About us

Bringing people together.

Founded in 1984, Hearts & Minds Activity Center is the first large-capacity dementia-specific adult day program in the country. Since its inception, Hearts & Minds has provided services to over 6,000 individuals living with dementia and their families.

Our mission is to enrich the lives of people affected by Alzheimer’s Disease and related conditions by providing interactive, safe, nurturing, intergenerational services and support.

Dedicated to our clients

Over the years we have learned how to create a natural environment in a safe and home-like setting.

  • Hearts & Minds provides quality care for up to 90 clients per day
  • We are open Monday-Friday, 7:30 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Our on-site licensed childcare center allows daily intergenerational activities with our seniors

To see our annual report, click here. To see our 990s, click here.

Overall, caregivers feel that the services of Hearts & Minds helps to delay nursing home placement and improve their ability to care for a family member.

  • 99% of the caregivers we serve report a reduction in their stress level as a result of bringing their loved one to the Center
  • 100% of caregivers report that the attendance of their family member helps maintain or stabilize their functional abilities

Virtual tour

Tour the center and learn about our services from the comfort of your home. Our virtual tour will take you through our childcare, three program rooms and expansive outdoor space designed specifically for the needs of persons with dementia.

Our team

Maria Nicolacoudis joined Hearts & Minds Activity Center as Executive Director in April 2016, shortly after her brother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.  Initially drawn by the intergenerational services of Hearts & Minds Activity Center, the quality of care, open environment, and connection with the caregivers is what further motivated her to want to become a part of the organization. Maria brings twenty-five years of experience working in mental health, providing workforce development and rehabilitation services for youth and adults with disabilities. She has developed model, local, and state-wide service programs and social enterprises and served as a corporate consultant for integrated workforce issues.  As Executive Director of Hearts & Minds Activity Center, she is responsible for program, staff, and financial administration as well as fundraising and Executive leadership. Prior to joining Hearts & Minds Activity Center, Maria was the Executive Director of Expandability for eighteen years and has served on several Boards and commissions including HOPE, SCCCED, and the CUHSD Education Foundation.  She was a Governor’s appointee to the California Governor’s Committee for the Employment of Persons with Disabilities and an appointee of the California State Secretary of Health and Human services to the California Committee for the Employment of Persons with Disabilities where she served as chair for four years.  Maria received a BA from UC Santa Cruz in Psychology, an MA from Santa Clara University in Counseling Psychology, and post-graduate certification in Rehabilitation Management from San Diego State University.

Barbra’s role as Operations Manager is multi-faceted; not only does she act as assistant to the Executive Director, but she also manages facilities maintenance and supports both Hearts & Minds Activity Center’s childcare and adult day programs as well as members of staff in any capacity required of her. Prior to joining Hearts & Minds Activity Center in 2001, Barbra served as sole caregiver to her former husband for a number of years.  This hands-on experience, in tandem with her deep commitment to helping others, drove her to seek an organization in which her skills and knowledge would effectively be utilized.  With the prevalence of diagnosis growing exponentially, Barbra recognizes that the respite services that Hearts & Minds Activity Center provides make a noticeable difference for caregivers and fosters a community in which clients feel a sense of value and belonging.

Annie has built a career in senior care in the South Bay. Born and raised on the Peninsula, she has extensive experience with older adult program development, having managed senior programs at Avenidas in Palo Alto, and at the Rose Kleiner Adult Day Health Care in Mountain View. She has directed large PACE programs (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) with On Lok in San Jose, and most recently at the Institute on Aging in San Francisco. Annie is pleased to join the Hearts and Minds team!

Since 1992, as a preschool teacher and later Childcare Center Director, Rosa has ensured that the children of the childcare center receive quality care through intergenerational services and experiential learning opportunities. Rosa attended Universidad Centroamericana in El Salvador where she studied business administration.  Upon her arrival to the United States, she completed the requisite certifications at WestMed College to become both a teacher and program director, driven by a strong desire to work with children and shape their development in a positive, meaningful way.  She values Hearts & Minds Activity Center’s close-knit community and each teacher’s unwavering commitment to providing children with a safe, enriching, and nurturing environment.

Michelle’s passions for wellness, building relationships, and being part of an organization that helps serve and enrich the lives of others is what attracted her to the Hearts & Minds Activity Center. In addition, having a grandparent suffer from dementia, she understands first-hand the impact facilities like Hearts & Minds Activity Center have. Upon completion of her bachelor’s degree in Health Promotion, Michelle has spent the past 15 years in numerous health and wellness roles. She has worked with a variety of demographics in different environments, including hospitals, medical care facilities, and corporate offices. Michelle loves connecting others to the tools and resources available to support them. In her role as Liaison Services Coordinator, Michelle is focused on expanding the volunteer network and supporting the intergenerational program. From her prior experience of building a volunteer network from the ground up and her own personal involvement as a volunteer, she understands how valuable a strong volunteer network is to any organization and the important role they play. Michelle is deeply interested in furthering her education and pursuing a master’s degree. In her spare time, she enjoys the outdoors, baking, reading, and spending time with friends and family.

Meet May, our Activities Engineer. May has been with Hearts & Minds for just over eight years. Just over a year ago, we understood that in order to meet the changing needs of our clients, we needed someone who could specialize in creating and modifying activities for persons with varying levels of abilities and preferences. We created the Activities Engineer position and May was the answer! Her experience and creativity motivate her to invent activities that bring people joy. She is skilled at modifying activities that people used to enjoy so they can find the same enjoyment at Hearts & Minds. May does this by researching the interests of the clients and families for inspiration to develop new or modified activities. For instance she developed a jeopardy game that can be modified for our varied clients who enjoy trivia. She also developed and built cactus ring toss, a modified ring toss game that is ergonomic for staff and more interesting and inclusive for clients. May feels that there is nothing like seeing a smile on someone’s face when they enjoy an activity!

PROGRAM STAFF

Hearts & Minds Activity Center’s Engagement Facilitators and Preschool Teachers, most of whom are multilingual, are highly skilled and receive ongoing monthly training. Staff are extremely passionate about the individuals they serve and are committed to providing quality, person-centered care.

BOARD MEMBERS

  • Marcos Herrera, Board President, Retired V.P. of Engineering
  • James Ward, Board Treasurer, Global Commercial Sales Strategy Leader, Amazon
  • Pam Lonero, Board Secretary, Human Resources Global Consultant
  • Richard Eggleston, Director of Facilities, eBay
  • Annie Ward, Marketing Manager
  • Sara Johnson, Major Gifts Officer, Second Harvest of Silicon Valley
  • Ying Luan, Associate Director of Biostatistics, Pharmacyclics
  • Henry Castaniada, Interim Regional Director, CalStateTEACH
  • Kevin Cuccias, Retired
  • Michael Ottobani, Managing Director, Accenture

We are an inclusive
organization

Here at the Hearts & Minds Activity Center, we understand that the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia transcend cultural, racial, and socioeconomic boundaries. As such, we are committed to cultivating a diverse, inclusive environment for our clients, families, staff, volunteers, supporters, and community members. We strive to serve all our clients and families equally, without bias against race, religion, economic status, disability status, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

And, while equal care is our number one priority, we also acknowledge the systemic barriers that prevent those affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia from having access to quality care. It is our mission to combat said systemic barriers, and ensure all of our current and prospective clients and families receive the highest level of care and support. All persons are welcomed, valued, and respected at the Hearts and Minds Activity Center.

“The staff have worked miracles with my mom. They understand exactly how to interact with her so that she can get through her days without having to suffer from the stress and sadness of Alzheimer’s. She was inconsolable for many months before we enrolled, and now she has a reason to get up each day and find happiness again.”

D.C.