The children who come to the Center have often experienced extreme trauma and abuse which may translate into severe behavior, emotional, and mental health challenges. Clinical research has demonstrated that many therapeutic benefits are experienced when music is used. The goal of our Music Program is to help heal emotional wounds by providing an outlet for children to learn to cope with past trauma by expressing themselves through music and movement.
Onsite of our Center we also feature “Blues Thursday”, a one-hour “open mic” jam session that occurs every Thursday afternoon. Blues Thursday allows children at any level an opportunity to share their musical interests within a fun, safe, and supportive environment in front of both children and staff. At Blues Thursday, children are proud to sing solos and duets, play a song on the guitar, or show off their newly perfected dance moves -- and the raucous cheering that comes from the music room after each performance rings across the campus. The sheer joy expressed on a child’s face when he or she takes a bow does not erase the years of trauma that the child may have experienced, but it does remind us that music can be truly transformative.
These intended objectives will be met by providing an estimated 200 children with high-quality music programming each year.
In response to this critical need for high-quality reading intervention programs, in 2009 the San Diego Center for Children launched an Intensive Reading Improvement Program focused on improving reading levels of children with special needs by providing them with tailored reading support that allows children the opportunity to engage in reading without feeling “behind”, to receive positive feedback about reading in a motivating and engaging setting, and to experience reading in a new and positive way. We adopted an evidence-based intensive reading program to pilot test with our children here.
The special needs children in our program typically have many overlapping challenges: the child may have experienced abuse and neglect, may have also spent time in several foster care placements, and may also struggle with ADHD and a learning disability. Our targeted, effective, ground-breaking reading intervention and improvement program for children with special needs and co-occurring challenges is unique from any other program of its kind in the country.
Of the 9 children served in our initial Intensive Reading Improvement Pilot Program in the Summer 2009 session:
Of children who improved:
During our continued operation of this program in 2010 we achieved similar striking results. Of the 9 children served in our Intensive Reading Improvement Program during the measurement period in 2010:
Education & Wellness
Foster Care Services
The mission of the San Diego Center for Children is to promote the wellbeing of children, youth, families, and communities by providing an array of proven and effective mental health, educational, and social services.
Founded in 1887, San Diego Center for Children is the city’s oldest accredited non-profit dedicated to helping children, and has become a leader in providing mental health services to children and families within our community. We offer a variety of programs for children facing behavioral, emotional, social, and mental health challenges.
Most of the children living at the Center's main campus, in one of our residential treatment programs, have experienced abuse, neglect, or trauma. These children demonstrate impairments in multiple life domains, including self care, relationships with peers and family, school failure, oppositional behavior, poor self-esteem, aggressive or physically abusive behavior, lack of motivation, emotional liability and a lack of good judgment. Through no fault of their own, many of these special children are faced with challenges such as autism, disruptive behavior disorders, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, impulse control disorders, and developmental disorders.
The Center provides a host of therapeutic activities designed to improve a child’s social functioning and self image, meet individualized treatment needs, develop new skills and interests for each child, and to provide a means for appropriate self-expression. Activities include team sports, non-competitive games, aerobic exercise, bike riding, swimming, and field trips. Additionally, the Center emphasizes a holistic approach to healing that focuses on the arts. Children participate in a robust music program, that includes recreational music making such as instrument play, therapeutic drum circles, singing, dance, drama, and performance opportunities, to name a few.
The Center has taken a lead in San Diego County in focusing on the use of evidence-based practices within our programs. Our trained staff consists of caring and dedicated professionals who focus on positive behavioral support, based on positive reinforcement and praise.We are passionate about building children’s skills so they can cope, grow, better manage, and surmount challenges.
One accomplishment of the Academy is our Intensive Reading Improvement Program. The special needs children we serve typically have many overlapping challenges: they may have experienced abuse and neglect, may have also spent time in several foster care placements, and may also struggle with ADHD and a learning disability. Our targeted, effective reading intervention program for children with co-occurring special needs is unique from any other program of its kind in the country and has resulted in dramatic and tangible outcomes. One of the goals of the Center in the coming year is to expand this program to serve every Academy student in need.
Residential Program: Our therapeutic residential program provides structured 24-hour care and effective evidenced-based therapy and treatment for over 100 special needs children and teens each year. Our residential program also includes music and art programs, and recreational therapy. Our array of therapeutic and academic services allows children and teens to discover, learn, and excel in exciting new means of expression, enjoyment, and education experiences, often resulting in dramatic improvements in their overall mental health status.
Community Based Programs: The Center serves over 400 children throughout San Diego County in our community based programs. These community based programs include: mental health counseling and day treatment programs for children and teens in four locations across San Diego County; an outpatient mental health therapy program dedicated specifically to foster children with special needs and their families; a foster care placement program for those special need children who need foster placement; and, a wraparound post-treatment program for children who leave the Center that supports them as they successfully reintegrate into their family and community school.
Much of our Center’s operating budget is reimbursed by government contracts. However, activities that are vital to positive childhood experiences, including our music and arts programs, sports activities, intensive reading improvement program, holiday and birthday gifts, children’s events, field trips, cultural enrichment activities, and a myriad of other activities, are not covered by government contracts and are only made possible through the generous support of private donations and grants. We are challenged each year to identify funding sources to underwrite these vital services that, along with our therapeutic programs, change the lives of hundreds of children each year. We also hope to expand our classroom spaces, and reinforce our security system to provide additional safety measures for our children and staff.
Mr. McCaslin has more than 30 years of experience with both small, entrepreneurial companies and large, multinational organizations. Previously, he worked five years each for Merck & Co., Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline, where he was Senior Director of Worldwide Manufacturing and Engineering.
Following nine years helping to build Quidel Corporation into one of the largest rapid diagnostic companies in the world, Mr. McCaslin left to become president & CEO of First Medical Corporation, a venture funded medical device company, where he raised $18 million and led the company into successful clinical trials. The following two years, he served as CEO re-structuring and selling Sierra Biomedical to a large multinational. Most recently, Mr. McCaslin was President and CEO of BidShift, now Concerro, a healthcare IT company.
Mr. McCaslin received his B.S. in Commerce and Engineering from Drexel University and an M.S. in Strategic Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.
Diana Landis began her career with Deloitte and Touche gaining more than 30 years experience in accounting, mergers/acquisitions, divestitures, risk management, treasury, Sarbanes-Oxley compliance and other business operations. While with Wrather Corporation, a publically traded company, she supervised the accounting departments for Disneyland Hotel and Inn at the Park in Anaheim and the Queen Mary complex in Long Beach managing the acquisition of the Queen Mary operations. She has also supervised avoidable transfer litigation and Proof of Claim administration for the successor-in-interest to a major mortgage company in San Diego.
As a founding member of a privately held fine chemical distributor, Ms. Landis was instrumental in securing appropriate credit facilities and foreign trade instruments to assist the growth of the company to an international presence and supplier to major vitamin manufacturers here in the United States. Most recently, she was the Chief Financial Officer for Seaspace Corporation in Poway, CA. Seaspace was divested by its publicly traded parent, The Allied Defense Group, and acquired by Sung Hong of Seoul, Korea. Ms. Landis managed the divestiture and established the Board of Directors as well as ensured the now foreign held corporation complied with the requirements of the Department of Defense.
A graduate of San Diego State University with a B.S. Degree in Accounting, Ms. Landis is also a Certified Public Accountant and is currently pursuing a master's degree in Nonprofit Management at the University of San Diego.
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Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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