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OCCTAC News - May 2021

OCCTAC Receives $25,000 State of California

Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant!

OCCTAC received a $25,000 State of California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program last month to continue to support our efforts to reopen our nonprofit organization to the community, and once again provide in-person services to families!

Governor Newsom signed into law a comprehensive package providing urgent relief for the small businesses in California and nonprofit organizations. The California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program provided micro grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 to eligible small businesses and nonprofits impacted by COVID-19 and the related health and safety restrictions.


Thank You To Teresa's Jewelers,

Family and Friends

Teresa Saldivar, family and friends donated over 50 beautiful gift bags and jewelry to our older adults for Mother’s Day! Our abuelitas felt so special!

On May 8th, Teresa's Jewelers and friends donated a gift to the older adults in *OCCTAC’s EISOA program to celebrate Mother’s Day! They were so happy to receive these beautiful gifts and to know that there are people like Teresa who are always aware of them. It was not uncommon to receive these gifts from her since the jewelry store has supported the EISOA program in several opportunities during the last years.

As stated by the Program Coordinator, Rosa Garcia “This expression of love and celebration made them feel special and unique!” Program participant Leticia Gonzalez said, “Mrs. Saldivar always keeps in touch with us, and I want to say thank you because during those difficult and sad days (of the pandemic) she remembered us." Carmen Adame said, "Teresa's Jewelers brought me joy during Mother’s Day celebration, not only because of the value of the present that I received, but because I felt special."

In addition to all the wonderful Mother’s Day gifts to all the participants, Teresa generously donated a beautiful bracelet to raise additional funding for our older adults program.

We thank Teresa's Jewelers, her family, and friends for this generous donation to support our older adults’ program at OCCTAC. Last year was a very difficult year for all of them, but today they celebrate all the blessings received! Mil gracias Teresa for your loving heart!

*The EISOA program at OCCTAC provides older adults Early Intervention and Socialization Services to prevent isolation and mental health problems. OCCTAC is funded by MECCA and the County of Orange, Health Care Agency, Behavioral Health Services to provide this free program to our community.


Thank You To

Kendra Scott Of Fashion Island!

We are so grateful to the Kendra Scott store in Newport Beach for choosing us as their charitable partner for the 2nd year for the “Kendra Scott Gives Back” party”! Thanks to Store Manager Jamie Gloss for coordinating the event this March in honor of “Music In Our Schools Month”, which donated 20% of their sales from the party to OCCTAC. On behalf of all the children and families at OCCTAC, we thank you for your generosity and compassion to support families of great need in Orange County. Your generous donation will help support our mission to provide innovative, artistic, educational, and therapeutic programs that transform and inspire children with special needs, at-risk youth and their families to fulfill their highest potential in life. Thank you, Kendra Scott and friends!

Kendra Scott is based out of Austin, Texas. The business now operates over 100 Kendra Scott stores. In addition to selling online and in its own stores, Kendra Scott is also sold at Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, and other specialty boutiques.


Mother's Day 2021

Mothers are pretty special to us here at OCCTAC, and we were honored to celebrate some mothers from our Family Mentoring and Older Adults programs this year. Participants in the Family Mentoring Program had a wonderful time creating special Mother’s Day cards for their loved ones.


OCCTAC/Engage 360 Art Students Honored in

Press-Enterprise Publication

By: Mark Dimalanta

During the recent Covid-19 Pandemic, Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center was pressed to pivot, create virtual curriculum, and engage the students through the Zoom virtual meeting platform. Our society witnessed coarse and divisive themes which caused much anxiety among our community. In partnership with SAUSD Engage 360, OCCTAC was able to reach the community and provided the much-needed creative enrichment that gave balance to their core subjects and improved their social /emotional wellbeing.

We tasked our teachers to inspire their students to create artwork that inspires unity through diversity. The best educational tool was found within Mexican mythology in the form of the “Alebrije” and our California VAPA standards-based curriculum, inspired by Favio Martinez Curiot.

The students combined separate but majestic creatures into one form, hence creating an even more beautiful species strengthened by unity. In essence, each individual creature or symbol uniquely separate, but joined together as one... more beautiful. A lesson we can all learn from during the pandemic’s divisive times.

We are very proud to announce that two students were selected to participate in a county-wide editorial for the Press-Enterprise, written by Allyson Escobar. Their work was featured in “How Students Are Using Art to Channel Covid-19 Fears.” The full article can be found here:

Pictured here: Paola Sanchez, age 10, 4th Grade Adams Elementary SAUSD E360/OCCTAC, Teacher Blanca Ibarra. “From the chaos of darkness, beauty evolves by the fusion of color.” A contrast of colors and form made with Watercolor, chalk, tempera paint on card stock.

Jimena Lemus Perez, age 6, 1st Grade, Santiago Elementary, SAUSD E360/OCCTAC, Teacher Kristina Baker. “Mixed in Unity We Find Love.” The blending of tiger, elephant, butterfly, and giraffe to create a majestic new form, filled with love and smiles. -Media, watercolor, ink, & crayon wax resist.


Interview With OCCTAC's

Director of Arts Education: Part 1

We met up last week with Carlos Beltran Arechiga, OCCTAC’s Director of Arts Education, to discuss the future direction of arts programming at the center and how we plan to safely reopen our facilities to the public.

I: Tell me about the Prep Arts latest project, "Oye Como Va,". How did this project come about? CBA: “’Oye Como Va’ was our response to the current human condition of the pandemic. It started in conversations with Phoebe Stanciell, our Music Coordinator, and we discussed the interconnectedness we have whether we are sheltered at home or not. We went down a rabbit hole about vibrations and quantum physics, and we came to the idea of a project that is multicultural, it has a little bit of an idea of contagion through music. We talked about how color is defined by vibration, that music is vibration, and dancing is an act of vibrating. ‘Oye Como Va’ is easily recognizable, the lyrics are accessible, and musically it was accessible for our students to learn remotely. That was conceptually how we closed the loop, how we could be connected through vibrations while apart.”

I: What have you and the staff and students learned from these projects? How much did the pandemic effect the process? CBA: “If we needed to put it in one sentence, as cliché as it may sound, it proved the power that the arts have to create and develop community. The sense of community. Empowerment. It proved how resilient our community is, that they were able to stay together while apart. And that is a beautiful, powerful thing. It was also one of my quiet intentions to bring our staff together. But I never imagined that they would bond and all pull in the same direction in the way that they did. And the result was clear when you saw our dancers and musicians come together and work and rehearse so well together…it also provided an opportunity for us to bring our OCCTAC community back in person. What blew me away was to witness that synchronicity, that synergy. For me it reaffirmed that the initial concept was true, that we were always connected. And we got to go out there in our rock garden (outside at the OCCTAC center) and vibrate together. Our students were able to further experience the benefits of multidisciplinary collaborations, through music, dance, and the visual arts. It also afforded us an opportunity to go out and shoot in locations, which in turn brought the families back out while maintaining social distancing. It was extremely rewarding to see our students reconnecting. I heard some students, who had never met their instructor in person, say, “wow, you are real!” And I saw their ability to execute what they have learned, which was amazing.

Like our students, our staff were afforded the opportunity to discover what was always accessible to them but they had never experimented with. That is how it came about. It was OCCTAC turning a huge challenge into an opportunity for the benefit of our students and the community.”

We will conclude our interview with Carlos Beltran Arechiga in next month’s newsletter. Stay tuned for more about our plans for the fall and the Summer Premiere of the music video of “Oye Como Va”!


Upcoming Events & Workshops



Preparatory Arts Academy 2021

Classes for our amazing Preparatory Arts Academy are open for registration now! Studio Arts, Dance, Music, Media Arts and more! Call us or visit our website for more information on how your students can be part of the OCCTAC dream!

OCCTAC: 714.547.5468



OCCTAC’s Youth Employment Program is accepting applications! Santa Ana youth between the ages of 16-24 years old interested in gaining paid work experience, job training, and educational assistance are welcome to apply. For more information about the program and requirements please call the OCCTAC at (714)547-5468 and ask to speak with a Youth Employment Program staff member. Meetings are currently taking place by appointment only.


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Become a Donor

Did you know that when you donate, you are improving your own health as well? A study by the University of Oregon found that donating activates the pleasure center in your brain. Voluntary donations are especially pleasurable and improve your happiness, joy, and contentment! OCCTAC is forever grateful to our Supporters and Community Partners! Their donations and support continue to help our Arts Center grow and bring opportunities to our families and community, and you can be part of this as well!

Please help OCCTAC by sharing our Social Media links, liking our page, sharing our events and donating to our center! Find out how by clicking on the link below:

Donate with Amazon Smile!

You can help OCCTAC today by donating money, choosing to donate on a recurring basis, or by designating “Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center” as your charity when purchasing through Amazon via their Amazon Smile program at Here are the simple steps to designate OCCTAC as your charitable organization to receive a portion of the purchase price:

  1. On your first visit to AmazonSmile, you need to select “Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts” to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. Amazon will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at will result in a donation.

  2. If you already use Amazon Smile for another charity, you can change your charity to "Orange County Therapeutic Arts" on your Amazon Smile home page. ​

We appreciate you and your continued support of OCCTAC’s mission to provide innovative, artistic, educational and therapeutic programs that inspire and transform children, at-risk youth, adults and their families to fulfill their highest potential.

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