Victor B. is an artist. He creates all of his artwork using just a handful of colored pencils, paper and months of focus. Victor also lives with a developmental disability.
Many people do not know that some of the best artists today deal with some form of disability.
Such is the case for 23-year-old Victor, who moved to the United States from Mexico 10 years ago and has used art to communicate his thoughts to the world—and the results are stunning.
Victor has created numerous artworks; his most recent was a six-foot-wide panoramic landscape depicting a church in his hometown of Pueblo, Mexico. The piece includes detailed illustrations of Catholic saints and popular Mexican celebrities surrounded by thousands of colorful flowers.
The annual Reading Festival held at the CLC recently showcased Victor’s artwork and showed the artistic side of him which is not always evident due to his disability.
“I really like [MiraCosta College],” said Victor. “All my classes are fun, and I especially love art… it makes me want to become a professional artist one day.”
Students like Victor, who are enrolled in the Basic Academic Skills for Adults with Developmental Disabilities course, have surprised many people with what they can accomplish.
The free, noncredit program began two decades ago and currently serves 125 students that have a variety of developmental disabilities between the ages of 18-65. Currently, the program is split into five different classes with 17-25 students in each and attends a total of five hours of class each week.
“The primary things that we focus on are learning and growing basic skills as well as soft skills,” said Warren. “We teach or sharpen their reading, writing, speaking, math and basic computer skills.”
The program uses individual projects, small group work, large group instruction, and discussion to help students achieve their academic and communication goals.
Ultimately, the course shapes students into well-rounded and better qualified individuals and helps them to possibly earn a spot in the job market or go on to additional educational opportunities.
To meet course objectives, students in the Service Learning Program at both MiraCosta College and Cal State San Marcos volunteer and assist students and instructors in the classes.
“People who have volunteered their time in our courses have loved everything about the experience, and some would even say it was a life-changing experience,” said Warren.
One of those volunteers was Elizabeth Bell, a registered nurse who now works as an instructional aide for the program.
“There’s a lot of love and respect in each class and that is exactly what students enrolled in the program need,” said Bell. “Each class really is quite special and rewarding for all.”
Victor is just one example that demonstrates how individuals with disabilities can create and achieve extraordinary things.
“Our students take a lot of pride being in class and for some, it is everything in their life to be able to attend college.”
The program is open to adults of any developmental level. To apply, visit MiraCosta College Disabled Student Programs and Services. (http://www.miracosta.edu/studentservices/dsps/index.html)
For more information about the course, visit this web page. (http://www.miracosta.edu/instruction/continuingeducation/basicskills/index.html)