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About Designated Exceptional Services for Independence (D.E.S.I.)

D.E.S.I. clients meet with U.S. Congresswoman Lucille
            Roybal-Allard in 2018
D.E.S.I. clients meet with U.S. Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard in 2018

Designated Exceptional Services For Independence (or D.E.S.I.) is a nonprofit organization founded in 2008, with the goal of empowering people with intellectual disabilities to achieve more.

D.E.S.I. is active throughout the Greater Los Angeles Area, with most activities centered around historically marginalized neighborhoods in East and Southeast Los Angeles County. D.E.S.I. clients live and work in cities like Bell, Downey, East Los Angeles, Huntington Park, Los Angeles, Maywood, Montebello, Monterey Park, Pico Rivera, South Gate, and Whittier.

D.E.S.I. clients work with professional educators and mentors on a variety of subjects, including health and wellness, nutrition education, personal safety skills, social connection skills, independent living skills, community connection skills, travel training, benefits training, resource navigation, micro-enterprise support and supported employment.

At D.E.S.I., the curriculum is individualized to each client, using a Person-Centered Planning process. The curriculum is presented holistically, with multiple areas of growth occurring at once, and instruction takes place at home and in the community. Each learning goal builds on the next, and many clients continue to progress in their skills training with D.E.S.I. for multiple years.

D.E.S.I. is committed to working with parents, caretakers and other stakeholders to ensure its clients have a continuum of care, and a strong Circle of Support.

It has been stated that 17% of all children under the age of 18, suffer from some form of Intellectual disability. D.E.S.I is an active agent of change in the community, educating and empowering families to learn more about available resources. We understand the prevalence and major risk factors that people with intellectual disabilities face. We encourage the equalization of opportunities for persons with intellectual disabilities.


“I salute women who are helping to strengthen our communities. Women Like Elizabeth Jinzlo. Elizabeth wanted to make sure her disabled daughter had access to the same education and support as any other child. So Elizabeth sprung into action. She founded Designated Exceptional Services for Independence, or D.E.S.I., a non-profit organization in East Los Angeles that empowers individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities .Elizabeth and women all across America have worked in ways big and small to make our nation a better place.”

“AJ’s Community integration program, via D.E.S.I. has made a tremendous difference in his life. ”

Annette Reyes, mother of D.E.S.I. client

“Thank you for everything you do, Gerard is great! DESI has helped my son be social and have something to look forward to. He has had a hard time getting along/liking people and DESI has provided a great staff and services to Kevin.”

Ana Yepes

“I am very happy with your services, the outings you provide for my son are great, they are god sent”

Eleanor Rueda

“I loveeeeee my son Benny Cervantes. Thank u Desi!!”

Nora Cervantes

“Loyalty is the foundation of family. I’ve been blessed to have your support then, and most importantly now.”

Nicholas Alexander Montañez, D.E.S.I. client

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We maintain a list of valuable resources for individuals with intellectual disabilities.