Mountain of Promise visits Bizzyland

Aug 3, 2023 | Communities

Painting the flowerpots at the shaded tables at Bizzyland. (Photos by Rhea-Frances Tetley)


At Mountain of Promise the staff tries to make every day a good one for their clients. Mountain of Promise is a program to give mentally challenged adults an opportunity to get out of the house, socialize together and learn new skills. It is the next step in a challenged adult’s journey after they “graduate” from high school programs.

As an example, last Wednesday when the senior citizens’ schedule meant the group couldn’t be at the Leisure Shores senior center, the adult clients who range in age from 19 to older adult, were invited by Shannon Bizzy to visit the exclusive gardens and  performance center at Bizzyland in Crestline.

Bizzyland is a garden center that hosts concerts and private events on its ornate stage. While the Mountain of Promise clients were there, they got an opportunity to plant a plant to take home. The clients were given blank potting pots to individually decorate with markers, then they were given an opportunity to plant their decorated pots with a plant. Each one individually got to choose between “Zinderella Peach,” a type of Zinnia flower, or an “Amaranthus,” a plant with colorful leaves, to put into their decorated pot.

Kyle fills his pot with soil.

Kyle fills his pot with soil.

As each person approached the planting station, they were complimented on their artwork on the pot. Then, they were asked to choose their plant, which was then placed into their pot.

Then they went to the next station where each person got to put soil around the plant root ball in the cup. Some were amazed at the texture of the potting mix soil, while others didn’t like getting their hands dirty. It was pointed out to them that they could see the roots of their plant and that the soil would give the plants the nutrients the plants need.

The conversations were unique and different with each person, according to their interest and comprehension levels, which are known by the staff members. This was all overseen by Chris Navratil, Mountain of Promise’s manager.

The Mountain of Promise adult clients spent the afternoon at Bizzyland, arriving around 10 a.m., after taking some morning time walking along the walking trails of Lake Gregory. When they arrived at Bizzyland the clients got to do many of the things that those who pay to come to Bizzyland get to do, including touring the gardens and seeing the plant displays, choosing plants and, of course, after lunch, singing karaoke on or off the stage. The clients were quite excited.

The clients of Mountain of Promise had a fun and educational day at Bizzyland, learning about planting plants and performing karaoke.

The clients of Mountain of Promise had a fun and educational day at Bizzyland, learning about planting plants and performing karaoke.

Karaoke and dancing appear to be favorite activities for these folks. Although this is the first time they’ve gone to Bizzyland, the clients enjoyed the day and hope they get to return.

After another full day, the clients were taken home, as the program is a door-to-door service, four days a week, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., which not only is a respite program for parents caring for their adult children, but it is also another opportunity to educate them and help them learn some living and life skills.

Some of the other activities they have had this summer are water sports with the Rim Special Athletes program, going shopping at Lake Arrowhead Village and going down the hill to shop and buy lunch, having art classes at the senior center, field days at Lake Gregory and once in a while organized sports such as a softball game. Because of the age range of these adults, some into their 50s and 60s, some do not have the stamina to do active sports with lots of rules.

During the recent hot spell, they tried to use the inside facilities with air conditioning. As fall approaches, they will be outside more, going to places like the arboretum and the U.S. Forest Service day-use roadside lunch areas where they may do outside art and be inspired by the environment. When winter arrives, they will do more of their activities inside again.

Several of the clients volunteer time at the thrift store where they can fold clothes and do other useful activities for the store. Mountain of Promise likes to go to the library once a week where they can sit and look at books and check them out to take home with them. They regularly go on field trips to various places in the community, with a field trip being planned to visit the Mountain History Museum next month, after Rim schools begin their school year.

On a typical day, Mountain of Promise sees around 25 to 30 clients and has eight staff members. They pick the clients up at their homes in the Mountain of Promise vans after 8 a.m. and return them home before 4 p.m., depending on the activity for the day. The clients are on a first name basis with the staff, making it a very friendly environment for all.

This program – including transportation, staffing and materials – is funded through the county regional center. San Bernardino County has some of the highest regional center caseloads because of the reasonable housing prices and options of programs available.

Pamela Waddell, the mother of Alexander, said, “What I particularly like about the program is the difference and variety in Alexander’s activities and his peers. Some are higher functioning and some lower functioning, and right in the middle is where he is. He learns from everyone around him and has friends of all shapes and colors. He is happy attending Mountain of Promise.”

“We hope each one has a good day and either is exposed to or learns something new or is practicing a life skill they already know,” concluded Navratil. “We want the client and their parent to feel confident that this program benefits all who are involved and, as a result, our community benefits too.”




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