Information on ITA’s history and our wonderful staff.
Island Time Activities (ITA) empowers people with intellectual disabilities to lead lives of meaning and self-determination. Our members work toward their own goals in seven areas: Communication, Community, Continued Education, Health, Leisure, Relationships, and Work. ITA runs a number of social peer group programs such as Afternoon Activities Club, Hike & Swim Club, Book Club, Art Club, Drama Club, Job Skills Club, and Saturday Supper Club as well as open choice hours and one-on-one support, mentoring, and tutoring. Our home base is the Fellowship Hall of Seabold Church, and our programs are based there as well as out and about in the community, Monday through Friday. While our members are at ITA, their family members and other daily caregivers benefit from respite, and our entire community benefits from the increased inclusion and participation of people with intellectual disabilities such as Down syndrome, autism, Angelman syndrome, and Prader-Willi syndrome in our shared public spaces and work places.
Island Time Activities grew out of a need expressed by local families for empowering, respectful, and meaningful programming for their family members with intellectual disabilities. We saw with our own eyes, as parents and teachers, that people with intellectual disabilities were too often without friends, social activities among equals, and programs that empowered them to pursue their own goals. All too often, our society forgets that people who have intellectual disabilities deserve rich lives of meaning and connection to their communities. We forget that people who may not speak, read, write, or complete a math quiz at the same level as their typically-developed peers are fully equal human beings with the full range of emotions, a full human spirit, and hopes and dreams of their own.
Island Time Activities began in the fall of 2001 with a birthday party for a new girl in town. The birthday girl and her guests had a range of intellectual disabilities, and while they sometimes crossed paths in school, they hadn’t yet connected just for fun outside of classes. Like most birthday parties, there were games, balloons, gifts, and of course cake and ice cream. However, what was new and most important was something that had not been planned, purchased, or put together: the joy radiating from each child after a day of camaraderie and fun. The girls enjoyed their time together so much that another gathering was planned for the following week; this led to plans for the next week, then the next, and so on. Island Time Activities grew from this birthday party to become an official nonprofit in 2009. In 2015, we served 56 Kitsap County residents ranging in age from 13 to 72, and we hope to include even more people in 2016.
Island Time Activities was co-founded by Holly Patton (currently an ITA board member), an educator and administrator in special education, and Deb Buitenveld (currently ITA’s Program Director), a special education para-educator and parent of one of ITA’s founding members. ITA’s current staff includes special education para-educators, a teacher certified in special education, a BRIDGE Fitness and individuals licensed by the State of Washington Developmental Disabilities Administration to provide respite and personal care. All of our staff and volunteers share a solid commitment to person-first language and culture.