BEACONS, Inc. is a California 501(c)(3) nonprofit public benefit corporation founded in 2018 to provide vocational, recreational, and social activities as well as services to adults with developmental disabilities and their support teams to create pathways and outcomes to improve access to employment, the community and social connections. Effective August 19, 2019, Beacons, Inc. became a state funded vendor of the San Diego Regional Center (vendor # PY1700).
Beacons is the brainchild of parents who through their participation on a variety of special ed related organizations, task forces, boards and groups, recognized that more postsecondary options were needed in North County San Diego to serve individuals with developmental disabilities. Too many individuals with developmental disabilities did not have jobs or sufficient postsecondary educational options leaving many isolated and at home. Beacons opened its doors in November 2018 to provide meaningful options created by those who "live" the journey and recognize the need for better outcomes for their loved ones. (Back to top)
Our mission is simple: To empower adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to achieve their vision of success, with purpose and joy to the best of their ability. Through our on-site (and off-site) structured programs, workshops, services and activities based on these individuals' preferences and needs, Beacons, Inc. strives to equip individuals with developmental disabilities (as well as their families, and care teams) with knowledge, tools, and support to help them succeed!
To bridge gaps to the workforce, Beacons develops partnerships with local businesses and government entities to increase options for paid internships, competitive integrated employment (CIE), and volunteer opportunities. Our clients will be out and about in the community working, training, volunteering, interacting and exploring.
Join us as we work around their needs and interests, instead of trying to make these individuals fit into options others select for them. (Back to top)
We opened our doors in November 2018 to create a family guided, outcome driven, and person-driven postsecondary option in North County San Diego. In less than a year, we launched a bi-monthly social club (Club Beacons), vocational training workshops (our Pathfinder Program), a Leadership Council to provide a forum for input and guidance from those we serve, marketplace fundraisers to teach individuals how to sell and manage money, and more! Generous grants from NFAR and Qualcomm, and vendor recognition from the SDRC, helped us complete our 2019 development phases in half a year. Support from the Carlsbad Cultural Arts Committee helped us offer opportunities for fine arts development. In August 2019.
Our vision is to work with adults with disabilities so that they can better engage in their community, access our local workforce, develop health and fitness routines, explore and identify housing needs and options, and self-advocate so that they can meet their life goals.
OUR 2020 BOARD & CHAIRS
Please note that Board members, Committee Chairs and Advisory Council members serve Beacons, Inc. on an entirely volunteer basis, and receive no payment of any kind for their efforts and contributions. All donations go to programming and instructional staff.
President & Treasurer/Chair: Fundraising & Grants (Co-Founder)
Mary Backer has a B.A. in American Studies from Notre Dame and a Masters in Library Sciences. Mary worked in publishing before leaving the 9-5 world to care for her three daughters. For the last several years, she has dedicated her energies to supporting her daughters' schools and athletic pursuits. She served as a Girl Scout leader for all three girls and on the GS Encinitas Service Unit Team for all three daughters. Mary's community contributions have also included serving on the Committee for the local Young Life Capernaum and Young Life fundraising committee for 4 years. Mary is currently an active member with the NCL, Inc. Surf Cities Chapter and serves on their Board of Directors as VP of Standards and Hours. She also served on the Special Education Forum for the San Dieguito Union High School District and actively fundraises to find a cure for Rett Sydrome through the Rett Syndrome Research Trust. Mary's other contributions to Beacons, Inc. have included being the nonprofit's Vice President (2019), Treasurer and Corporate Secretary (2018). San Diego Voyager Article (back to top)
Vice President/Chair: Pathfinder Division, Self-Determination and Technology (Co-Founder)
A UCLA alumni, Lucile brings to Beacons her business experience as a co-founder of an educational company that produced and distributed educational tools throughout North America and Asia. Products Lynch guided from concept to market earned top honors from KidsFirst! Coalition for Quality Media, CreativeChild Magazine, Dr. Toy, The ToyMan®, School Library Journal, Booklist and other nationally recognized entities. Lynch has appeared on NBC San Diego, the Balancing Act (airing on the Lifetime Channel), and has been featured in other media for her work (SD Voyager 2020). She also wrote for Examiner.com on special education issues until its change in ownership in 2016 to Axys. Lucile also has over 15 years experience advocating for persons with developmental disabilities as an education advocate and as an active participant on local and regional committees and boards dedicated to supporting persons with disabilities and other barriers, including the CAC executive board for the North Coastal Consortium for Special Education. She has been awarded a congressional Order of Merit for her work in addition to two awards for "excellence in special education" by a regional 14-district special education consortium. Prior to the arrival of her twin boys, both of whom have disabilities, Lucile served as a prosecutor, chief of staff for a state Supreme Court Justice, and as a litigation attorney for the firm of Reed Smith. She also served as an account executive for an entertainment public relations and marketing firm, where she handled talent, film releases and sports-related nonprofits. Lucile actively supports legislators by devising language for bills that empower those with developmental disabilities. Lucile's other contributions have included being the nonprofit's President (2019), and Treasurer (2018). She currrently supports Beacons as a presenter for parent training workshops, a facilitator for person-centered planning sessions and the Beacons Leadership Council, curriculum development, grants and general program development. She recently presented as part of the "Festival of Learning" series hosted by the State Council on Developmental Disabilities (August 2020). (back to top)
Vice President/Chair: Club Beacons & Site Safety
Laura Makings is a licensed Cosmetologist and mom to two young men. Laura brings to Beacons, Inc. her extensive experience working with persons with disabilities and real world business experience to help guide workforce discussions and programming input to Beacons, Inc. Laura worked for many years in local salons, negotiating rental space, managing client schedules, and balancing customer needs and will contribute valuable business insights to help budding entrepreneurs and entry-level job applicants prepare for successful job exploration into the community. After becoming a mom, she dedicated her efforts to supporting the local public school districts as a classroom aide, art instructor (Arts Attack), den leader for Cub Scouts, and committee member for the Boys Scouts. She was also active on the PTSA at Diegueno Middle School and the Foundation at La Costa Canyon High School. Laura now advocates on behalf of adult students with disabilities at the community college level and hopes to help Beacons, Inc. illuminate a fresh path.
Laura led the efforts at Beacons to develop social activities to reduce isolation and improve social facilitation. Under her leadership and with her creativity and the help of our wonderful volunteers, Club Beacons events are typically full with waitlists only. Her prior contributions to Beacons have also included serving as Beacons, Inc.'s Corporate Secretary (2019) and as a Board member-at large (2018). (back to top)
Vice President/Chair: Facility Operations and Tailored Day Division (Co-Founder)
Janet has a Master's in Public Administration from USC and a Master's in Non-Profit Management and Communal Service from Hebrew Union College. She has dedicated her life to being an advocate for others. From her younger years to her career choices, to her personal family story of having children with special needs, Janet has been a fighter for what is right and an organizer who makes things happen. Her first career was a community organizer, an advocate for civil rights, religious liberty, public education and women's rights, and an experienced project director for various organizations. Her second career has been as a property manager and owner of a residential senior property. Janet has been an unwavering advocate for her younger son with special needs as well as for her older son. In Orange County, she was active as the chair for the Community Advisory Committee for the regional special education consortium for Saddleback Valley Unified School District, and a member of the Brit Tikvah support group for families with special needs in her synagogue. She is a founding member of the Special Education Parent Forum with the San Dieguito Union High School District. Janet's past contributions to Beacons, Inc. have included serving as President (2018), Treasurer (2019) and as a Board member at-large. She currently leads the development of the nonprofit's Tailored Day program, which supports individuals in the areas of employment, education, community integration, advocacy and person-driven planning. She also serves as a presenter for parent training workshops and a facilitator for person-driven planning sessions. (back to top)
Corporate Secretary/Chair: External Communications
Karen grew up on a farm in Ohio. This lifestyle helped her develop a strong work ethic while tending to the needs of many animals. She was an active member of Girl Scouts and 4-H clubs in her hometown. Karen brought this experience to her daughter’s Brownie and Girl Scout troops when they moved to San Diego. She and her husband owned a Mobile Disc Jockey Company serving the Wedding and Corporate sectors with event planning, emcee and music entertainment. They managed 15 employees and every aspect of the business for 10 years.
When their daughter was born in 2000, they sold the DJ business and pursued different careers. Her husband obtained his teaching credential and Karen obtained a BFA in Interior Design from Design Institute of San Diego. Karen now focuses most of her design work on universal and accessibility design to ensure access to any built environment for people with disabilities. After her daughter was diagnosed with autism, she vowed to work diligently to create a supportive and positive environment of success for her daughter as well as other families in the same situation. She has served as a CAC rep for the Del Mar Union School District and is currently a CAC rep for San Dieguito Union High School District (SDUHSD). Karen was proud to serve on the SDUHSD Special Education Task Force in 2018. Karen's contributions to Beacons, Inc. have also included serving on the Board in 2019 and 2020. She provides her creative expertise to help Beacons with its graphic arts needs, corporate organization and external outreach. She balances her life with hiking, pilates,yoga and meditation. Karen's contributions include creation of event flyers, internal corporate document management, and external outreach.
Board Member, Director of Human Resources, and Chair: Community Partnerships
Stacey has a B.S. in finance from SDSU and over 25 years in mortgage banking. She has worked all aspects of real estate loans, including sales and originating, and managed three Wells Fargo Branches in southern Utah and Nevada. She has served as a volunteer for a wide variety of organizations including Labs and More, REINS, Love on a Leash, Paw'sitive teams and other organizations. She has also volunteered to work with medically fragile children, support students in special education and ESL classes, and senior living homes.
Stacey currently supports the nonprofit with the development of business partnerships and workforce opportunities to support the person-driven plans created during the Beacons vocational workshops, Tailored Day and Self-Determination initial plans. She also serves as the Human Resources Chair for Beacons.
Stacey is the proud mother/step mother to three wonderful adult daughters. She loves to travel, camp, and spend time with friends and family. She is also a novice quilter, photographer, scrapbooker, and line dancer! She joined Beacons, Inc. in 2020 to develop partnerships with our local community businesses to help build employment pathways for our Pathfinder and Tailored Day trainees. (back to top)