TERI $1.2M challenge would increase help for those who need it most

Did you know that 1 in 6 people live with developmental disabilities? That’s nearly a half-million people in San Diego County alone. As families across the region look for resources and care, a service center in North County is seeking public assistance to sustain the loving care it provides to special-needs clients.

The center is TERI Campus of Life. TERI serves more than 600 people with autism and other special needs at its Oceanside location. From its modest beginnings in 1980 in a single residential group home, TERI has laid plans to open a university-style campus on 20 acres in San Marcos.

It’s a rural setting, where clients could swim, ride horses, plant gardens, enroll in vocational programs and enjoy the therapeutic benefits of music and performing arts. I have no doubt that the campus would become a national model and set the standard for programming and business and environmental sustainability.

But TERI needs your help.

The federal Department of Defense has selected the project to receive $3.4 million through its Innovative Readiness Training Program, which provides real-world training for service members to prepare for wartime missions while supporting America’s underserved communities.

But to secure that $3.4 million, TERI needs to raise $1.2 million immediately to keep the federal project on schedule.

That’s why I’m appealing to our compassionate community to help TERI best serve those who need our help most.

Expanding mental health services has been one of my top priorities since my election to the Board of Supervisors two years ago. The county’s outstanding partners, such as TERI, play a key role in delivering those services.

I would hate to see this tremendous opportunity for TERI and developmentally disabled people disappear because of lack of funds.

Any donor, at any level, can make a difference in the life of a mentally ill person and his or her family — a permanent difference — one that spans multiple generations.

Contact TERI at 760-721-1706. Thank you so much for your support.

Dave Roberts is vice chairman of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.