Student Spotlight: Chris
Before coming to the Music and Performance Arts Program, Chris, a young man with autism, was severely limited in speech and interpersonal communication. After three years participating in the music and theater classes, he now sings, reads, and writes music including composing original songs for the theater arts performances. Performance has been an outlet of expression that has been his segue to interacting with the outside world. Chris defines TERl’s mission by stunning audiences singing, acting, and performing at our numerous events and concerts.
About Performance Arts
Since its inception in 2009, TERI’s Performing Arts Program has enabled people with autism and other developmental disabilities to find creative fulfilment while experiencing profound personal growth. Students learn that eloquent communication can be achieved without words, that the grace of a wheelchair dancer can rivet an audience, and that one’s dreams of playing the Mayor of Munchkin City can absolutely come true. The Performance Arts Program currently offers music, theater, dance, and other performance classes and activities. The Performing Arts Program enables our students and adults to explore, transcend, and attain that which they may have never believed possible: The opportunity to shine.
- Performing is a creative experience that involves verbal and nonverbal communication which helps promote and teach communication and social skills.
- Theater and music help enhance teamwork skills, self esteem, and self expression.
- Performance provides an opportunity for families and community members to connect around a shared interest.
- The act of performing can help students recognize their potential for success and improves their confidence.
- Through performance arts, students also learn and interact with movement and dance, stage management, set and costume design, and sound and light engineering.
Director of Performance Arts
George Thompson is an accomplished professional musician with recording and performance history nationwide. He has earned two degrees in anthropology and sociology and worked in the music industry for 15 years. He has produced two albums and worked with singer/songwriters in New York and other locales. Adept at playing multiple instruments (guitar, bass, Native American flute, trumpet, piano, vocal, and percussion) he has effectively taught adults with developmental disabilities for the past two years at TERI. George has written developmentally-appropriate curriculum for Music Program participants, and is working to further expand the Music Education Program offerings. Dedicated to his craft, George derives personal and professional satisfaction through opening up the world of music as a means of communication for participants most severely affected by their disability.
Watch a sampling of our performances on our YouTube channel.
Student Spotlight: Jason
Jason is one of our full-time residents here at TERI. He is also part of our vocational training program, learning all about TERI’s sustainable agriculture. He routinely visits our farms, helps with harvesting the fresh organic produce, and then assists in getting the produce out to the TERI residences. Jason enjoys being outdoors while he works, and the vocational opportunity is something he has long wanted to take part in, something he was unable to find success with in other programs. Jason also has learned firsthand the benefits of fresh produce in a healthy diet. Thanks to TERI’s focus on fitness, he makes better food choices and exercises regularly. Jason has not only slimmed down but has much more energy to do his job of taking TERI’s harvest from farm to kitchen.
TERI Agriculture is a developing department. What started as a few backyard gardens has now expanded to 3 large urban farms and 10 backyard gardens. Combined, these growing spaces now feed the majority of our resident’s produce needs. As we continue to expand all of our backyard gardens into Urban Farms we will expand our reach in providing certified organic and local produce beyond our residents to our staff, community and local food producers. Growing food at TERI provides a unique and bountiful benefit. We provide our residents and staff with healthy fresh food, offer unique hands on learning opportunities and activities in the garden, and expand our ability to positively give back to our local community by supporting local food artisans who also share in our vision. With the goal of growing into our 6.5 acres of agriculture on the TERI Campus of Life in San Marcos, we are continually working to provide more clients, staff and our community with the freshest organic certified produce. Every day is fun on the farm, working together to create a sustainable future for TERI and our community.
- Our program offers new exciting vocational opportunities for our residents and students
- Reinforces and develops healthy eating habits for our residents and staff alike
- Creates new learning opportunities for our community
The TERI Livestock program was started in 2012 as a self sustaining way to provide natural and organic meat and eggs to our TERI residential clients. We provide hands on learning in animal husbandry to our adult clients. They are active in the roles of caring, feeding and cleaning for our swine, turkeys and chickens and they look forward to being a part of this unique and progressive program.
Peas n’ Carrots 4-H club
The Peas n’ Carrots 4-H club, established in 2006, is the first club in the United States specifically designed for children with developmental disabilities and their siblings. We are a part of TERI Inc as a continuation of services that are provided to our families. Our families come together from across San Diego North County. Our focus is on leadership, acceptance, commitment, responsibility and achieving your personal best!
Director of Agriculture
Brianna Bain started with TERI in March of 2013. As an advocate for healthy eating, local food, organic practices and her interest in creative based education she found her home here at TERI. She holds an MBA from Antioch University in Organization and Environmental Sustainability and is certificated in Bio Dynamic Farming and Permaculture practices. She started blending her love of growing food and sustainable business prectices by creating and managing edible landscapes throughout San Diego residences with Urban Plantations. She is excited to be a part of the local food revolution with TERI, taking ideas to fruition, creating a sustainable food system for TERI and the community.
Watch a video about TERI's Urban Farms.
Student Spotlight: Melinda
Like many seniors, Melinda began to slow down a bit and gain weight while in her late sixties. Unlike other seniors, Melinda also contends with a developmental disability. Fortunately Melinda also lives in one of TERI’s residences, and as part of the TERI family, her support staff refused to sit by and accept her increasing physical limitations. TERI’s culture has always maintained that the health of each of our residents is a top priority. Now the team is kicking it up another notch by setting new, even higher standards to not only preserve but improve the well-being of those we serve. We are determined that our family thrives! You can see the results in the newly revised house menus designed by TERI’s culinary director: simple, delicious recipes focused on the freshest, most wholesome ingredients that come directly from our own urban farms and hand raised livestock. In a matter of months Melinda lost 30 pounds! Today, Melinda’s routine includes regular exercise and lifting simple weights. She is more active and able to join in more activities, including fulfilling her dream of performing in TERI’s Theater Arts Program. Now at 70 years young, Melinda can look forward to many more dreams coming true.
TERI's Culinary Department is constantly developing and moving forward. TERI's Culinary Department has created 365 days worth of healthy, delicious, easy to prepare menus for our group homes, on-going staff and student education, and use of our urban farm's organic fresh produce. The proof of this success can be seen in the cumulative weight loss of the organization. The Culinary Department has developed a Brown Bag Lunch program for staff and students, supplying them with a healthful lunch at reasonable cost. The newest endeavor is TERI's Kilmer College Cooking School launch scheduled for fall of 2013. The Kilmer College Cooking School will teach cooking as a life skill complete with entire meal planning, shopping and creation of an entire dinner for each class. TERI's Kilmer College also has a Culinary Institute in the works with the intent of job creation in the culinary field. The Culinary Institute is forming relationships with partnered restaurants and healthy eateries with our internship program and certification in mind. The Kilmer College Cooking School and Culinary Institute are looking forward to enriching the lives of those with special needs and autism on our Campus of Life. TERI's Culinary Department also has a GFCF cooking show on The Autism Channel. Chef Jana McMahon and Jason Brummett, a TERI resident, share terrific recipes in an unformatted, highly entertaining cooking show. Check it out...the food is super yummy and you never know what will happen next.
- 365 days of healthy meals complete with easy to follow recipes available on TERI website for staff & community
- Use of organic produce, eggs and meats from TERI's Urban Farms
- Life skills training for the special needs community in San Diego County
- Job creation for individuals with special needs via Southern California community partnerships
- Global outreach via The Autism Channel, supporting families touched by autism and carrying on TERI's commitment to a healthy, purposeful culture for all
Director of Culinary
Chef Jana McMahon’s interest in food started early… in the kitchen of her parents and at the ovens of her grandmothers. A degreed horticulturalist and cuisine savvy, her dishes utilize locally grown fresh product, simply yet elegantly prepared. Her 20 plus years of cooking experience spans from working “in the trenches” under accomplished Colorado chefs in several fine dining restaurants in Denver and Vail, partner in Glorious Food Catering in Maui, Executive Chef on board the Hawaiian Based, Yacht Kakela, to owner of a Maui based private chef service. Jana has appeared on The Travel Channel and Hawaiian Moving Company. She has created an allergy free cooking show currently available on THE AUTISM CHANNEL called "Cooking with Jana". She is a Hawaii Master Gardener, a beekeeper, and grows organic produce and herbs for her client’s meals. She also has her own laying hens. She is a member of Slow Food, Chef’s Collaborative and South Maui Sustainability Group. - See more at: http://www.chefjana.com
Watch a sampling of Jana's cooking tips on our YouTube channel.
Student Spotlight: Heather
Heather has become a rising star at TERI’s Therapeutic Equestrian Program! When she first embarked on her riding career two years ago, Heather came to us with poor motor control as well as weight and balance issues which necessitated the use of a walker. Today, thru much perseverance and will power, Heather now walks without assistance around TERI’s gymnasium track and has slimmed down considerably by adhering to the programs designed specifically for her by TERI Fitness, Nutritional, and Therapeutic Riding Specialists. These programs have enabled Heather to do what she enjoys best, and that is to ride her very favorite horse, “Gypsy”, whom she wrote lyrics about for one of the musical numbers in a TERI Theater Arts performance. Heather’s accomplishments and success continue and are a great source of pride for her and her family!
About Therapeutic Equestrian
At TERI's Therapeutic Equestrian Program, our students face many challenges within a range of physical, mental and emotional disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, Brain Injury, and Seizure Disorders. The objective of our program is unique in that it aims to address not only a wide array of these disabilities, but also a greater influence of Autism & Autistic Spectrum Disorders, as well as learning disabilities. In conjunction with our highly qualified staff, the modern horse also takes on the role of therapist, and as such, all lend their own unique perspective and design to join with other TERI programs.
- Increased strength and muscle tone
- Improved balance, flexibility, head control, and hand-eye coordination
- Improved concentration and enhanced patience and self-esteem
- Increased social awareness and growth
TERI's equestrian program is also a community service/volunteer site where we are fortunate to have a solid base of enthusiastic volunteers - people with a generosity of spirit. New volunteers are greatly appreciated as they share in that one motivating factor, to improve not only the quality of life for our students, but the quality of the moment. Moments when all things come together on that one special horse, to uplift, challenge, strengthen and heal.
Director of Therapeutic Equestrian
Jenell Tiffany, a native Californian and lifelong horsewoman, earned her Horsemaster certification from the Potomac Horse Center, Gaithersburg Maryland, and then continued her equine education within the racing stable of legendary Eclipse Award winner and Hall of Fame trainer, Charlie Whittingham. After a career in horse farm management, Jenell came to TERI in 1993 to learn as much about autism and developmental disabilities as possible. She became Director of the Therapeutic Equestrian program in 2000, is a registered PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) Instructor, currently pursuing her advanced certifications. Jenell believes that in mapping our student’s goals, one thing stands out foremost as the compass point - to create the greatest opportunity for success! Thru TERI’s Therapeutic Equestrian Program, we develop coordination, self-esteem, confidence and the courage to dream of things once impossible in the hearts of children and adults with developmental disabilities.
Friends & Supporters:
Harriet E. Pfleger Foundation
Certified Horseman's Association
Creekside Veterinary Services
Los Vallecitos Riders Club
North American Riding for the Handicapped Association
Reins of Fallbrook
Vallecitos Spurs Gymkhana Club
Fitness, Therapy & Recreation Center
Student Spotlight: Mike
Mike came to TERI after suffering a traumatic brain injury. When we first met Mike his speech was very hard to understand, he seldom made attempts to sit up in his wheelchair so it was difficult to see his face and have a conversation with him, and physical exercise was of no interest to him whatsoever. TERI’s Fitness Director started Mike out with some small movements at a pace that he felt comfortable with and he flourished. Today Mike is a regular at the TERI gym! He sits up a little taller, his speech is gradually improving, and he is willing to ride the exercise bike for 30 minutes and do some upper body weight lifting each day. As both his confidence and strength have improved, Mike’s attitude about exercise has completely changed; today his goal is to someday walk using a walker. If he continues to be positive and his determination remains strong, we have no doubt he will achieve that goal. It is such a pleasure to see Mike sitting on the exercise bike and not in his wheelchair, to hear him joking and making conversation with others instead of mumbling, and to see a smile on his face when he comes to work out.
About The Fitness Center
At TERI we believe fitness and overall physical and emotional health lead to quality of life and longevity. It is our commitment to create and foster the type of environment that advocates, enhances and directly impacts all aspects of human wellness. Through the implementation of many fitness and recreation programs, we plan to meet the specific health needs of all our clients and staff. The TERI Fitness Center offers to both students and staff special programs such as Fitness / Health Assessments, nutrition counseling, individually designed exercise programs (cardiovascular, strength / resistance training, flexibility, general rehabilitation, etc.), group exercise classes, health related workshops and other services to help maximize overall physical well-being.
About The Susan Parham Therapy Center
The therapy center is currently under the direction of registered occupational and physical therapists. Therapeutic programs conducted at this site include the use of movement to enhance learning; sensory integration therapy; programs designed to enhance balance and ambulation; and programs to remediate problems that occur as a result of an individual's disabling condition. Adults who are of retirement age and developmentally disabled will also use the therapy center to maintain current skills and to prevent regression of ambulation and mobility skills. The therapy center includes a variety of mats for stretching and improving range of motion, a vestibular swing, therapy balls, a Bobath ball unit, a padded and cushioned obstacle course, passive exercise equipment, and various other therapeutic supplies.
- Developing daily, healthy fitness habits and routines for each student and staff member
- Helping students and staff alike to decrease cholesterol, decrease body fat, decrease type 2 diabetes, and decrease resting heart rate while increasing heart function.
- Helping students and staff to increase muscles, increase bone strength and density, and decrease the risk of injury
- Creating healthier, happier individuals who look and feel better
Director of Fitness
Rhonda Maxson began employment with TERI in April 2013. Rhonda believes that everyone needs and deserves opportunities to become healthy, happy and physically fit. She enjoys working with both the students and staff at TERI and her goal is to help everyone at TERI enjoy the happier, positive lifestyle of a healthy person. She holds an M.Ed. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in Physical Education and is certified to teach many different aerobic classes and is certified as a Personal Trainer. She is thrilled to be a part of the TERI community.
Student Spotlight: Barbie
Barbie is one of our full-time residents here at TERI. She is also part of our vocational training program, learning all about cooking. She has learned to harvest produce from her group home garden, follow recipes, and measure ingredients. She assists with meal planning, shopping, and the creation of entire dinners for her group home. She also assists the Culinary Department with our Brown Bag Lunch program which supplies our staff with a healthful lunch option at a reasonable cost. Barbie has grown into an excellent kitchen assistant and loves to eat her delicious and healthy creations too! Her dream is to work in the cafe at TERI's new Campus of Life upon its completion.
About Vocational Training
TERI provides a wide range of vocational training and employment opportunities to our students and adults as they define their future. Vocational opportunities include working at the Oceanside Farmers' Market which offers items made by students in our adult program, and operating an in-house recycling center. Students that participate in the vocational program continue lifelong learning through training in a wide range of skills, including woodworking, craft production, metal work, floral arts, and more.
These students may also acquire skills from the agriculture and culinary programs by harvesting TERI's urban farms, food processing, and food distribution for our residences. The newest endeavor, TERI's Kilmer College offers a culinary class that prepares students for jobs in the culinary field. Lastly, the animal husbandry program along with a host of other enterprises, support the sustainable business model of TERI. They offer access to careers and experiences not traditionally available to adults with special needs.
- Nourishes hope and provides tools necessary for a meaningful and productive life.
- With community partnerships, the vocational training program is a revolutionary model of enterprise and personal achievement for this segment of our population.
- Students can increase current abilities, explore new interests, and develop a repertoire of skills that will enrich their lives in many ways.
- Offers life changing opportunities and innovative certificate training programs for students.
Director of Adult Services
Teresa Martin, the Director of Adult Services, has been with TERI since 1982. She oversees TERI’s residential program and the Center for the Arts and Adult Education. Teresa Martin earned her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Oregon State University and her Elementary Teaching Credential from the University of Southern California. Beginning her career as a teacher in the Los Angeles school system, Teresa moved on to hold the Executive Directorship of the Fallbrook Child Development Center. She transitioned to the TERI team in 1982 as part of the residential program. In 2004 she became the Director of Adult Services and administers the agency’s most diverse programs. Teresa’s great creativity has been the inspiration of many new programs at TERI. Teresa enjoys travel and has enjoyed trips to England, South Africa, Germany, and Italy. Closer to home, she enjoys sampling the arts and music available in San Diego.