Center4SpecialNeeds is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation founded in 2011. It was established to provide resources, education, and offer a variety of supports for families who have children with special needs / developmental disabilities in Ventura County, California. Towards the end of 2016, we have updated our bylaws to include children ages 2-16 and young adults. Also, we expanded our outreach to not only cover Ventura County, but to cover Los Angeles County, Orange County, and Santa Barbara County. In addition, in the beginning of 2017, we will be providing direct services including social skills programs and social & educational opportunities for children and young adults.
Center4SpecialNeeds is a parent-founded organization comprised of a team of people who are all touched in some way with a child with special needs. Each person offers their own valuable insight, experience and abilities to the organization, thereby insuring that a well-rounded perspective is maintained on all special needs matters.
Our purpose is to build a foundation—eventually a multi-disciplinary center—that bridges the gap for those children who fall between the cracks; the children who have developmental disabilities and do not qualify for regional center services and are not covered by insurance. We will enable parents to provide their children with the necessary treatments and interventions they require and deserve to reach their full potential.
Center4SpecialNeeds' vision is to have families benefit from the information they provide, to help children progress, to help parents restore some balance in their lives and not feel they are in constant crisis mode. We want parents, who are feeling isolated and alone, to feel embraced and supported. We want to see children with special needs getting the treatments and interventions they need so that they can reach their full potential and truly succeed.
A Little Background, A Little Bit About The Founder, Gina Giambi Peters.
Why This Website, My Vision and My Goal. Written in 2009, Updated in 2017.
In the beginning, most people in this community, Ventura County, CA, knew me as Gina Peters, the “email lady”. I have a son who, as I write this in 2017, is 13 years old. Nathaniel Peters.
My journey began when he was born. Many challenges, many struggles, much grief, many tears, joy…. but much…. oh so much love……I was told that he was on the spectrum, the autism spectrum that is, when he a little over 1 yrs old. He was officially diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder just before he turned 3yrs. Through a lot of therapy; a lot of facilitation; a lot of hard work and a tremendous amount of support from my mother and father, he has progressed amazingly. We are gluten free, dairy free, dye free and nitrate free….It helps, its works for us! Our journey continues, life changes, issues change, we change along the way.
When he was diagnosed I went to my first support group. Because it didn't suit my needs, I decided to start my own support group; a non-judgmental, open and informational group about everything that was available to parents; not just the things I thought were important or worked, but everything that is out there so parents could make their own educated decisions.
What I found is that parents were the best resources; and that it’s a battle getting our special children what they need. Whether we are dealing with insurance companies, services from a regional center or assistance in their school districts; it’s all a battle! The one thing we as special needs parents can do to help each other to make this journey just a wee bit easier, is to share and supply information with one another. That’s what I have been trying to do. I have sent weekly, sometimes daily emails providing information on events in the community, resources, diet information, found foods that are gluten free that don’t taste like cardboard, providers, education, tools, websites, books, recreation information etc. I have posted many questions to my “email group” from parents when they have questions, or need direction in a certain area and many parents respond and come to their aid. I have utilized the emails for the purpose of trying to help connect parents and bridging the large gaps of information that we all need to make it that much easier and quicker to be able to fight the fights to advocate for our special children. The feedback was wonderful, as I know the emails have touched many of you and blessed a lot of you. But that wasn't enough; I then created opportunities as an outreach for special needs children and adults to experience extraordinary social events during the year for little to no cost to them at the Staples Center. In a wonderful luxury box! I was also nominated and won an award in 2009 for Champion of the Community, for the outreach, support and resources I have provided to the special needs community over the last few years. In 2010, I was awarded the 2010 Parent of the Year Awesome in Autism Award. In 2014, I recieved the Bravo Award for Community Advocate of the Year. In 2016, Center4SpecialNeeds was nominated as Non-Profit of the Year and I was nominated as Woman of the Year.
This website was created and continues to be updated to provide all the information in one location for you: www.center4specialneeds.org. To make it more organized and hopefully easier for you to access all that you need for your children. If it’s not there and needs to be, please contact me so I can add it. As new information is obtained send it to me so it can be shared and everyone can benefit from it.
My vision is to see people benefit from the information and children progressing and parents having some balance and relief in their lives; Parents not feeling so isolated and alone; Children and young adults getting what they need; to have access to what they need in order to become truly the best that they can be.
My Goal is to build a foundation; A center that bridges the gaps for those children who fall between the cracks. The children who have “issues” and “diagnosis’” that do not qualify for regional center services, that are not covered or minimally covered by insurance companies. This foundation will provide the therapies that those children deserve and desperately need to become all that they can be. Every child deserves that chance. And there are too many of our children that are out there that are not receiving that. This foundation will be funded through individuals and companies who recognize the need for those special children that deserve and desperately need services and are not receiving them. That is my goal.
If you would like to donate to this cause, please click the following link.
This website and foundation is dedicated to my son Nathaniel. He is the inspiration and the reason. When he gets old enough you can thank him!
Mommy loves you, Nathaniel!