California has 80,000 non-profit organizations and they embody the spirit of volunteerism that makes the Golden State the great state it is. Non-profits unite people and communities to work together for a common good that bring hope into meaningful actions. In 2022, Senator Wilk recognizes Dana Hernadez who is the Founder and CEO of Rockn’ Our Disabilities Foundation (RODF).
Rockn’ Our Disabilities Foundation is the 21st Senate District Non-Profit of the Year
“One phrase describes Dana Hernandez – ‘rock star’. Her journey began with a passion for volunteering in Victor Valley to help families and youngsters. Over the years that love for her community was channeled into a non-profit that has served countless individuals and their loved ones.” – Senator Wilk
Honoree is Dana Hernandez, Founder and CEO of Rockn’ Our Disabilities Foundation (RODF)
Learn more about RODF: https://rocknourdisabilitiesfoundation.org/
As a parent of two special needs adult children, Dana has lived with the reality of insufficient community supports. Her vision was to start an organization that would provide an outlet to families in similar situations to promote healthy and safe recreational and family activities for families with special needs.
Rock’n Our Disabilities (RODF) has been a 501c3 non-profit charitable organization since 2018 with a mission to support families and individuals with special needs in the local community. With that in mind, an accurate source of information and networking is provided for anyone and everyone who comes for help.
The core of services is to provide free recreational activities, educational and skill building/learning opportunities, educational field trips, community events and social activities for individuals with special needs and their families. Outcome parameters are to help build relationships, quality of life and share community. The overreaching goal is to help families feel loved, appreciated, and engaged in healthy community events.
The pandemic has affected the High Desert area in so many ways, but the organization adapted and responded to the needs with new and creative ways. In March 2020, virtual and live zoom classes were added to help keep families engaged. The organization began giving out food in April 2020 and to date with other activities has served over 41,000 residents in the High Desert region of the Inland Empire of Southern California since then. Rock’n Our Disabilities Foundation is an approved food distribution resource for Feeding America and the truck/cargo trailer goes to Riverside to pick up pallets of food/dry goods that are given out on Friday each week. Other pickups of weekly dry goods from Amazon started in 2021, and since then more than 45,000 pounds of goods have been distributed. RODF partners with High Desert Second Chance and other food collaboratives where interaction with weekly supplies is used to best distribute where most needed to families with disabilities.
RODF is a community-based organization that collaborates with multiple local organizations. Together with Hesperia Recreation & Park District, City of Hesperia, City of Victorville, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department along with their Disability Safe Return Program, and others, Rock’n Our Disabilities helps create a community environment to serve families with special needs and disabilities. Dana is also a member of the San Bernardino Information Exchange task force, and this gives her a vital voice in participating with the county to understand and support the special needs population.
RODF provides services to individuals with physical and/or intellectual disabilities and has been recognized for its creative, innovative services for adults and children and their families. RODF provides the following program services through the support of sponsors, businesses and individuals:
- I.E.P. Workshops & Training (live and virtual)
- Special Needs Arts/Recreation Program (Ages 8+), Saturday Camp, Basketball, Bowling
- Pickleball, Painting, Dance (Indoor)
- Special Needs Swimming, Soccer (Outdoor)
- Special Needs Prepping for Employment (8 week rotating)
- Parent Support Group
- Soaring Eagles Club – Educational Activities, Skills-Building, Learning Workshops, Field trips
- Eggxtra Special Easter Egg Trunk Event (free event for families with special needs)
- A Very Merry Christmas Event (free dinner and party for families with special needs)
- Spooky Spooktacular Halloween Dance & Carnival (free event for families with special needs)
- Annual Hesperia Days Parade (funds raised support RODF programs)
RODF holds three holiday events throughout the year with more than 4,000 in total attendance each year for families with disabilities. The parade brings together the entire community each year with more than 5,000 in attendance.
Rock’n Our Disabilities Foundation is a donor-supported organization and program expenses run about 85% of total revenue and the families served are 95% within the low income/poverty level. The organization employs five part-time paid staff, and all contribute some volunteer work. One of the volunteers as part of the Spring Valley Lions Club, volunteers every week. Another 15 volunteers help run the weekly Food bank with the annual amount of around 3,200 hours. There are approximately 40 volunteers who help at the holiday events with around 800 hours of volunteer time each year.