Vista Life Innovations is a fully accredited, nationally recognized, post-secondary program for adults with neurological disabilities. Founded in 1989 as an alternative to a traditional college education, Vista has grown into a dynamic and innovative program serving over200 individuals. Vista student/members have an array of neurological disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorders, pervasive developmental delay, acquired brain injury, seizure disorders, attention deficit disorder, and learning disabilities.
Vista offers a community-based training program designed for individuals who would like to succeed at work and independent living, and who are seeking a nontraditional program to address their needs. Vista helps students transition to adulthood and to learn the social and vocational skills necessary to live as independently as possible.
Vista’s philosophy views each individual holistically and takes each student’s success seriously. Each is given the opportunity to do his or her best through a comprehensive program tailored to meet individual needs. Life skills instruction, vocational training, program counseling, and many levels of support services are offered.
Select accomplishments from the past year include the following items:
1. In the past fiscal year, Vista Life Innovations provided 46,265 hours of counseling/case management to our students and members.
2. In the past fiscal year, Vista Life Innovations provided 63,496 hours of life skills instruction to our students and members.
3. In the past fiscal year, Vista Life Skills Innovations provided 22,917 of job coaching to our students and members.
4. In the past fiscal year, Vista Life Innovations provided 39,419 hours of student support counseling and overnight response to our students and members.
Select goals for the current year include:
1. Expand arts programming for Vista's Create program, (an arts program developed and run by Vista that follows the Vista philosophy, is inclusive and noncompetitive in nature)
2. Optimize the use of public transportation for all Vista student/members through collaboration with local transportation organizations while concurrently building the capacity of Vista provided transportation services allowing for the independence of our student/members.
1. Capital in support of improvements in technology and corresponding infrastructure.
2. Capital for an electronic Case Management System and related technology.
3. Capital for funding of a “medical home” model. Vista student/members have significant health issues and difficulty making and following through with care plans. They often see many medical practitioners who do not communicate well. This can result in poor outcomes, but great cost. Having a mechanism to pay primary care practitioners to oversee and coordinate the medical care, as well as medical advocates who accompany the students and members to medical appointments would go a long way toward providing better care at less expense
4. Funding in support of the Vista Endowment
5. Support for Collaborative Employment Opportunities for Vista student/members. These opportunities include the completion of trail work, clean up, repair and other building projects at state and federal parks that have indicated a need for these types of initiatives.
Dear Friends of Vista,
Recently, I was in the parking lot of the local grocery store loading my just purchased groceries into the back of my car. As I reached to shut the hatchback, a large 2-gallon water dispenser fell on my sandaled foot. I yelped with pain and surprise. From behind me, I heard a pleasant and very concerned voice…”Excuse me; how can I help you? That must have hurt. I work here and I am happy to get someone to assist you or I can pick up your water if you wish.” I turned and came face to face with Kyle, one of our Outreach members. Kyle was as surprised to see that it was me as I was that it was her. And this was meaningful to me. I asked Kyle if she had known that it was me when she had offered help and she indicated that she had not. When I exclaimed that I was so pleased that she would reach out to a customer with that level of concern and empathy, she emphatically and somewhat reproachfully stated “Our job here is to make sure our customers are happy and I wanted to make sure you got the help that you needed."
Kyle had come to my aid not because I am the Executive Director of Vista but because I am a local customer of the store in which she is employed. She would have come to the aid of any customer. Kyle takes pride in her work and sees herself as a contributing member of that workplace. That was the message that was so meaningful. This small moment showed me so much. This small moment reaffirmed for me that our students and members go beyond seeing themselves as solely carrying out tasks of Vista. They slowly but surely learn to carry out the tasks of life. The tasks of independence. The tasks of inclusion.
Suddenly, the throbbing in my foot was replaced with pride and a certain satisfaction in knowing that Vista students and members are well trained, skillful, and contributing members of the Shoreline community. This young woman, like the other 191 individuals who crossed Vista’s path last year, has learned the lessons which our more than 120 employees strive to teach. This is a lesson that goes beyond the basic paying of bills, learning how to do laundry, or carrying out the duties assigned as a worker. Kyle has learned that she is important. That she matters. That she can make a difference.
This lesson is the lesson which is inherent in the fabric of Vista. Our motto is “Where Independence Begins and Success Flourishes”. Success is defined by moments like these. Moments when, the adults who enter Vista unsure and unskilled, suddenly become the helpers, the responsible ones, the contributors. This is what we are about. This is why we exist. We have many individuals who have supported us and who have helped with this cause. We thank each and every one of you because without you, individuals like Kyle would not know how it feels to be an important member of her community. How it feels to make a difference. How it feels to matter.
Thank you for your tireless efforts and contributions. Thank you for your genuine interest and enthusiasm. Thank you for each little action you take. They add up to making a huge impact. Let’s all celebrate the “Kyles” in our lives. Let’s all celebrate their and, in turn, our success.
Helen K. Bosch, M.S.
With operations in Guilford, Madison, Clinton and Westbrook, Vista Life Innovations is a Connecticut shoreline organization providing services and supports to student/members living in towns from Branford to Old Saybrook, CT.
All Vista students and members are evaluated twice yearly in an Individual Program Plan (IPP) Review. Vista monitors and evaluates individual success through the use of a functional rating scale.
The Vista program focuses on the “whole person” in four major areas: vocational, life skills, cognitive and social skills, and community involvement. Each student has a counselor to assist in developing and achieving individual goals. All staff members work as a team to teach various skills. Vista works with each individual to foster a meaningful work experience. All staff helps students establish satisfactory relationships and develop positive self-esteem and confidence. Students at Vista are considered to be a family and are taught to trust and respect each other. Being interdependent in one's community is an integral part of independence. Students, their families, and Vista's staff form a team to support successful attainment of goals. Vista believes learning is life-long, always providing opportunities for growth.
As stated, education at Vista is focused on four areas: vocational, life skills, cognitive and social development, and community involvement. Students are immersed in the learning environment of Vista and learn by doing the actual tasks. Conceptual discussions to support learned skills are provided in small, interactive groups and seminars, or in one-to-one meetings. All Vista staff counsel and provide continuous feedback and support as students learn to navigate their daily lives and apply new skills.
Vista consistently evaluates the program’s success in a variety of ways including the following.
All functional skills are continually assessed and rated on a four-point rubric as follows:
Is unable to meet the standard, despite any amount of staff assistance or intervention (most frequently receives a score of "1" on the Functional Skills Rating Scale)
Is able to meet the standard with extensive staff assistance or intervention (most frequently receives a score of "2" on the Functional Skills Rating Scale)
Is able to meet the standard with extensive staff assistance or intervention (most frequently receives a score of "3" on the Functional Skills Rating Scale)
Is able to meet the standard with extensive staff assistance or intervention (most frequently receives a score of "4" on the Functional Skills Rating Scale)
A multitude of data is also analyzed twice yearly through Vista’s rigorous Program Evaluation to determine if Program Outcome Goals are met.
Additionally, a satisfaction survey is also distributed for completion to Vista student/members and the parents of Vista student/members on an annual basis.
The following items show the results of annual satisfaction surveys completed by Vista student/members and parents of Vista student/members when evaluating the services provided by the Vista program.
Percentages of Responses to Student/Member Survey
Life Skills Services
Students and members expressed general satisfaction for each type of Vista service surveyed.
Percentages of Responses to survey
Program Counselor Communication
After hours supports
Board of Directors
Parents rated various services provided on a 5-point rating scale ranging from very dissatisfied to very satisfied. The results indicated that 79% of all ratings were either very satisfied or satisfied. The results of the Parent Survey indicate a general satisfaction with services at Vista.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Financial information is inputted by Foundation staff directly from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved by the nonprofit’s board. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. The Community Foundation is continuing to receive information submitted by the organization and may periodically update the organization’s profile to reflect the most current financial and other information available. The organization has completed the fields required by The Community Foundation and updated their profile in the last year. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.
Educate a child and you change a community. For the child, a good education means better career opportunities and higher lifetime earnings. College graduates enjoy better health and are more inclined to volunteer and vote. For the community, supporting our youths’ educational goals results in a stronger society.
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