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Shared Adventures

Organization Mission

Founded on the belief that recreation, fun, challenge and access to the outdoors are an essential part of a healthy and fulfilling life, Shared Adventures is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

We create opportunities to enjoy arts, social interaction, and the natural environment through activities that achieve optimal physical, mental, social-emotional, behavioral, and spiritual health, which benefits the individual and community.

The Big Idea:
Recreation and Challenges for Healthy Lives

Shared Adventures successfully serves the disabled community of Santa Cruz County with more than 50 activities and 2,000 participants per year, and will now broaden its programming to include other special needs communities, such as those in recovery, the homeless, foster youth, and veterans.

When special needs individuals share experiences with others who also need help, the benefits are multiplied many times as giving and receiving occurs among the various participants. Moving the self-image from needy to helper, from sick to enjoyment, brings huge dividends to those engaged, as studies and experience show.

Participation in recreation, and the challenges it brings along with joy, leads to health and personal growth for individuals of special needs populations.

Those who participate in Shared Adventures activities (art classes, gardening, bowling, kayaking, bike-riding, field trips, etc.) gain the confidence to take on new, challenging activities, which leads to more integration into the community. This can mean classes at Cabrillo College, employment, increased social activities, and healthier life choices. On the community level, strengthening special needs individuals combats expensive institutionalization, drug use, crime and social dependency. For families, it offers hopefulness, broader social opportunities, and family cohesiveness.

Separation, dependency and isolation contribute to depression and alienation for special populations. The Shared Adventures model for the disabled community — the lessons of fun, health, challenge, growth and support — will be expanded by the diverse population mix in 2020.

My daughter is ALWAYS treated with gentle care and respect when we attend the yearly Day At The Beach...her favorite is canoeing on the outrigger, oftentimes sighting seals and otters, much to her delight! She also enjoys the music during lunchtime. My daughter is mostly nonverbal, so a big smile shows her enthusiasm!


Wilma Randolph, Santa Cruz