The has named Connie Pelissero as the Business Person of the Year. Pelissero is the Program Director of the Cedars of Marin Textile Art Center, Hands and Earth Senior Program.
In 1981 Connie Pelissero took a leave of absence from Marin County Office of Education as a special education teacher. Back then there was only one option for “Special Ed” students after graduation in Marin County – a sheltered workshop. Connie approached in 1981 to create a new concept in Day Programs.
Ms. Pelissero opened the first store, , on Center Blvd. across from the current in 1989; currently the store is on San Anselmo Avenue. The Cedarchest allowed individuals with developmental disabilities to be active members of their community. San Anselmo was a natural choice with the many wonderful, supportive neighbors, businesses, schools, and fire and police department personnel.
Working with individuals who experience life challenges each and every day has given her life purpose and joy, in creating new program options for the persons served throughout Marin County.
Connie grew up in Marin and has seen many changes in the county, and feels fortunate to have been able to effect some of the changes. In 1991, the Developmental Disabilities Council of Marin, as well as Senator Milton Marks, then Chair of the California Legislature Senate Subcommittee on the Rights of the Disabled, recognized Connie for her many contributions to the developmentally disabled.
Connie states, "All of this would not have been possible without the support and enthusiasm of the San Anselmo community. The San Anselmo community has made a difference in the lives of so many individuals who have passed through the doors of The Cedars. I am humbled by the San Anselmo Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year nomination, and thank you from the bottom of my heart."
Cedars Hands and Earth Day Program
Individuals participating in this program choose and design their own curriculum from among the primary program components: textile handcraft, gardening/horticulture, animal husbandry, nutrition/cooking, healthy home living skills, arts, crafts, music and functional academics. An experiential self-paced learning model is used. Entrepreneurial business projects are encouraged and supported.
There are employment opportunities in the field of gardening. Job contracts are maintained throughout Marin County. Production hand weavers create custom designs marketing their finished products through sales at or through custom orders, providing great income opportunities for individual weavers.
Individuals learn to feed and care for sheep, alpacas, angora rabbits, and even silkworms. These natural fibers are utilized in many areas of the program.
Gardeners learn basic gardening and horticulture methods from starting seeds and cuttings to planting, pruning, harvesting crops - and selling produce at the local farmer's markets.
This program assists older adults in maintaining their highest level of independence and self-sufficiency. Emphasis is placed on keeping the aging body healthy, alert, and active with structured daily exercise programs and stimulating activities. Participants plan field trips to museums, parks, libraries and specific institutions that provide a variety of seasonal activities as well as local events.
This program is designed to meet each individual's needs and incorporates activities that provide purpose and enjoyment to each day. Program components include interactive games, music, bowling, bocce ball, gentle nature walks, raised bed gardening, and rabbit care. There is a concerted emphasis on creativity through arts and crafts which are then sold at The Artist Within - A Cedars Gallery.
San Anselmo Chamber of Commerce
P. O. Box 2844
San Anselmo, CA 94979-2844