Monica and Troy Stelmack love their son Danny.
And like all parents they want to make sure he enjoys a successful life.
Danny happens to be a young adult dealing with neurodiverse issues — autism and other neurologically atypical patterns.
A few years ago, the couple had an epiphany of sorts.
What would their son do after they are gone?
The public schooling, he had received, only went so far.
How would their son be able to handle the basic challenges of a household from budgeting to cooking and how would he support himself?
Then, after thinking about it for a while, they realized there were other “Dannys” who had parents who likely have asked themselves the same question.
The couple decided to provide an answer to that question.
In 2018, they founded Wide Horizons.
The non-profit teaches life skills with a robust mentorship program tailored to an individual participant’s unique set of needs.
Wide Horizons also works to find vocations with tasks that participants are not only uniquely suited to tackle but can do so in such a manner that they become dependable and focused employees.
By accentuating the positive that participants have as individuals and working with employers, they have been able to place a number of young adults with neurodiverse issues in jobs.
In many cases, they are considered to be among the best workers employers have due to their focus on detail and dependability.
Wide Horizons works with participants to determine their strengths and interests. They then work with prospective employers to determine skill sets they need for jobs.
Wide Horizon then matches the two: A neurodiverse young adult with skills to perform particular jobs so they can contribute to society and help support themselves as well as an employer in need of dependable hard workers that embrace tasks.
The success of the Wide Horizon efforts are reflected in neurodiverse individuals that have landed employment at area companies such a Delicato Winery, Great Wolf Lodge, Ed’s Rockery, Jackrabbit Equipment in Ripon, and several other area wineries.
Monica serves as the CEO.
As a mother of three boys, including Danny, she has spent the last 26 years fighting for the rights of her children to experience full and complete lives. She is also an assistant at the Serving Unique Needs ministry at Crossroad Grace Church in Manteca.
Her previous roles at companies such as Costco and E&J Gallo required her to provide payroll, leave and absence, FMLA and similar administrative support for as many as 400 employees.
Troy is a Navy Combat-Action Veteran and globally recognized project management professional. He has lead projects in excess of $25 million and helped his organization save tens of millions of dollars by leveraging teamwork and applying proven best practices in project management, strategic leadership and financial accountability.
Troy has been actively involved in the community and the growth and development of its youth for decades. Organizations with which he has been associated include Manteca Areas Soccer League, Boy Scouts of America, and the Manteca Soccer Referee Association.
The two — in founding Wide Horizons — wanted to build on their success to help lift young adults with neurodiverse issues.
The non-profit is based in downtown Manteca at 110 North Main Street where they have a learning center along with offices.
They can be contacted at (209) 482-4483 or (209) 608-5034 for additional information.
The Wide Horizons website is at www.widehorizons4u.org.