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Our Programs

Expectations matter. At Ala Costa Centers our participants are given the right and expectation as adults to make choices, engage in community life, self advocate, and apply those skills to live more self determined lives - defining their own success.

Photo by Jamie Meronk

Ala Costa Adult Transition Program (ACAT)

Ala Costa’s Adult Transition Program [ACAT] serves transition age participants ages 18-22 with intellectual and developmental disabilities from the Berkeley Unified School District and North Region SELPA. ACAT is a community-based program that focuses on self-determination skills, vocational skills, independent living skills, and community integration. 


Adult Community Training (ACT)

The Adult Community Training [ACT] Program is a community-based adult day program serving intellectually and developmentally disabled adults in Berkeley, Oakland and surrounding areas open to Regional Center Clients 18 and up. Our participants practice vocational skill building, self determination and independent living skills. 

Curriculum Highlights 

Ala Costa Centers Adult Programs teaches participants real world, adult skills emphasizing the areas of independent living, vocational training, and travel training. Our community facilitators presume competence and use strength based methods to safely guide their participants through every stage of the learning process. To learn more explore the drop down menu below.    


The ACT/ACAT program follows a Service Learning Model for vocational training. Every day, our participants volunteer at a variety of local non-profits where they have the opportunity to support community members, learn new skills and practice working in the real world where they gain a sense of independence and responsibility. To take a look at the current organizations we work for head to the community partners tab.


Students prepare salad to serve to houseless community members for Food Not Bombs 

We want all our participants to live self-directed lives, with access to their chosen communities and supports. ACT/ACAT participants practice independent living skills and build natural supports by learning to access community resources, modeling leadership to fellow students, taking cooking classes, exercising, budgeting money, traveling on Bus and BART, advocating for their needs - all in the community and in real time.  

Students cook a meal together in the kitchen

ACT/ACAT participants use public transit to get to all of their daily activities. This is another way we immerse students authentically in the community to teach essential skills. Navigating the community on public transit affords participants opportunities to engage in real world problem solving, reinforces key safety skills and teaches individuals to be accountable for themselves and their belongings. Many of our participants have used the skills they practice at program to become independent travelers.

A student swiped her card through the BART turnstile in North Berkeley

We believe that community access is a human right, and that community life is better when everyone is included. Historically care settings have segregated disabled people because of the false belief that the community is dangerous to the disabled person and that the disabled person is dangerous to the community. In traditional program settings support staff are meant to be a barrier that stop real moments of inclusion and exchange from happening. Ala Costa Adult Program support staff facilitate interactions between the community and Adult Program participants so they have valuable relationships where they learn from one another.  

Students workout in the Berkeley YMCA along side community members

Disabled people have the right to try, fail and learn from their experiences; this is the foundation of the learning process. Historically, disabled people have been harmed by the low expectations of educational and care systems - which keep individuals dependent on others. Ala Costa Adult Programs provides a different teaching approach: giving participants the space and respect to try things for themselves, honoring each individuals learning journey, no matter the pace.


A students pause to work out a problem at a worksite providing meals to seniors 


Schedule an Observation

We invite all interested participants to spend a full day with one of our groups to get a feel of what it is like to be an Adult Programs participant. To schedule a tour, click the link below to head to the enrollment page to contact our office. 

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