Who We Are

Our Mission


The Mountain Shadows Story

It all started with a chicken ranch and a dream.

Back in 1984, Jim Hooyenga and Don Nydam embarked on a journey to establish a community where individuals with intellectual disabilities could not only live but thrive. Today, their dream is a reality for the 171 intellectually disabled persons who now call Mountain Shadows home.

Inspired by the Intermediate Care Facility for the Developmentally Disabled Habilitative (ICF/DD-H) model that was emerging at the time, Jim and Don set out to find the ideal location upon which to build the foundation of their dream. The perfect site was discovered nestled within the foothills of San Diego’s North County – a flourishing 5 ½ acre chicken ranch and avocado grove in the heart of Escondido.

Mountain Shadows Community Homes – San Diego now sits on those 5 ½ sprawling acres and is home to 105 intellectually disabled adult residents. Consisting of sixteen individually licensed homes, the MSCH campus fosters a family-like environment to encourage the growth and independence of its residents.

In 1990 MSCH was purchased by Doug Cook, whose son Brian lived at MSCH, and a small group of interested parties known as Mountain Shadows, Inc., where the model for today’s operations was established. Three additional community-based homes located in San Marcos were acquired where 18 more adult residents now live. In 2002, the Mountain Shadows Support Group (MSSG) purchased MSCH and transitioned into a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation.

 Shortly thereafter, MSSG acquired its first bus via a State of California Department of Transportation grant process for its Transportation Program, transporting residents to and from their day program sites during the weekdays, and activities and other social events after hours and on weekends. Today the Transportation Program is comprised of 20 buses and transports daily 85 plus residents.

In 2006, to advance their public benefit mission, and standing as an industry leader in the development of the community-based continuum of care concept, MSSG acquired two Intermediate Care Facility for the Developmentally Disabled – Nursing (ICF/DD-N) organizations (Special Care Children’s Homes and C&C Kids Kompany), and combined them into one, Mountain Shadows Community Homes — Riverside. MSCH provides care to infants, children and adolescents and is comprised of 8 residential homes individually situated within family neighborhoods in the Jurupa Valley area of Riverside serving 48 residents.

To further broaden the scope of its support efforts, MSSG launched its day program, Mountain Shadows Outreach Services (MSOS) in 2007. MSOS provides enrichment programs to expand life, leisure and vocational skills and opportunities for over 100 intellectually disabled adults. Since then, other services have been added including independent living skills, respite care, and transportation forming Mountain Shadows Ancillary Services (MSAS).

The MSSG community-based environment enriches the lives of our residents by facilitating active socialization with other residents, staff, and community members. As vital members of our surrounding communities, we also contribute to the socio-economic stability of the North County San Diego and Riverside.

From chicken ranch to vibrant community comprised of twenty-seven homes, serving 171 residents and consumers, and providing work for a staff of more than 400 employees in two Southern California counties – now we’d say that’s something to cackle about.

An individual is considered to have an intellectual disability if they meet the following:
1) Intellectual functioning level (IQ) is below 70-75.
2) Significant limitations exist in two or more adaptive areas.
3) The condition is present from childhood or diagnosed by the age of 18.

Adaptive skills are those needed to live, work, and function in the community. These include: communication, self-care, home living, social skills, leisure, health and safety, self-direction, functional academics, community use, and work. These are assessed in the person’s typical environment across all aspects of an individual’s life.

For more information, call Mountain Shadows at (760)743-3714. We will be available to answer any of your questions regarding any related topic. Also, please refer to links under Online Resources which refer you to other useful sites.

Mountain Shadows is a community of homes designed to provide a normal family-like living environment for individuals with intellectual disabilities. This environment facilitates and encourages the residents to learn the many activities of daily living skills needed to maintain and live in a home. Almost all people with intellectual disabilities are capable of working part time or full time in regular jobs, participate in day programs or attend school.

With the help of committed supporters like you, Mountain Shadows can continue to provide quality services to the individuals with intellectual disabilities we support. Mountain Shadows Foundation (MSF) is the charitable fundraising organization supporting Mountain Shadows Support Group and Mountain Shadows Ancillary Services, and is dedicated to advancing their programs and services through community philanthropic support. Mountain Shadows deeply appreciate all types of donations, including volunteer services, gift-in-kind, and monetary contributions. All Mountain Shadows organizations are 501(c) (3) nonprofit corporations and donations may be tax deductible to the full extent of the law.


MSSG Board of Directors

Richard Shea, Chair
Senior Vice President
Crea, LLC

Ted Brown, Vice Chair President
Growth Assent LLC
Parent of MSCH-SD Resident

Carol Haskin, Secretary
Parent of MSCH-SD Resident

Robert Chakarian, Treasurer
Owner – CPA
Chakarian & Associates

James Arom. Director
Property Loan Officer
Luther Burbank Savings
Sibling of MSCH-SD Resident

Jeffrey Barnson Director
Retired USAF, UPS Pilot
Parent of MSCH-SD Resident

David Erickson Director
Occupational Therapist

John Martindale Director Owner – CFP
Alisa Capital, Inc.

Jeff Mohnhaupt Director Owner Hopper Systems, Inc.

Eric Altona Counsel
Attorney Lounsbery Ferguson Altona & Peak, LLP

Key Staff

Wade Wilde
Executive Director/CFO
Mountain Shadows Support Group
Mountain Shadows Ancillary Services
Mountain Shadows Foundation
Stacy Sullivan
Director of Operations
Mountain Shadows Support Group