's Research Department as a Photo Retrieval Specialist. Due to her hard work and focus, Cinthia progressed into an office administration position.


Cinthia expressed her gratitude by saying, "it was nice knowing I wasn't alone in my aspiration to secure full time employment in an organization that saw beyond my disability. Thanks to Almansor's Job Developer, I was connected with Union Bank where I truly enjoy my job and those I work with." Remaining committed to her position and to Union Bank, Cinthia hopes to develop her leadership skills and grow within the company.


These are just two examples of how TAS's Supported Employment Program can have a profound impact on its clients; however, the effect is also felt by employers. A major benefit to employers is receiving no cost placement assistance and new employee training to ease the transition period, allowing the employer to focus their energies on other aspects of their business. Additionally, and most important of all, they also receive a dedicated and inspiring employee to who is eager to learn and advance.  


Are you currently looking to fill a job with a reliable, and ready-to-work employee? To receive further information on how Almansor's SEP and training program can help you; please contact Nita Moore or Mirian Olmedo at 323-341-5632.      




Wish List:


New refrigerator(s)


Stationary exercise bikes

Commercial vacuums

New desks/book cases

Kitchen Cabinets



Working for Today and Tomorrow's Generations

By Raul Martinez, Operations Manager


In 2009 IRL's Board of Directors approved a Sustainability Plan designed to reduce the agency's carbon footprint. A carbon footprint is a measure of the impact our daily activities have on the environment, and in particular, its bearing on climate change. It relates to the amount of greenhouse gases produced in our day-to-day activities through burning fossil fuels for electricity, heating, and transportation of people and products.   


By now most are familiar with the term "going green."   There are five key areas that make up IRL's Sustainability Plan, or in simpler terms, our efforts towards "going green." These are: reducing pollution, conserving resources, conserving energy, reducing consumption/waste, and protecting the earth's ecological balance.


IRL/Almansor is happy to report that it has made notable strides towards becoming a more environmentally responsible agency.  Since 2009, for example, it has transitioned to Certified Green Cleaning chemicals, reduced paper consumption by nearly 12%, decreased energy usage by 18%, water consumption by nearly 3%, and improved its recycling efforts throughout all of IRL's facilities. While these achievements are certainly worth mentioning, the IRL staff and leadership understands that it still has plenty of work ahead in order to decrease its carbon footprint and ensure today's needs are met without compromise to future generations.


On a similar front, IRL's Transportation Department hopes to add vans and buses in the near future that will run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).  CNG is a fossil fuel substitute for gas that is a more environmentally clean energy source.   As with any new technology or advancement, there are some challenges, one being that CNG filling stations are sparse.  Currently there is only one CNG filling station in our area located in Pasadena.  Locally, the City of South Pasadena is in the process of establishing a CNG filling station as part of grant through the South Coast Air Quality Management District.  It is still undetermined however, whether or not the City of South Pasadena will allow for Almansor's use of its CNG filling station when built.  Additionally, CNG vehicles are still not available in the type and size of vehicle currently used by Almansor.  We will remain in tune with this possibility and explore it further as part of our on-going efforts towards "going green."



Wish List:


42" LCD screen for training

Cart to transport screen
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Support Needed for Reading is Fundamental Book Distribution


With 90% of Almansor Academy students living at or below the poverty level, and an average of only one book is available for every 300 kids living at this low socioeconomic level*, IRL/Almansor is a proud recipient of Reading is Fundamental (RIF) book distributions each year.

A student from Almansor's Autism Day School looks at the books before deciding on one to call her own.

This past October, the first of three annual book distributions took place. At this Halloween themed event, students of the Almansor Academy Autism and Day Schools were able to look through a variety of books and select one to bring home as their very own. "My students always look forward to the RIF distributions," said Carmen Silva, Lead Teacher in Room 2. "Not only does reading contribute to Almansor's goal of educating and empowering our students, the books provided are something brand new to a group of students, many of which rarely receive new things they can call their very own."


Children of Almansor's Early Childhood Education program also received books and the teachers said the kids were "delighted!"


With the second distribution slated for February, Almansor staff is again preparing for the festivities. However, the third distribution may be in jeopardy. Funding for the RIF program has been cut and beneficiary schools have been asked to raise $2 per book in order to participate in the final circulation of the year.


Every dollar helps, so if you'd like to donate, please contact Rachel at or by calling 213-607-4342.    



*Statistic retrieved from ; January 9, 2012.




A Holiday Recap

By Rachel Southard, MBA; Development Associate


The holidays are a busy time of year for everyone and this holds true for the departments of the Institute for the Redesign of Learning/Almansor Center.


Here's a quick recap of all the happenings at IRL!


November 23:
Almansor Academy teachers, staff and volunteers prepared a Thanksgiving feast for 350 students and staff at the Autism and Day Schools while the Transition & Adult Services program prepared and served lunch for 75 clients and staff.

Volunteers and staff take a break to pose for a picture during the Thangsgiving feast preparations.


A special thanks to our in kind donors for making the luncheon a success: U.S. Growers and Cold Storage, Huxtable's Kitchen, Simply Elegant Catering, National Charity League, Bristol Farms, Costco, Driftwood Dairy, Carrows Restaurants, Albertsons, Food 4 Less, Pavillions, and Ralph's.


December 6: The staff decided to celebrate the successes of 2011 at its annual holiday party held at Mijares Mexican Restaurant. At the event, service awards were given to those completing notable terms of service including, 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 years!


Congratulations and thank you to: Margarita Camacho (25 years), Betty Lowell (25 years), Maria Belcastro (20 years), Brad Kahn (15 years), Karen Guerrero (15 years), Sandra Demonteverde (15 years), Mark Acuna (10 years), Kelly Coleman (10 years), Debra Castro (10 years), Marilyn De La Torre (10 years), Janine Duran (10 years), Claudia Estrada (10 years), Laura Martinez (10 years), Gloria Santos (10 years) and Marisol Silva (10 years).


December 13: IRL/Almansor hosted a community holiday celebration in partnership with the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce. Hosted at the BurkeTriolo Studio, community leaders from the national, state and local levels joined South Pas community members in kicking off the merriment of the season.


A heartfelt thanks to Jeff Burke and Lorriane Triolo for opening their studio for the event. Additionally, thank you to the staff of Radhika for their professionalism and quality in catering the event.


December 16: Students, faculty and parents of the Almansor Academy and Early Education program poured into Almansor's gymnasium for a special holiday program. Kicked off by carols sung by students of the Early Education program, the show was continued with the musical stylings of the Autism School and was closed out by the Almansor Band.


Almansor Band members include: Al Hernandez (Guitar and Vocals), Darrell Sartin (Guitar and Vocals), Kevin Kuo (Guitar and Bass), Carmen Silva (Guitar), Manny Castro (Drums), James Hartman (Drums), and Joe Garcia (Flute)


Thank you to Dilbeck Realty employees and clients for your generosity in donating toys to Almansor's Early Education program.  


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Rudy Siordia,Transportation Coordinator 

Rudy has done an exceptional job running our transportation program, maintaining compliance with strict CHP, Caltrans, and DOT requirements.   The safety of the students and clients we serve is at the forefront of his daily responsibilities in addition to keeping his staff well trained.   Rudy's commitment to his job responsibilities and IRL has played an integral role in receiving a satisfactory safety rating from the CHP every year for the past 10 years.  Way to go Rudy!


Nominated by Raul Martinez, Operations Manager


Mirian Olmedo, Employment Services Case Manager for Transition & Adult Services

Mirian has a great work ethic and goes "above and beyond" quite regularly by working weekends and many odd hours. She does not hesitate to come in at 1 a.m. to make sure clients get to their jobs when public transportation is not available and/or a client's family is unable to help. Mirian has worked with IRL for 7 years and has successfully grown the Supported Employment Program (SEP) from 6 to 26 working adults and increased the program's revenue by over 50% over the last couple of years. 


Nominated by Nita Davis, Director for Transition & Adult Services


Jacqueline Padilla, Pre-School Kindergarten Itinerant Teacher (PKIT) Provider 

Jacqueline is one of our newest PKIT Providers, joining the team this past year. Her professional, warm, and welcoming personality has made her a pleasure to work with in all aspects of the job. Jacqueline understands what is expected of her and has often gone "above and beyond" to reach her goals and has succeeded in her efforts to be a model employee, something her work ethic reflects. We expect to see continual achievements from her in the future.


Nominated by Hazel Medrano, Lead PKIT Provider


In each issue of Taking Charge we will honor employees throughout the organization who have gone "above and beyond," secured a new credential, taken initiative to ensure the success of clients/students, and/or have inspired those around them. To nominate someone you feel is deserving, please send their name and a sentence or two about their accomplishments/actions to Rachel at Nominations are accepted at any time.

To learn more visit

Story ideas or employee highlight nominations?  Please e-mail 

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