In 1961, a group of mothers founded Villa Esperanza Services because they believed that their special needs children deserved quality care and education. Not only did they found one of the first schools in Los Angeles County for children with Down syndrome, but they were vocal in the community and advocated for their children. Today, Villa serves individuals of all ages, from infants to seniors, with a variety of disabilities, including autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy.

This mission of advocacy has been at the heart of Villa’s organizational goals ever since that group of mothers first spoke out 53 years ago. Villa continues to be at the leading edge of advocating for those that cannot speak for themselves. Villa’s CEO is the Co-Chairman of a coalition of 16 Southern California non-profits dedicated to increasing awareness and educating both local and state legislators, friends and families on the importance of continued funding.

Villa's overall advocacy goal is to help protect services for children and adults with developmental disabilities including autism, Down syndrome and cerebral palsy. Steps to increasing visibility and advocacy include:
  • Help families tell their story and become advocates in their community.
  • Letter writing to legislators.
  • Meet with local and state politicians on the importance of services for the developmentally disabled population.
  • Build relationships with other organizations who serve similar populations, creating one voice.
  • Serve on boards, committees and other policy making groups to advocate on behalf of those we serve.
  • Educate the general public through events, tours, and media.
  • Increase the number of community partners who employ Villa clients as employees and volunteers as well as encourage current community partners to share their success stories.
Today, advocacy is more important than ever. On March 27, 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the overall autism prevalence rates in the U.S. have increased 30% since 2008: an estimated 1 in 68 American children are on the autism spectrum. This speaks to the even greater need for Villa Esperanza Services. Villa is very much part of the day to day solution for families.

We hope you will join Villa in becoming an advocate for the developmentally disabled community. Whether it’s through educating friends and family, letter writing, or becoming a community partner, we appreciate all you can do to bring visibility to the developmentally disabled community. We are happy to provide you with additional information and invite you to join our mailing list and check out our Facebook page.

Please visit our “Advocate” page for additional information.