Why we Started
My Life Foundation, Inc. (MLF) was established in July, 2004 as a non-profit agency to provide quality services to individuals with developmental disabilities. To ensure greater integrity and sustainability, My Life Foundation was formed with a board of directors which serves as the foundation’s governing committee to oversee operations and services.
MLF has now been providing services for over a decade. The organization started with 15 staff serving 5 clients in a supported living program. MLF now serves over 125 individuals and employs more than 215 dedicated staff. MLF serves a large geographic area from the Westside of Los Angeles to the San Fernando Valley and Palmdale.
MLF’s growth has been made possible by the great work and dedication of the direct staff and by the superb leadership of Tim DeHaven, Jim DeHaven, Edgar Madrigal, and Erik Duzell Sr.
In addition to our supported living services we now have added the My Day program providing specialized day services to those who are either medically fragile or whose behavioral needs are such that they are not a good fit for traditional day programs.
With this in mind, the Board and founder, David Bunker, began a strategic planning process in the fall of 2019. They are in the preliminary stages of working with a consultant, Dr. Betty Glick, who will facilitate the process for MLF. This will be the Foundation’s first strategic plan. It will help the organization better plan for the future and provide a framework for improvement and maximizing strengths.
The desire to support people with disabilities comes from a very personal place. At age two, David Bunker’s twin brother, Doug, developed a brain tumor causing severe physical and intellectual disabilities. Through his parent’s efforts, Mr. Bunker learned that with some creative thinking and hard work, anything is possible.
David’s parents made the decision to raise Doug at home knowing that their lives would be different, however they wanted to make sure that Doug’s disability wouldn’t stop the family from doing all the fun things that families do together. Having Doug in their lives gave them all the opportunity to know him, see him grow, and teach everyone a little more about the world and the people that live in it. Even though Doug has physical and cognitive difficulties, he was included in camping trips, boat trips, day outings to amusement parks, dirt bike rides, and tandem bicycle rides. Doug and David shared a bedroom for 18 years until David went to college. In those years they played, cried, laughed; doing all the things that siblings and families do together. The whole family was richer for having Doug in their lives.
All this may not seem unusual by today’s standards, but in the early ‘60s this was an immense accomplishment. Doug’s parents had no instructional support from a state agency, no occupational therapist who came to their home to ensure all the needed equipment was available, no respite services to give his parents a deserving break, and no support from their local school system to teach Doug much needed skills. The law that created the regional center system, which provides support for people with developmental disabilities, didn’t occur until Doug was nearly 11 years old. David has often stated that the lessons he learned from his parents and Doug provided him with the best education on how to support, teach, and provide a quality of life for a person with a developmental disability. These experiences created some of the philosophical principles that My Life Foundation is built upon; principles that we use everyday in providing services that are centered around the individual and assisting them in building a quality life.