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Center for Independent Achievement

The Center for Independent Achievement (CIA) provides day program services and vocational training to 60+ adults with intellectual disabilities. CIA is built on the philosophy that every individual deserves to participate in a meaningful work day in order to promote dignity and self worth. Individuals are matched with specific activities that correspond to their skill and interest level.


CIA promotes teaching independent work skills, community integration and development of social relationships. The Center for Independent Achievement clients participate in a variety of work experiences such as car washing, gardening, janitorial work, shredding services, flyer distribution, and retail support.

In 2009, we had the opportunity to move to our current location on East Lexington Ave in downtown El Cajon.  This new facility has provided the needed space and resources to be able to expand the Day Program to accept more clients, as well as offer more vocational programs. 


Our Day Program is open from 8am-2pm (Monday-Friday).

Vocational Sites

We are excited to be involved in a growing number of vocational sites, teaching our clients a wide variety of work skills. It is our goal to achieve maximum independence with each client in the area of work that they enjoy most! Keep reading to learn about the current vocational sites that we are able to offer our clients...

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Softball Field Maintenance

We recently secured a new client work site, maintaining the Lakeside ASA softball fields! The clients love it! At this work site, we are currently picking up trash on and off the fields, sweeping and cleaning the dug-outs and sidewalks, and tidying up the restrooms. This is a wonderful opportunity to not only practice and expand appropriate work-skills and behaviors, but also to give back to the community! It also makes us ALL think twice before littering! (at left: Robert, Rachel, Desiree, Levi, and Kenny)

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Hillside Garden

We are very excited with what is happening at our HIllside Garden Site! Currently this site is being expanded to have more plants, planting areas, as well as a brand new Gazebo to provide more working and resting space! This site provides an excellent opportunity for our clients to practice following directions, staying on task, and finding fulfillment in completing tasks and seeing the fruit (literally!) of their labor! The tasks at this site include: watering, weeding, planting, harvesting, pruning, tending to our worm farm, rotating/stirring the mulch, sweeping, raking, and more!

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7-11 Retail Support

One of our newest vocational site is the 7/11 on Los Coaches Road in Lakeside. A group of clients attends this site two times a week and works hard to help with whatever tasks are available that week. Tasks include: deep-cleaning of shelves and counters, restocking the many coolers and trash abatement in the parking lot and gas area.


Every other week the Promising Futures “Green Team” travels up to the San Diego Regional Center on Ruffin Road to collect recycling. The team provides recycling bins, sorts out the trash from recyclables, cleans each bin and re-lines each bin with a new bag. Each visit, the team inspects all 3 floors at the Regional Center and takes the recycling to the local recycling center. SDRC also employs the Green Team for recycling purposes at various events put on by the regional center.  


 In addition to recycling at SDRC, Promising Futures has gone green too! Weekly, the Green Team collects all the recyclables at the Center for Independent Achievement (CIA) and recycles at the Santee Recycling Center. This includes, but not limited to cans and bottles, shredded paper and old electronics.

Shopping for CIA and Residential Homes

CIA employs its clients to do the weekly shopping for both the CIA day program and the residential homes! Weekly, various clients collect lists from each location, shop at the Santee Costco and deliver the items to their appropriate places.


In addition to the Costco shopping, a skilled group of clients do additional weekly shopping at Albertson’s for items that are not in bulk. By having our clients do as much as possible for the program, it helps to instill a sense of pride and accomplishment in all they do.

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Scott's Snack Shack

CIA is dedicated to individualized programming and ensuring each client has work that is appropriately suited to their abilities and needs. One example is our Snack Shack. This small store is manned by one client daily; he is responsible for promoting and selling his products, creating a weekly re-stocking list and joining the group that attends Costco to restock the store.

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Dance Class

Our clients have the opportunity to participate in a fun Dance Class offered twice each week. This is not only a great way to get in some healthy exercise but also have a blast. They learn different routines and enjoy upbeat music. With so many of our clients being music-driven, this class is an essential part of our program. Be sure to check out our video!

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Thrift Store

Every week our clients love to help out our local Unity Thrift Store! The clients assist with: bringing out new merchandise, ensuring there are enough hangers, organizing different sections and rotating items in the clearance section. This is a great way for our clients to build necessary skills needed in the retail field. They truly enjoy the work they do here, as well as interacting with the staff and customers.

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Humane Society

Our most recent work site addition is the brand-new Humane Society! Each week our clients assist with folding laundry, assembling cat litter boxes and cat carriers. They then help organize all of the cat carriers and litter boxes to ensure they are easily accessible to staff when needed. The clients love helping out all of the animals and after a hard day’s work they pop in to visit them too!

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