The JJs List Blog

Disability Awareness Training at Toad & Co. in Santa Barbara

Posted by on May 23, 2016 - 4 Comments


The Disability Awareness Players are always seeking ways to break through barriers and push our own expectations further than ever!


On Monday, May 16th, we went even further!  Toad & Co., based in Santa Barbara, California, recruited the team to travel out west for a management level Disability Awareness Training.

Toad & Co., founded in 1997, is a clothing retailer that has committed to giving a percentage of their revenues to individuals with developmental disabilities from the outset.  The Planet Access Company was one of the earliest efforts, intended to provide job training and work experiences.  The Planet Access Warehouse, located in Chicago, employs individuals with developmental disabilities as part of this effort.

In 2001, Toad & Co. partnered with Search, Inc.,’s parent company, to fund trips for individuals with disabilities in a program called Search for Adventure.  As a result, over 200 people have traveled on 80 trips around the country.


Tim, one of the Disability Awareness Players wrote about his experience:

It was a great experience to travel all the way to Santa Barbara, CA with the JJ’s List team for the first time and the Disability Awareness Training was very successful. We flew on United Airlines from Chicago O’Hare to LAX and the flight both ways was fantastic.

While I was in California, I enjoyed getting food from In’n’Out Burger, which was a restaurant that I’ve always wanted to try.  I knew some friends from high school who have been to California and have eaten at In’n’Out Burger and recommended it.  I was glad that we all stopped there to order food to go while we were on the road.  Now I can say I’ve been there and recommend it.

I also enjoyed our hotel that we stayed at.  There were some outdoor places to hang out, and we all hung around outside while we rehearsed our script the day before our presentation.  The place where we rehearsed was right by the outdoor pool, and we got some snacks and drinks when we were there.  I also enjoyed our drive on the road when we got a great view of the mountains and the Pacific Ocean.  We all had fun spending time together on a one day trip to Santa Barbara, CA.

One thing that stood out the most during the trip was when I got to meet some of the people who work for Toad and Company on the day of the Disability Awareness Training.  They seemed very engaged and eager to learn from all of us as Disability Awareness Players.




It was great to meet Gordon Seabury from Toad and Company, and when I saw him later that week at a Search, Inc. Benefit, he said how much he and so many others loved the presentation.  They were all glad that we came all the way out to Santa Barbara, CA to train the business about being disability friendly.

I feel very grateful that I got to attend this wonderful trip.  I enjoyed the flight, a great view on the road trip, going out to eat, and most of all, getting this great experience training a business in Santa Barbara about being disability friendly.  I would definitely go on a trip like this again and this was a great one to remember.




Several workshop attendees gave feedback on their experience:

“It’s really fantastic hearing these stories from people who live it everyday.  The presentation was informative, fun, and enlightening.  Thank you!”  -Matt Strickland

“I think this is an incredibly helpful workshop.  In particular, your stress on asking questions about how to help makes me feel more comfortable reaching out to a customer with disabilities.”  -Giuliana Orsky

“In watching this presentation, I realized that being ‘disability-aware’ actually translates into more ‘human-aware’.  We can all benefit from being more inclusive.” -Anonymous


We also want to send a great big shout-out to United Airlines for being very helpful in the check-in, transportation, boarding, and de-planing processes as well as to Enterprise Rent-A-Car for utilizing wheelchair accessible shuttle buses, which allowed our entire team to stick together throughout the entire travel experience!



Jake says:
May 28, 2016

Excellent blog post. This trip was great but too short for me. I really appreciated all that United Airlines did to make us welcome and to speed things along.

matthew lachapelle says:
May 31, 2016

Wow i glad that you guys had lost of fun there. Was there lot of people there.

Abegail Stahr says:
May 31, 2016

Hi Disability Awareness Players,
I had a fun experience in going to Santa Barbara, when I went there it was so much fun, I went with the Search Inc folks, I was a bit nervous in taking a plane there, it was hot there, too.

Jake says:
Jun 03, 2016

Hi Matt and thanks for writing. Yes there were a lot of people at the training we did out in sunny Santa Barbara. It was a lot of fun, and I think they learned a lot from us.

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