One of the many committees the Lodi District Chamber of Commerce provides is a nine-month class called "Leadership Lodi." What is Leadership Lodi, you may ask? Founded in 1990, Leadership Lodi is an organization that's goal is to inspire and motivate individuals in the community to obtain a higher level of leadership. This program combines lectures, panels, and interviews with community leaders with hands-on workshops, networking opportunities, tours of local government, and more. Each graduating class- which has anywhere between 10 and 20 participants- is comprised of members of the community from local business owners, to management staff, to organizational leaders. The class meets for one full day between February and November, with themed classes like "Non-Profit Day," "Local Government Day," and more.
One of the main focuses of Leadership Lodi is to help expand the knowledge and know-how of local leaders. Each year, the graduating class chooses one non-profit project to work on during their nine-month course. During the "Non-Profit Day," the class is presented five to seven potential projects in need of attention around Lodi. Last year, the Leadership Lodi class chose the One-Eighty Teen Center- an organization that helps engage teenagers in our community so that they have a safe place to be after school ends. Their project was to renovate part of the building, as well as install security measures around the building (like bright lights to keep both alleys and street well-lit after dark).
This year's class had their "Non-Profit" day just a few weeks ago. They heard from numerous organizations in need of assistance, and after a difficult deliberation effort during their Leadership Lodi retreat day on Friday, March 23, they made their decision. The Village Adult Developmental and Community Center is a newly founded safe haven for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Set to open their doors in June of 2018, founder Kathy Piazza's inspiration for this center came from her daughter- Hannah- who was born with Trisomy 18. Due to Hannah's specific needs, it can be difficult for the family to attend certain events or functions. To help ease that burden- a burden many in our community face- The Village would allow families and adults with developmental disabilities a place to learn, a place to find comfort, and a place to see to any specific needs their family has.
In addition to opening this space as a safe haven, The Village's plan is to also offer 6 ½ hour a day programs with specific curriculums, personal care, interactions with the community. Kathy Piazza wanted to make sure The Village was "in the heart of Downton because we want to make it easy for our participants to get out and be a part of our community and for the community to be able to find us." This would allow families to attend Downtown Lodi events and still have a place to go in the event their family needs something.
Leadership Lodi called Kathy on Friday to let her know that their project would be working with The Village Adult Developmental and Community Center. "We are absolutely thrilled and so honored.," said Kathy, "We knew there were lots of worthy project proposals, and yet this class is willing to take a chance on us and The Village." The Leadership Lodi class will be in charge of painting and outfitting one of the sensory rooms inside the Center. Sensory Rooms- as defined by Experia Innovations- are used for relaxation when people with autism, emotional and behavioral difficulties, sensory processing disorder, or other special needs find themselves overwhelmed and in need of a safe and distracting place to return to a state of calm. Karen Alvarez from Lodi Chamber of Commerce is also one of the advisors for Leadership Lodi. "The class cannot wait to get started on this project," said Karen, "We are thrilled to be a part of Kathy's vision and mission to bring The Village to our community.,"
To learn more about The Village Adult Developmental and Community Center or to purchase tickets to their Kaleidoscope fundraiser at McCay Cellars on Saturday, May 12, visit VillageADCC.org.