To educate and empower individuals with developmental disabilities to realize their full potential.
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To educate and empower individuals with developmental disabilities to realize their full potential.
Learn More About Us
The Caster Family continues to change lives at St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center. Last week the Center received a generous gift in the amount of $10,000 from the Terence R. and Barbara C. Caster Rotary Donor Advised Fund. These funds will be used to support the $2000 per student funding gap at the Center that serves over 400 adult students with developmental disabilities.
Although SMSC, receives funding from the State of California that covers 75% of the annual budget, the Center relies on individual donations, corporate gifts, and grants from generous supporters like Terence and Barbara Caster and The Caster Family Foundation to cover the remaining 25% of the annual budget.
The Caster Family owns A-1 Self-Storage and has supported St. Madeleine’s for decades, beginning with their volunteerism when son, Brian Caster (President of A-1 Self Storage) and his siblings served at the Center during the summer while growing up.
A-1 Self Storage has 17 locations in the San Diego County area and more than 40 locations statewide. It is the self-storage division of the Caster Cos., a third-generation, family-owned company headquartered in Southern California since 1959. Caster Cos. develops and manages A-1 Self Storage, A-1 Car Storage, and other commercial properties in California. Its portfolio includes more than 4 million square feet of real estate.
On behalf of the 400+ adult students at St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center, we’d like to express our sincere gratitude to the Caster Family for their kind gift. We deeply appreciate their caring generosity and ongoing support.
Early last week, St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center welcomed Sam Safino and TJ Pluff from the Thomas B. Austin Knights of Columbus, Council 4958. Sam and TJ were the bearers of great news as they brought a donation in the amount of $5,000 from the Austin Knights Club.
The Knights of Columbus began thanks to the efforts of Father Michael J. McGivney, assistant pastor of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven and some parishioners, the Connecticut state legislature on March 29, 1882. Officially chartered the Knights of Columbus as a fraternal benefit society. The Order is still true to its founding principles of charity, unity, and fraternity.
The Knights was formed to render financial aid to members and their families. Mutual aid and assistance are offered to sick, disabled and needy members and their families. Social and intellectual fellowship is promoted among members and their families through educational, charitable, religious, social welfare, war relief, and public relief works.
The history of the Order shows how the foresight of Father McGivney (whose cause for sainthood is being investigated by the Vatican) brought about what has become the world’s foremost Catholic fraternal benefit society. The Order has helped families obtain economic security and stability through its life insurance, annuity and long-term care programs, and has contributed time and energy worldwide to service in communities.
The Knights of Columbus has grown from several members in one council to more than 14,000 councils to 1.8 million members throughout the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, Poland, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, the Bahamas, The Virgin Islands, Cuba, Guatemala, Guam, and Saipan.
St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center would like to express our sincere gratitude for the caring generosity and ongoing support of the Knights of Columbus, Council 4958.
As early as eight years old, Bryce Johnson loved to sing, dance, and perform.
Born with a developmental disability, this challenge did not stop Bryce in his pursuit to participate in the world of the performing arts. While attending Valhalla High School in El Cajon, Bryce joined Arms Wide Open with Rubio’s Dance Studio where he has been performing for four years. Learning about our dance and music programs from a friend, Bryce joined St. Madeleine’s and the St. Madeleine’s singers and dance troupe in 2013.
Dance and music are just two of the unique programs offered at St. Madeleine’s. These programs have been part of the SMSC curriculum for several years because they facilitate social interaction, emotional development, and self-expression. Additionally, music stimulates the senses and can help improve a person’s self-confidence, memory, and overall mental health. Music is even more beneficial when paired with dance as it implements a physical component that enhances movement and motor skills.
St. Madeleine’s has recently engaged in a new program for SMSC students involving dance, music and the performing arts. Partnering with Rubio’s Dance Studio, Arms Wide Open, and Christian Youth Theatre (CYT), St. Madeleine’s has established a new performing arts program offering our students a variety of new learning opportunities.
This new program is a series of 8-week musical theatre workshops where students attend classes twice a week, learning songs and dances to popular shows such as The Lion King, Grease, and The Wizard of Oz. Each 8-week course culminates in a professional performance by the students.
We are inviting YOU to support this important opportunity that benefits Bryce and other students at St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center.
Over 100 students are interested in the musical theatre program (25% of SMSC students). However, due to limited funding, only 40 students are currently enrolled.
Since this program is vital to the growth, development and overall well-being of our adult students with developmental disabilities, St. Madeleine’s wants to include all interested students in the program AND continue these workshops throughout the year.
YOUR support is essential to Bryce and the other students who benefit from the Performing Arts Program. Although no gift is too small, please consider making a gift of $150 or more to help us reach our goal of $24,000 for St. Madeleine’s new Performing Arts Program year round.
ð $150 supports 1 student for an 8-week session
ð $750 supports 5 students for an 8-week session
ð $1,500 supports 10 students for an 8-week session
ð $3,000 supports 20 students for an 8-week session
ð $6,000 supports 40 students for an 8-week session
ð $24,000 supports the Performing Arts Program for a full year!
Furthermore, as a special Thank YOU for making a generous gift to this valuable program, you will be invited as a special guest to SMSC students’ first performance of Grease – a heartwarming production you won’t want to miss!
Thank you in advance for supporting Bryce and other students at St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center!
With warm regards, Gratefully,
Debra Emerson, MBA Bryce Johnson
Chief Executive Officer SMSC Student and Future Star
Your tax-deductible gift will help write a happy ending for the performing artists at St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center. Please send in your gift today. To make a secure and easy donation online, click here or visit www.stmsc.org.
Follow the link below to view our students and staff in the garden featured for the KPBS television episode, “A Growing Passion; Growing Dreams and Memories”
“Gardens beautify, they feed, they serve as habitat for animals, and they do more. Some gardens become places that heal bodies and souls or inspire new beginnings. Such is the case with the locations we visit in this episode.” -KPBS
St. Madeleine’s portion starts at 17:45…
Honoring the past . . . funding the future . . .
For Anne Thunder, St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center is a home away from home. Having attended nearly all of her adult life and part of her childhood, the Center has been a kindred place for Anne and her mother, Mrs. Genevieve Thunder, who helped launch St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center.
The 11th of 14 children of Joseph and Genevieve Thunder, Anne was born with Down syndrome. Anne’s older sisters had attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart where Mrs. Thunder met Rev. Mother Mary Mardel. Because of this connection, Mrs. Thunder and other mothers of children with special needs joined Rev. Mother Mary Mardel in creating a new school to prepare special needs children called St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center School for Exceptional Children. The new school was opened by the Religious of the Sacred Heart in January 1966, where Anne was one of the first few students.
In 1975, a new federal law (the Lanterman Act) mandated that the public school system assume responsibility for training these young students. Anne was soon enrolled in Madison Elementary. After graduating from El Cajon Valley High School where she was crowned Prom Queen, Anne came back to the school now called – St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center – a Day Training Center for adults with developmental disabilities.
Today, Anne comes to the Center five days a week where she enjoys Sophie’s Gallery Art Program, gardening, and swimming.
Fast forward to 2013 — nearly 50 years after St. Madeleine’s opened.
Today, St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center is a day program for over 400 adult students. Now more than ever, families and care providers of adults with developmental disabilities are seeking a safe place where their loved ones can spend their days continuing to learn and express themselves through art, music, dance, culinary arts, gardening, aquatics and fitness, job training and supported employment and much more.
Stephanie Monis, age 22, has been at SMSC for two years.
At 3 years old, Stephanie showed early signs of delayed development. The Children’s Developmental Evaluation Center diagnosed Stephanie with Autism. Due to her parents’ continuous concern and involvement in Stephanie’s well-being, she was enrolled in a speech intensive therapy program to increase her verbal skills. Additionally, Steve and Cheri (Stephanie’s parents) enrolled Stephanie in the best programs throughout San Diego County.
After repeated, brief (albeit serendipitous) encounters with St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center, Cheri finally toured the campus as Stephanie approached enrollment age. After the tour, Cheri knew St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center was the place for Stephanie because it was the “perfect match” for what Stephanie needed, which was a safe environment that would allow her to experience and express herself beyond academic achievement.
Today, Stephanie enjoys Sophie’s Gallery Art Program, drama, swimming, sign language, yoga and most of all, singing in the choir. In addition to loving these classes, Stephanie gets to be herself. Cheri says, “Stephanie has become more self-confident and independent since she’s been at St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center. She has blossomed into a beautiful young adult with dreams and aspirations.”
Developmental Disabilities are not going away. We are asking YOU to honor the past and invest in the future TODAY with a gift of at least $100. However, no gift is too small. Every gift counts . . . every gift matters . . . in the lives of adults with developmental disabilities. Send your gift TODAY in the enclosed envelope or donate online by visiting www.stmsc.org.
Thank you in advance for supporting Anne, Stephanie and the 400+ students with developmental disabilities who attend St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center . . . and for the many students in years to come!
P.S. Today, our per-student funding gap is $2,000. Donations to our annual appeals are an important source of gap funding. Will you please consider a gift of $100 or more? Donations received by December 31, 2013 qualify for a tax deduction and will be listed in our 2013 list of supporters. Our Tax ID number is: 95-1957332.
P.P.S. Looking for a different gift option? Consider a planned gift such as a bequest or estate gift. Contact us today if you are considering a planned gift. Let us recognize your caring generosity as a member of our Legacy Circle. Contact Kellye Buchanan, Development Coordinator, TODAY at (619) 442-5129 ext. 332 for more information, or if you’ve already left SMSC in your will or estate.