Meet the new Chair of the WRC Board of Directors!

Dr. Sofia M. Vergara is the new Board Chair at WRC. She earned her Doctorate in Educational Leadership for Social Justice from Loyola Marymount University (LMU), as well as her Masters there in Secondary Education. Since 2017, she has been teaching university classes on Disability and Multiculturalism in Special Education at LMU. For the past 14 years, she has also taught Spanish at New Roads High School in Santa Monica. She earlier graduated from UC Berkeley with a major in Political Science and double-minors in Spanish and Disability Studies. More recently, she along with a colleague have launched a new nonprofit, Bridges to Inclusion, to provide services to empower educators, families and students with disabilities. A life-long learner, dedicated educator, and motivated and inspiring advocate, she was unanimously elected as the first client to lead in the history of WRC. Congratulations Dr. Vergara!


La Dra. Sofía M. Vergara es la nueva presidenta de la Junta Directiva del WRC. Cuenta con un doctorado en Liderazgo Educativo para la Justicia Social y una maestría en Educación Secundaria, ambos por la Universidad Loyola Marymount (LMU). Desde 2017, imparte clases sobre las discapacidades y el multiculturalismo en la educación especial en la LMU. Por otra parte, lleva 14 años enseñando español en New Roads High School en Santa Mónica. Anteriormente, se graduó de la carrera de Ciencias Políticas con especialidad (minors) en Español y Estudios sobre la Discapacidad, en UC Berkeley. Más recientemente lanzó, junto con una colega, una nueva organización sin fines de lucro, Bridges to Inclusion, con el fin de brindar servicios para fortalecer a los educadores, familias y estudiantes con discapacidades. Aprendiz permanente, educadora dedicada y defensora motivada e inspiradora, fue elegida por unanimidad como la primera clienta en encabezar el WRC en su historia. ¡Felicidades!



WRC Holiday Closure

Disneyland Resort Community Involvement Program

The Annual reduced price Disneyland Resort Community Involvement Program (CIP) has been put on hold. Information for the program should be available until the beginning of the year 2020. We will be updating information as time goes on. Below you can find the response we received from the Disneyland CIP Program.

Thank you for your interest in the Disneyland Resort Community Involvement Program. To provide the best guest experience possible, we are reviewing the current program and will provide more information on the updated program before the end of the year.

Thank you for your patience.

Corporate Citizenship
Disneyland® Resort Public Affairs


A Letter from our Interim Executive Director

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing this letter to inform the Westside Regional Center Community that effective this week, I have formally assumed the role as Interim Executive Director and will also maintain my current position as the Director of Clinical Services.  I plan to remain in the interim position until a permanent Executive Director is hired. 

I know that many of you are already aware that I was asked to fill this role, however, up to this point Carmine Manicone, the exiting Executive Director, and I have been collaborating in this capacity.  Carmine has been invaluable in assisting me in this difficult transition.  He is no longer available on site but will continue to assist me remotely in a consultation role. 

I know this is a difficult time and yet another transition for us here at Westside Regional Center.  However, I also know that we are a strong and resilient agency and community.  I ask for everyone’s continued support and also your input as I formally assume this role.

I have asked for an email to be set up, where everyone can write me specifically with their concerns and thoughts.  I have a big pair of shoes to fill and will need the help and support of everyone. Thanks in advance for your understanding.


Thompson Kelly, Ph.D.

Interim Executive Director

Westside Regional Center

5901 Green Valley Circle Ste. 320

Culver City, Ca. 90230

Ph. (310) 258-4171

Fax (310) 338-9744


A Message from our Board of Directors

July 22, 2019

Dear Clients and Families of Westside Regional Center,

We are writing to inform you that, after a great deal of thought and concern, the Board of Directors of Westside Regional Center (WRC) has decided not to renew the contract of the current Executive Director, Carmine Manicone. Carmine has led our regional center for the past three years, in addition to 14 years in other positions. We thank him for his dedication and wish him well.

We wanted to reach out to you directly and assure you that this change will not affect your services. You will continue to receive support from your service coordinator and other regional center staff. We promise to work diligently to find a new director and will keep you informed of our efforts and provide you with opportunities for input and feedback. Please know that the Board of Directors, made up mostly of people with developmental disabilities and family members, did not make this decision lightly.At this point, with the approval and input of Carmine, we are fortunate to have Dr. Tom Kelly accept the position of Interim Executive Director. Currently Dr. Kelly is the Director of Clinical Services at Westside Regional Center and is a member of WRC’s executive management team.

Our Board is filled with dedicated volunteers who represent you and the nearly 10,000 stakeholders that make up the people we serve. Our roles are varied and include approving the regional center’s annual budget and significant contracts with vendors, developing policies on the services available for funding, and reviewing the performance of the Executive Director, among other duties.

We are committed to a regional center that is responsive, respectful, and fair-minded. We work hard to ensure that the regional center is providing the services that you deserve. We prioritize eliminating the substantial racial and ethnic disparities that affect so many in our community. As new opportunities and changes arise in our program areas we work to respond to them–like providing oversight of the regional center’s implementation of the Self-Determination Program, the new rule requiring inclusive settings, and the shift towards Person-Centered Thinking. In all these endeavors, we strive to make sure that every family’s and individual’s voice is heard.

We know our regional center can do better and we are committed to working closely with our devoted staff to explore areas for improvement and respond to your concerns. We invite any questions or comments you may have and encourage you to come to our Board meetings, committee meetings and other public forums—which are posted on our website at: You may also contact us by email at We hope you will join us at our next Board meeting on September 11, 2019 on the 3rd floor boardroom of the Westside Regional Center where your input will be valued.

Over 50 years ago, when parents fought for the passage of the Lanterman Act that created the regional centers, it was envisioned that this new system would be led by the people with developmental disabilities and their families through volunteer boards of directors. The farsighted law also confirmed that individuals with developmental disabilities “should be empowered to make choices in all life areas,” and stated that “the contributions made by parents and family members in support of their children and relatives with developmental disabilities are important and those relationships should also be respected and fostered.”

More than a half-century later, these are the values that we continue to fight for.We thank you for your support during this time of transition. We take our oversight responsibilities as Board members very seriously and will continue to work hard on behalf of all of Westside Regional Center clients and families every single day.

With respect,

The members of the Westside Regional Center Board of Directors


Self Determination Local Advisory Committee

August 8, 2019 at 6:00pm


This meeting that is held on the second Tuesday of each month at Westside Regional Center from 6:00-8:00 pm, except for the month of August 2019. The committee shall consist of the regional center client’s rights advocate, consumers, family members, and other advocates and community leaders. A majority of the committee shall be consumers and their family members. The committee shall reflect the multicultural diversity and geographic profile of the catchment area. The committee shall review the development and ongoing progress of the Self Determination Program, including whether the program advances the principles of self determination and is operating consistent with the requirements of this section, and may make ongoing recommendations for improvement to the regional center and the department. All are welcome to attend these meetings.


July & August 2019 Training and Events Bulletin Now Available!

Click to Download in English:

WRC Training and Events Bulletin July & August 2019

Click to Download in Spanish:

Boletin de Entrenamiento–Julio & Agosto 2019



Self-Determination Update as of 1/10/19–Orientations are Still Postponed at this Time

The Self-Determination Orientations originally scheduled for January 2019 have been postponed. WRC is awaiting the approval of the orientation materials by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS). In the meantime, you can stay informed by attending the Self Determination Local Advisory Committee (LAC) meetings. They are typically held on the second Tuesday of every month in the WRC Boardroom. The next LAC is February 12th at 6:00pm.  Additionally, please visit our WRC Self-Determination Page.  

New Information on Independent Facilitators (IF) and Financial Management Services (FMS):

View the directive related to Independent Facilitators and  view the directive related to Financial Management Services (FMS)  in the Self-Determination Program (SDP).  This information is also available on the Department of Developmental Services’ (DDS)  website at  DDS is continuing to work on additional SDP information, including training for local advisory committee members and regional centers on conducting participant orientations and guidance for developing the individual budget.  Updates on progress in completing these and other items needed as we move toward implementation will also be posted on the Department’s website.  If you have any questions, please send an email to