Founded on the belief that recreation, fun, challenge and access to the outdoors are essential parts of a fulfilling life, Shared Adventures is a community-based nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of people living with disabilities.
Our goal is to offer opportunities for social and recreational interaction for disabled people, and thereby encourage:
- Personal growth, development, and self-confidence
- Cooperation, decision-making, and leadership skills
- Outdoor skills and environmental awareness
- Improved quality of life and level of happiness
We are the only program in Santa
Cruz County that offers a year-round calendar of recreational
events for all ages and segments of the physically and developmentally challenged
||There are too few recreational
programs and activities available to meet the needs of
physically and developmentally challenged populations
on the Central Coast. According to 2000 Census data (www.census.gov),
there are over 10,063 individuals ages 16 to 64 with work
disabilities, mobility limitations and self-care limitations
in Santa Cruz County. This represents over 6.5% of the
Founded in 1994 by Foster Andersen, a quadriplegic
survivor of a spinal cord injury, our organization has
provided hundreds of life-enriching recreational and
social activities for people with special needs.
Click here to read a brief bio of Foster.
We create opportunities to enjoy arts and social
interaction, as well as engage with the natural environment
through outdoor recreation. Our diverse Calendar
of Activities includes kayaking, art classes, surfing,
museum trips, sailing, indoor rock-climbing, river rafting,
dance parties with live music, camping trips, whale
watching, bowling, horseback riding, and much more.
Our participant base encompasses individuals of
all ages and backgrounds who struggle with and triumph
over a wide range of physical and developmental challenges.
Our mailing list includes over 1,000 individuals as well
as 50 group homes, institutions, and partner organizations
(which together represent several hundred more individuals).
participant mailing list.
Our volunteer database currently
has over 1,500 individuals on it and volunteers
help at most of our events, year-round.
Join our volunteer mailing list
On average we receive 3-6 requests per
week year-round from participants and volunteers wishing
to be added to our mailing lists, allowing them to constantly
Our two largest events
of the year, Day on the Beach and Day
in the Sky, are very unique and we are often told that
they have life-changing effects for the hundreds of participants
involved and their families.
Shared Adventures created and published a comprehensive
Accessibility Guide to Santa
Cruz County, a 64-page bilingual publication that
addresses the accessibility needs of both locals and visitors
with a variety of special needs.
This guide is available free of charge
at many locations across the county, as well as on the web. The site receives several hundred hits
every week from interested parties around the world.
|Our successes over the
years have firmly established our place as a primary communication
and resource center for the disabled population at
home and increasingly throughout the country, while solidifying
our commitment to improving the quality of people's lives.
From time to time we collaborate with educational
institutions, including the University of California and Stanford.
We are often invited to give class presentations and/or provide
consulting to students working on research or other projects
around disability issues. Many UC Santa Cruz students choose
to complete long or short-term internships with Shared Adventures,
which is mutually beneficial to our organization and to the
students who gain experience and skills.
In 2012, Shared Adventures partnered with the Paralympic Division of the United States Olympic Committee to become
Paralympic Sport-Santa Cruz. Paralympic Sport Clubs are community-based programs developed to involve youth and adults with physical and visual disabilities, including active duty service members and veterans, in ongoing sports and physical activity, regardless of skill level. This new status has allowed us to further expand our already diverse range of activities.
Click here to check out Shared Adventures' Paralympic Club Page, or find a Paralympic Club near you: findaclub.usparalympics.org/
We believe that everyone faces
the world with different abilities and disabilities. Our program
has inspired hundreds of participants and volunteers alike
to break through perceived barriers and achieve more than
they ever thought possible, while building friendships, and
having a whole lot of fun.
You can view the book, My Second Life, written by Foster Andersen, Shared Adventures'
In "My Second Life" you can hear Foster's story
in his own words and also see photos of very early Shared