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Valley CAPS enjoys new digs on Union Road
Valley CAPS Assistant Program Director Nicole Gowan talks about the spacious backyard at the Union Road location. - photo by HIME ROMERO

For the past year, consumers of the Valley CAPS PLUS program have enjoyed life in their spacious Manteca building at 1180 N. Union Road just north of Louise Avenue.

Ditto that for staff. “Everyone has been happy with the move (to the new location),” said assistant program director Nicole Gowan  who is part of  Valley CAPS (Community Action Programs), a non-profit that provides services to mentally challenged adults

PLUS is an acronym for People Learning Under Support. By that, she noted, consumers here are very independent with no behavior components with a working 1-to-8 ratio, instructor to consumers.

The PLUS program had been renting the former Carpenter’s Union Hall from the city before buying it in September. The city originally bought the building for conversion into a combined fire station and ambulance service substation.

Valley CAP, purchased it for $800,000 from the city. That compares to the $1,175,000 the city paid for it in November 2007. The local Carpenter’s Union originally wanted $1,650,000 for the former union hiring hall. The proceeds will go toward paying for the new fire station being built on Lathrop Road.

The PLUS program also promotes mobility and community activities, with many of the 66 – all told, 75 are enrolled at the site, Gowan said – among the regulars for the luncheons at St. Anthony’s parish sponsored by Sister Ann and her Ministry of Caring.

Her favorite feature on the new location is that of the spacious back yard area used by consumers for physical fitness such as track and field and soccer, and leisure activities, including cookouts and picnics.

“We used to practice in the city parks and on our old parking lot,” said Gowan, who enjoys her window view of the yard. “We still go to the (various) parks.”

She was also used to the window view at the old site at 107 W. North Street. But the facility there was in need of construction after being saturated with water a year ago.

Concerned about the cost for repairs, Valley CAPS PLUS officials subsequently looked at alternative locations.

“This place was available,” Gowan said. “It was a vacant building in Manteca – it was ADA-ready and with the space was just what we needed.”

The building is located a comfortable distance away from the convenience store at the corner of Louise Avenue and Union Road.

With the added space, Valley CAPS PLUS suddenly had new ‘areas.’

Each room had a label.

Area 1, for example, is the biggest for gatherings and special occasions. On this day, consumers enjoyed their annual Christmas party featuring Santa Claus and plenty of gifts. One was even overwhelmed after winning the $20 gift card.

Area 6 serves as an assessment room. Area 8 is a supply room. And Area 9 is the staff computer room.

Consumers have their own computer lab. “Many enjoy downloading recipes,” Gowan said.

As for staff members, they have their own training area and meeting room.

“The parking is fantastic but the back yard is still my favorite,” said Gowan.