For the last three years, the Autism Society Inland Empire received a grant from the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) to continue the Colaboración, Liderazgo, Abogacía, Servicio y Educación (CLASE) Community of Practice for leaders of groups and non-profit organizations that serve Hispanic and Spanish speaking individuals and families with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) here in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.    

CLASE is a group of leaders united to create better communication bridges to address the disparity of services. Our mission is to provide information, educate, train, and empower community group leaders who primarily serve families in the Hispanic community with a loved one with disabilities in the Inland Empire. 

Projects we worked on included developing new resource material shared by the group, increase knowledge and skills around stakeholder advocacy, reducing burnout during COVID, person-centered thinking, and social media marketing.  You can find many of the created resources on the Recursos En Español page. 

CLASE Application Process

1. Potential candidates can be referred by current Community of Practice members or Inland Regional Center. Qualifications for referral is that they are a) leaders in the community or a community group or assisting current leaders and have leadership skills and b) have a basic understanding of what advocacy is and are able to view issues on a systemic level. If someone from the community self-refers then the nomination will be brought to the CLASE group to determine whether to proceed with the process.

2. Applicants are vetted through the leaders who referred them. If self-referral, other agencies and NPOs are asked about their experience.

3. CLASE Facilitator conducts an interview/orientation with candidate to ensure they understand the purpose of CLASE, that they agree and will abide by the rules, and share similar values. The Facilitator will ask the candidate why they want to be part of CLASE, how would they be able to utilize and disseminate the information from CLASE, examples of collaboration, and how they deal with conflict and group dynamics.

4. Perspective candidates will be brought to entire Community of Practice for a vote to accept or reject nomination. Decisions are made by group consensus.

5. Individuals who are accepted into this year’s collaborative will have an opportunity to apply again the following year.

CLASE Members
Application to CLASE