1. How many people and how many tours do you take? Between 700 and 750 travelers per year. Most are between the ages of 20 and 40 however the youngest to date has been 7 and oldest 89! We almost always have a tour coming or going with anywhere from 1 to 6 tours per month.
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  2. What is the size of a typical tour group and how many tour guides (staff) are needed? Tours range from twelve to 20 people. The average ratio is one tour guide for four travelers. Those with more severe disabilities may need one-to one care.
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  3. Who are the tour guides? Are they paid or volunteers? Tour guides are special education instructors, recreation therapists, and other direct care staff who are specially trained to work with people with disabilities. All have been certified in first aide/CPR, medication administration, and water safety. Some are paid and some are volunteers.
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  4. Which destinations are the most popular? The same as for the general population: Disneyland, Hawaii, Las Vegas, and cruises.
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  5. What is included in the cost?All meals, transportation during the tour, accommodations, entertainment, snacks, and tips. The traveler need only bring money for souvenir shopping.
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  6. What is not included in the cost?Tour fees are based on travelers receiving care at a 1:4 ratio. If a tighter ratio of care is needed there is an additional fee to cover the basic expenses of bringing an additional staff. Tour fee does not include roundtrip airfare from your home airport to LAX. If you need to fly to LAX, we will make all arrangements & adjust your bill accordingly. Please note an additional $25 booking fee will be added to the plane fare.

  7. What is the organization’s annual budget and how are you funded?$2,043,000 million. By tour fees and donations from individuals, businesses and foundations. Donations total about $433,000 annually.
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  8. Why are the tours so expensive? Actually the tour fees are a bargain considering what is provided. Fees include all travel expenses for the participants (they only bring money for souvenirs) as well as for the skilled staff who accompany the travelers and provide 24-hour supervision and care at a 1:4 ratio. There are extensive pre and post tour preparations in our office to ensure pleasant and safe trips; all arrangements are coordinated to get the traveler safely to and from the tour departure point. Fees include three quality restaurant meals daily and first class activities and entertainment. Generous In-Kind donations often allow for accommodations at 4 or 5 star hotels, without these donations the fees would be much higher.
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  9. How many travelers receive scholarships? This depends upon donations received. Our priority is to give scholarships for the holiday tours and about half of the holiday travelers receive full or partial travel scholarships. For tours at other times of the year, about 20% receive scholarships. The majority of scholarships given are in the $500 - $1000 range. Due to the generous donations of our contributors, we are able to give over $100,000 a year in scholarships.
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  10. How many staff do you have? In the office we employ 4 full time and 3 part time staff. We are also proud to have 4 employees with developmental disabilities in fully paid part time positions. We have about 80 on call tour guides. We also have about 120 people who regularly volunteer their services.
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  11. How do you decide where to go? Suggestions and requests from our travelers, parents and care providers.
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  12. How does the traveler meet up with the tour group? We have pick up/drop off points throughout California. For those flying in, there is often a tour guide on the flight or a tour guide will meet the traveler as he/she exits the plane and escort the traveler to the plane at the end of the tour. We have arranged safe connections for over 18,000 travelers.
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  13. What do you do on the trips? For each tour there is a custom arranged and flexible itinerary tailored to the special needs of our travelers. Itineraries include the most well- known and highest quality tourist activities. The flexible itinerary and the 1:4 ratio ensure that each traveler has his or her individual interests met.
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  14. Are the tours safe? Yes. New Directions has an impeccable safety record. There are enormous amounts of pre tour arrangements and details to ensure safety and safety is the number one goal during the tours. We leave “no stone unturned” related to safety precautions.
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  15. How did Dee come up with this idea? Prior to starting New Directions, our founder and current executive director Dee Duncan worked at a large residential facility for people with developmental disabilities. Some of Dee’s duties were to arrange travel vacations as a part of the facility’s program. Following the tours Dee observed striking improvements in the participants’ independent living skills, life skills and self-esteem. Dee realized that these tours were the most effective educational program being provided to the residents while simultaneously providing the perfect environment for educating the general public and promoting acceptance of people with disabilities. These results were so profound that Dee has dedicated her life to making the benefits of travel available for people with developmental disabilities more widely available.
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  16. How can I get involved? By volunteering in the office or on tour or by giving a tax-deductible donation.

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