Latest News From VIA Services

Covid-19 Updates and Important Information

Posted On: September 8, 2020

Via West Campus Covid-19 Risk Reduction Procedures for Programs – Updated January 20, 2022

As the pandemic changes, these policies will be updated to reflect best practices or mandates from Federal/State/local authorities, or recommendations from the ACA (American Camp Association)

  • All employees and campers are required to be fully vaccinated in order to attend. Additionally, starting on February 1st, all employees are required to have received a booster shot, per guidelines from the Department of Social Services. 
  • All staff members are required wear a disposable mask (surgical mask, KN-95, or N-95) while indoors, except during meal times, when sleeping, and in outdoor spaces. 
  • We are requiring all campers that can, to wear a disposable mask (surgical mask, KN-95, or N-95). Please, no cloth masks. Via West can provide masks to both campers and staff as necessary
  • Staff and campers presenting with Covid-19 symptoms will not be able to stay.
  • Upon arrival, both staff and campers are required to take a rapid/antigen test.  A negative test is required in order to remain on Via West Campus.
  • Via West has suspended offsite activities that require transportation (prolonged close contact is unavoidable during transportation).
  • Via West requires campers and their families to indicate their understanding of Covid-19 risks.

Current symptoms that prohibit participation in Via West Campus programs for both staff  and campers:

  • Positive Covid-19 test within the past five-days.
  • Fever-greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Sore throat.
  • Persistent cough that cannot be attributed to other causes such as asthma/allergies.
  • Loss of taste or smell.
  • Vomiting for non-behavioral reasons.

Current symptoms that prohibit participation in Via West Campus programs for both staff  & campers when 2 or more symptoms are present:

  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Sneezing

Additional requirements:

  • We are requiring that all campers take a rapid test upon arrival at Via West. Negative tests will be required for your camper to remain at camp.
  • Please keep your camper home if they are experiencing any Covid-19 or flu symptoms.
  • We are requesting campers use either disposable surgical masks, KN95 or N95 masks (we will have extra KN95 and surgical masks on site if needed).
  • We ask that you, and especially your camper, practice as much physical distancing and mask-wearing as possible during the coming days in preparation for their stay at camp. 
  • While on campus, staff will continue to monitor for signs or symptoms of Covid-19. 

Other steps taken to decrease risk:

  • Increased cleaning frequency.
  • Increased space between campers in the cabins.
  • Encouraging people to maintain distance.
  • Encouraging frequent hand washing.
  • Camp capacity has significantly been limited.
  • Waived all cancellation fees during the pandemic.

Please be aware, although we are taking steps to limit the risk of contracting Covid- 19 on Via West Campus, participating in group activities, such as camp, still poses a real risk of contracting Covid-19. 


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AAH Virtual Visits

Posted On: September 3, 2020

We are so excited to announce a new fun offering for all of our Via families in a joint collaboration with Animal Assisted Happiness (AAH) and funded by the San Jose Mercury News Wishbook:

Join us online to watch, learn, and participate in virtual barnyard interactions. These visits are completely free to you, with no registration required. Simply click the link below and reconnect with some familiar faces, meet new friends, and all learn together.

We know that 2020 has dealt us a rough hand, and we can’t even begin to tell you how much we miss seeing every single one of you on our Via West Campus. BUT, we are very excited to embark on this new adventure with you all, and we hope each visit will bring a smile to your face…until we are able to gather around the fire circle once more!

AAH has been a wonderful partner to Via West over the years – bringing their farm to us for the Fall Festival and countless Via West and Altitude sessions. Their mission is to enrich the lives of youth with needs through barnyard interactions creating smiles throughout their AAH community. We are so excited to be able to partner with them once again.

Below you will find the dates of all of our remaining visits, along with the zoom login, which will be the same for each visit. We will see you soon! If you have any questions, please click here to contact Leslie Davis.

Via Services/AAH Virtual Visits

Join Zoom Meeting https://zoom.us/j/2758005468?pwd=RDk3WUxUOUVxcDE5M1ZHRVcrNXhXQT09

Meeting ID: 275 800 5468 Passcode: 750128

Dial by your location +1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)

Meeting ID: 275 800 5468 Passcode: 750128


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Via Vanguard Archive

Posted On: August 27, 2020

​Welcome to the Via Services e-newsletter, The Via Vanguard. We specifically chose this name because Via is always at the forefront of new ideas. We pride ourselves on always searching for new and innovative ways to fulfill our mission of helping individuals with special needs achieve greater self-sufficiency and lead richer lives. We are excited to expand our communications throughout the year to keep you connected as a part of the Via family. We will update you on current and future programs and events, get to know featured Via staff, and we will answer your pressing questions with our Ask Via feature. Below, you will find an archive of all previously published newsletters. Make sure to click the button to subscribe to our newsletters!

Issue 1 – November 2017

Issue 2 – February 2018

Issues 3 – May 2018

Issue 4 – August 2018

Issue 5 – November 2018

Issue 6 – February 2019

Issue 7 – April 2019

Issue 8 – August 2019

Issue 9 – November 2019

Issue 10 – February 2020

Issue 11 – April 2020

Issue 12 – July 2020

Issue 13 – February 2021


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Giving Tuesday 2020

Posted On: August 12, 2020

We surpassed our goal!

Thank you so much to everyone who showed their support on December 1st for Via Services! We raised over $55,000, surpassing our goal of $50,000! Keep reading to learn where those funds will be used. We always welcome continued donations – every extra dollar we earn will go towards the reopening of Via West Campus!

Reopening Via West Campus

2020 was an unprecedented year for Via Services. When the pandemic hit and shelter-in-place orders went into effect in March, Via West was forced to shut down all of our respite and summer camps, which typically serve more than 2,000 kids, teens, and adults with special needs each year. All in-person services, including our First Step occupational and speech therapy programs, were canceled, and our fundraising events had to be postponed. With dramatically reduced revenue, we had to undertake several cost saving measures to keep our organization afloat. These included a layoff of over 50% of staff, salary reductions, adapting to virtual therapy for our First Step program, applying for emergency relief grants, donor support, utilizing reserve funds, and the receipt of a PPP loan.

Via Services has been a staple in the Bay Area special needs community for over 75 years, and we will persevere through Covid-19 and the setbacks it has brought to our organization. But, we can’t do it alone.

We asked for your help to raise $50,000 to prepare for our reopening of Via West Campus, once we are safely allowed to do so. These funds will go directly to hiring new leadership for Via West and Altitude as well as to the recruitment of program managers, health care staff, kitchen and maintenance workers, and quality counselors. Our facilities and supplies will need to be cleaned, replenished, and updated to meet new Covid-19 standards. We will be designing new and innovative programs, lesson plans, and safety protocols to ensure the best experience for everyone that comes to us.

Your donation will ensure that our camps will be ready to welcome you back to the safe, loving, and fun environment that you have relied on for the past 75 years.

Just because Giving Tuesday is over, it doesn’t mean that the giving has to stop! If you would like to still contribute to the reopening of Via West Campus, please click the link below to make a one-time Giving Tuesday donation or click here to set up reoccurring gifts. You may also call 408-243-7861 to donate over the phone! Many employers in the Bay Area will match your donation, so please make sure to check in with your company. Want to pay through PayPal? No problem – Via is a registered charity with PayPal. Click here to begin.

How do I participate?

Just because Giving Tuesday is over, it doesn’t mean that the giving has to stop! If you would like to still contribute to the reopening of Via West Campus, please click the link below to make a one-time Giving Tuesday donation or click here to set up reoccurring gifts. You may also call 408-243-7861 to donate over the phone! Many employers in the Bay Area will match your donation, so please make sure to check in with your company. Want to pay through PayPal? No problem – Via is a registered charity with PayPal. Click here to begin.

Donate Now


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25th Annual Via Ball

Posted On: March 10, 2020

THANK YOU!!!

Thank you so much to everyone who attended the 25th Annual Via Ball on Saturday, February 29th, and to everyone that supported our event. You helped to make this the most successful Via Ball and fundraising event in our 75 year history as an organization. There are countless people to thank, but we wish to acknowledge our wonderful sponsors.

Click below for photos and we look forward to seeing you again next year!

Via Ball Photos


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4th Annual Poker Tournament

Posted On: March 4, 2020

After careful consideration and based on current guidelines from the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health, Center for Disease Control, and World Health Organization, we have decided to postpone our 4th Annual Poker Tournament, which was to take place on Thursday, May 7th. We made this decision with the health and safety or our families, supporters, and staff as our highest priority.


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Ability Experience

Posted On: November 12, 2019

We are so grateful to the brothers of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity who came to Via West Campus from chapters across California as part of their Ability Experience weekend of November 1-3, 2019. They rolled up their sleeves and worked hard to create an accessible walkway up to the year-round garden, remove brush and debris from areas around the campus and patch holes in our access road. A $5,000 grant from their national office underwrote this work to make it easier for participants to walk or roll up the graded pathway in the company of friends to plant, cultivate and harvest produce and herbs for culinary arts activities.

The brothers worked hard and played hard! They thoroughly enjoyed interacting with participants during meals and snacks, and rocked the night away at the dance. When the brothers departed on Sunday, they left behind new friends and a more accessible special needs camp.


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Snowflake 19

Posted On: October 29, 2019

​Operation Snowflake at Via West

The holidays are upon us and we have two special respite sessions to celebrate in December. December 6-8th is for our kids, teens, and young adults, and we will bring in 13 tons of snow to transform campus. December 13-15th is for our adult participants, and we will have a live band and firefighters to deliver the Christmas tree. Both weekends will have lots of arts and crafts, as well as stocking decorating. Each year, we teach our participants the importance of giving back by stuffing and decorating holiday stockings for a local shelter. This year, we will be donating to West Valley Community Services.

How can you help? Bring your extra, unused toiletries to either of our locations by December 6th! We are in need of the following travel size items:

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Soap/body wash
  • Lotion
  • Shower caps
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Dental floss
  • Socks
  • Mittens/gloves
  • Small toys (playing cards, spinners, etc.)

We are also looking for volunteers to help out with the activities during both sessions. Please contact Nic Rodriguez [email protected] for more information.


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