Painting the Way to Success

Gabby has been a gifted artist ever since she was a toddler. When she joined OFA’s Community Engagement program in 2016, she shared how important painting and drawing were to her Direct Support Professional (DSP) Shaun, who is also a gifted artist. Gabby and Shaun’s mutual interest in art benefitted both of them, as they were able to teach each other unique tips and tricks to implement into their artwork.  

Sean constantly encouraged Gabby to practice her talents and express herself through her love for art. Gabby has always wanted to improve her painting skills, so it seemed to be fate that she connected with Shaun. During their time together, Shaun taught Gabby different art mediums that she had never tried before. 

 From new sketching to painting techniques, Gabby broadened her art skills and additionally received the guidance and resources needed to become more independent, self-reliant, and active in her community. Gabby was able to make long-lasting friendships with both the members of her Community Engagement group and with Shaun.  

In the Fall of 2021, Options For All facilitated a “Park Art Day” as a Community Engagement event. This event was aimed toward team bonding between our Community Engagement groups and team members. The event also provided new and exciting media content for the organization. With the demand for authentic artistry, OFA reached out to Gabby and asked her to help lead a body painting activity. Gabby was so excited about the opportunity to put her skills into action, and with the support of Shaun, she was able to execute a successful activity. Photos of her artwork are now used on the OFA website and across social media. 

Our Community Engagement program is not just another day program – it’s an opportunity to explore your talents and let them flourish. 

At Options For All, we believe that everyone deserves a career they love. To begin the day with a sense of purpose and to end it with a feeling of fulfillment. Through our donors’ contributions and the tireless work of Options For All staff, finding a dream job as a person with a developmental disability is a reality. A graduate of our Film & Media Program, Ludivico Estrada, is a perfect example. 

Ludivico Estrada, or “Ludi” as he’s known at the office, is a creative powerhouse. With an interest in graphic design and film production, the Options For All Film & Media Studio in San Diego was a perfect match. He quickly learned from his instructors and showed an early aptitude for working with cameras, film editing, creating sets, and designing film posters. He even worked with staff during our rebranding to make the Options For All logo. 

Ludi’s passion for his work is evident to anyone who meets him. Upon graduation, he was hired by Options For All in an official capacity as a Production Assistant. In this role, he supports us in creating videos and films that share the Options For All story. He most enjoys creative work and is always ready to jump in and help out, no matter the project. According to OFA Production Manager Dan Roper, “Ludi is dedicated to his work and has a keen ability for focus. We’re thrilled to have him as part of the team!” Ludivico also works as an independent contractor and produces educational and music videos for YouTube.  

Ludi’s advice for others looking to land their dream job is to “follow your dreams and work your way through until you get the hang of it”. And for those who aren’t sure where to start, he says, ” If you want to follow your dreams and find a career you’ll love, come visit Options For All and see if it’s the right fit for you.” 

“Never give up!” These are the words of one of our graduated participants, Eric Baker, who recently earned his dream job. Many of our participants have impressive employment histories from restaurants to film production studios and everything in between. Of course, these opportunities don’t appear overnight. They are the result of hard work, determination, and a little help along the way. That’s where Options For All comes in!    

Recently, we launched a paid internship program, which allows participants to gain work experience with impressive companies, with the goal of transitioning to permanent employment. Funded through the Department of Developmental Services, and local Regional Center partnerships, these internships give companies the flexibility to create positions filled by Options For All participants. Two of our participants, Eric Baker and Martin Barken, are wonderful examples of this program’s awesome outcomes.   

After a successful paid internship with Cox Communications, Eric was recently offered a full-time position as a video editor for the company. In this role, he edits raw footage, which is then broadcasted or featured online. He first realized his creative passion for video editing after participating in our film and media program. With the help of an OFA job coach, Eric was able to earn a paid intern position at Cox. He loves all the projects he is a part of and enjoys putting his creative skills to the test every day.    

After his paid internship at a pharmacy, Martin Barken is now a pharmacy technician and clerk at Alvarado Pharmacy. To become a professional in this field, Martin completed the necessary certifications and licenses to work behind the pharmacy counter. His internship allowed him to realize his passion for this field of work.  His favorite part about his job is talking with customers as they pick up their prescriptions.   

Options For All exists to create opportunities that will help further the dreams of those with developmental and intellectual disabilities. It’s not just about finding a job. It’s about assisting participants in finding what they love and helping them reach their goals. No matter the position or the industry, there is room for everyone at the table. The paid internship program is just one way we’re creating more space to include everyone who wants a seat.   

Want to learn more about our job development and paid internship programs? Contact us at