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Beacons continues to lead the charge in employment and self-determination.

Carlsbad, CA - Beacons, Inc. - known for its innovative postsecondary approaches through vocational workshops, social recreational options, and person-centered planning - continues to lead the charge in some of California's most important areas of reform designed to empower individuals with developmental disabilities.

On October 20, 2022, Beacons Board president Lucile Lynch and Tyler Hershey, Director of PathFinder, will present before the State's Employment First Committee, a statutorily created body responsible for identifying and promoting strategies throughout the State of California that increase competitive integrated employment (CIE) of workers with developmental disabilities. The Beacons team will share insights on what has helped Beacons be successful in helping its trainees secure CIE. [For those who wish to attend the 10/20 Employment First presentation, please click here for the agenda, which includes the zoom link.]

For its last two vocational sessions, the Beacons PathFinder division has helped 100% of its trainees who wanted employment find CIE within a month of exiting its vocational workshops.The vast majority have kept their employment past the six-month mark, with most on their way to a 12-month mark.


Explorer, Beacons newest vocational division, launched in April 2022. Even though Explorer does not have a summer session, by the time it restarted in the fall, Director Bethany Britt, M.A. already has 41% of the Explorer trainees in CIE. More opportunities in the community and at Beacons are underway.


This past spring, Beacons was one of four entities awarded a Project Inspire grant through the San Diego Workforce Partnership to hire and train individuals with developmental disabilities as part of its own workforce to strengthen skills and employment planning. The goal is to help Project Inspire employees build skills and routines for use to possibly transition to CIE outside of Beacons at the end of the grant period.


Beacons has also earned a reputation as a high quality provider of person-centered planning by the San Diego Regional Center (SDRC) and local families. Plans created by the Beacons self-determination division are considered some of the more robust, reliable and detailed plans available. Beacons was one of the first organizations in the State of California to offer comprehensive person-centered planning as part of its vocational instructional tracks to help trainees and their families learn about local resources, enabling Beacons to make an easy transition to stand-alone self-determination planning. Beacons independent facilitators were some of the first contributors invited to the early SDRC focus group to help the SDRC rollout the self-determination option in San Diego County.

On November 4 and 5, 2022, Beacons independent facilitators Sunny Groseclose and Janet Schenker, who is also a co-founder of Beacons, will present at the SDRC two-day conference to share their experience and expertise on the person-centered planning process, an overview of the Beacons Lighthouse Planning process, and insights to help demystify the spending plan process. The Beacons team will also be part of a panel discussion on Self Determination planning and implementation, as well as be self-determination ambassadors during the conference to speak directly with families.


[To sign up for the conference, click here. Click here for the conference schedule.]


Beacons, Inc. (Beacons) is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt California nonprofit public benefit corporation founded in 2018 by four parents of family members with developmental disabilities to provide quality learning and social opportunities in north county San Diego. Funded by private donations, Beacons leased its current site and launched its programming, which includes vocational training, self-determination, Club Beacons and tailored day services, with more options in development (e.g. social recreational options, a creative arts program, and more options to serve individuals with a wider range of skills).

Club Beacons, the first Beacons option, was launched in November 2018 to reduce social isolation and provide fun themed opportunities to foster new social connections once people left their local school districts. During the pandemic's shelter-in-place order, volunteers ran virtual Club activities for almost two years to help people stay connected with movies, games and other activities. Volunteers from Beacons and the National Charity League Surf Cities also distributed "cheer-grams" to lift people's spirits.


In less than 4 years, Beacons has had to expand twice as most of its options are full with waitlists. Beacons is currently in search of a new space to expand a third time by 2025, and is hosting its annual fundraiser on November 12, 2022 to raise funds for a capital campaign.


Beacons has received recognition from local elected officials and others for its work, including:

  • Certificate of Recognition for staying open and fully operational during the pandemic (State Assembly member Tasha Boerner Horvath);

  • Certificate of Commendation for the PathFinder vocational program and Navigator, a new day program (San Diego County Board, Supervisor Jim Desmond);

  • Proclamation of April 30th as Beacons North County Day in recognition of Beacons employment placement success, service during the pandemic and other accomplishments (San Diego County Board of Supervisors, brought forward by Supervisors Lawson-Remer and Desmond);

  • Nonprofit of the Year finalist (Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, 2021, 2022); and

  • Certified Kindness Partner (Kids for Peace) for its commitment to giving back to the community and overall general practices.

Questions? Please find contact information below:

Main number: 760-448-6230

Explorer: Explorer@BeaconsNorthCounty.com

Pathfinder: PathFinder@BeaconsNorthCounty.com

Self-Determination: SD@BeaconsNorthCounty.com

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