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Meet Carolina McGilvra of Creative Steps in Santa Monica

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carolina McGilvra.

The Aurelia Foundation was founded in 2010 by a group of parents, all of whom had a son or daughter with a moderate to severe developmental disability. These parents quickly learned that after years of being in a school setting, with a set schedule, the next best step wasn’t clear and there was the very real potential their young adult child would sit at home, isolated, with no chance to continue to learn and grow. In an effort to make sure their young adults could be a part of something more than just that, they created the Aurelia Foundation.

The mission of the Aurelia Foundation, which sponsors the Creative Steps Adult Day program, is to establish individualized day programs for persons with moderate to severe disabilities as they leave the school system and enter community life. With Creative Steps, we offer our clients a safe, supportive environment where they continue to grow and thrive and learn skills necessary for greater independence and community engagement.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
We face new challenges everyday but having people understand our program and our clients’ capabilities is our most important struggle. Our program is very unique because each of our clients are unique, so, when we say we’re an Adult Day Program, we are also more than that. Along with teaching skills of everyday life, we offer art and music therapies; lessons and performance opportunities; computer skills on every level to optimize language and communication abilities; interaction with the community; guest teachers such as local chefs providing cooking lessons or local musicians and artists; field trips to museums, historical sites and assistance at workplaces, etc

Our program is partly State funded and partly funded by the Aurelia Foundation. One of our challenges has been fundraising and spreading the word outside our own circle of friends and family. But social media and opportunities like this one, help us reach more people and get the news out about our program.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Creative Steps – what should we know?
Many young adults with developmental disorders have limited options for life after secondary school. They may require help walking or communicating. They may require assistance with their daily living skills, social interactions, and behavioral support. Yet, like all young adults, they deserve to have a life that includes accessing the community, hanging out with their friends, working on living skills and participating in activities that are meaningful, engaging and promote lifelong learning. They may want to find a job, but require support to learn vocational skills, as well as a job coach once they find employment.

With Creative Steps, we’ve created an adult community integration program designed to provide an enriching environment where adults with disabilities can achieve their full potential as valued, contributing members of their community with customized plans for each client.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Being a part of this program makes everyday something to be proud of. We have created an environment for our clients that is safe, caring and friendly. We also work with an incredible team and it’s true, ‘people made the team work’. Our staff is amazing!

This month, our founders are throwing our 4th Annual Gala and Auction where the proceeds from the evening will support our continued and expanding Creative Steps Program.

We are also very excited to have our newest location coming to South bay in 2018.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Phone: (310)-919-6678
  • Email:
  • Instagram: aurelia_foundation
  • Facebook: theaureliafoundation

Image Credit:
Rick Guidotti
Positive Exposure

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Judy wolf

    October 19, 2017 at 16:14

    I am so proud of everyone and so honored to be a part of this program! Looking forward toyear 5!!

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