SAN MARCOS — A San Diego-based nonprofit recently celebrated the grand opening of a center designed to provide vocational training to individuals with developmental disabilities in San Marcos.
TERI Campus of Life celebrated the Sept. 23 grand opening of the Tom & Mary Tomlinson Vocational Center, a first-of-its-kind hub that features professional training opportunities for special-needs individuals, a retail shop and café.
The new inland center is the second completed project following TERI’s Therapeutic Equestrian Center in 2015. A total of eight buildings are planned for the site, including a health and wellness center, aquatics center, culinary institute and fine arts center.
The retail shop, Sheri’s – A Unique Boutique, and Common Grounds Café and Coffee Bar, will open to the public in early October.
Kim Jacklin, chief development officer at TERI, told The Coast News that those participating in the vocational training will have the opportunity to work in the boutique or the coffee shop, experiencing hands-on vocational training.
“TERI has a 41-year history of working with people with disabilities. I’m a parent myself, and I think their gifts are often overlooked, and people see the disability rather than the individual,” Jacklin said. “We want the community at large to see their gifts and how they can integrate into the community and serve a useful purpose.”
TERI’s Campus of Life is set on 20 acres in San Marcos and was created with sustainability in mind, said Jacklin. The campus has incorporated more than 40 features that will minimize its ecological footprint.
Once the campus is completed, it will include 6.5 acres of certified organic farming to cultivate fruits, herbs and produce to be used in its training programs.
Upon the campus’ completion, current facilities in Oceanside in San Marcos will relocate to the campus.
“To create a facility that is unique in the world and meets the holistic needs of developmentally disabled children and adults is humbling and exciting, to say the least,” said CEO and Founder Cheryl Kilmer in a statement. “TERI’S Campus of Life outreach will extend far beyond those whose own lives are directly enriched with its creation. Those individuals will then, in turn, share that impact with others, and those with others still, shining a light on abilities awareness, cultivating kindness, and believing in the individual potential within each of us.”
The new vocational center will be open for enrollment in mid-October.