STOCKTON (CBS13) — The fight over the future of the San Joaquin Activity Center continues with more parents speaking out to help save the facility.
The center, which is housed inside a building at the San Joaquin Fairgrounds, has provided services to people with developmental disabilities for nearly sixty years.
Ever since the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors notified families of the possibilities of closing the Activity Center, Daisy Plovnick said she noticed a big change in her son’s behavior.
“These children, or these students, or these adults have so little opportunities in life, and this would mean so much for them to keep it open. If we can work with you, we will,” she said.
The Valley Mountain Regional Center funds about $1.9 million for the activity center’s operating costs with the county subsidizing a little over $600,000.
“They should have every say, they are the ones that count here, dollars and cents should not matter when it comes to their livelihood and their happiness,” said Erin Messer, whose brother attends the program.
In the hopes of saving money, the supervisors are considering closing the program by the start of the summer. Leaders with Valley Mountain said the work to find families new service providers has already started.
“Yeah, we can replace the program. We can go to another place, we can find another place to go to. I’ve been to those other places and I don’t like those places,” said parent, Chris Massod.
Lerisha, 27, has been part of the program for five years and said the Activity Center has helped her grow.
“I have learned a lot of skills that have helped me become more independent and more confident in myself. The center has helped me realize that I can try to do anything, if I want to,” she said.
Members of the small community plan to continue fighting for their program in the hopes county leaders will listen and change their minds.
“They are the most vulnerable, and many times forgotten part of our society, today is your opportunity to do the right thing and stand with them,” said a local parent.
The Activity Center can serve 140 people, but in recent years those numbers have gone down. It now serves 128 clients.