This article was published in the Valley Business Journal in April 2020

JDS Creative Academy (JDSCA) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, located in Temecula, CA that is committed to advancing education in visual, performing and digital arts, including theatre, acting, creative writing, production design and digital production. The organization serves a large, very diverse population that includes youth, teens, adults, at-risk youth and those with special needs and developmental disabilities. The non-profit organization aims to bring awareness to individuals with Autism, Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy and those with learning disabilities. The mission is to provide a creative, safe and collective environment for inclusive opportunities of all ages and abilities to excel in.

Founders Scott and Diane Strand, along with the dynamic board of JDS Creative Academy realized that their vision filled a void in the community when developing the academy in 2014. Yes, there are some colleges, acting programs and creative outlets within Riverside County, but there was something missing. There were no programs tailored to those with unique needs who want to train for a career pathway into a creative and technical industry. Like a trade school, JDS Creative Academy is a job training program and a registered state apprenticeship program. The unique aspect of JDSCA is their relationship with Inland Regional Center as a Title 17 vendor.

These adults, who wish to express their creativity and learn the ins and outs of production and the entertainment industry, have a strict set of rules they must follow in order to be a part of the program. The program is structured in a way that job-training participants are put through a weekly rotation in which they learn skills in several roles that include stage manager, camera operator, teleprompter, associate producer, switcher, talent, audio and gaffer. They put all these skills to work, with the guidance of industry professional mentors, to produce a weekly TV show called The SOI Update. The SOI Update covers sports, weather, community events, road conditions and is broadcasted LIVE on YouTube and RivCo TV throughout the County. Radio producing is also a part of the training program, producing 3 segments a week called the SWIET Spot news. This program is broadcasted on 102.5 the Vine Radio every week.

Not all days are TV and radio production, the JDSCA training program also teaches soft skills and many other professional and life lessons. JDS Creative Academy gives the job training participants goal-oriented reviews, mocking a real job experience in the entertainment industry. JDS Creative Academy is also known for their annual events and live theater performances. The community can always look forward to fantastic performances in the Spring and Winter with their showcases, plays, Summer camp performances, haunted studio and DigiFest Temecula.

DigiFest Temecula, an annual festival that calls for student, amateur and professional content creators to submit their work for judging, exhibiting, screening and enjoyment. This immersive multimedia festival is a fun-filled three-day experience. This year’s festival is rescheduled to take place on the Friday-Sunday weekend of August 21, 22, 23, 2020. Head over to the events website at for more information

JDS Creative Academy is identified as a hidden gem in the community due to its variety of creative special services offered. Although, the program and organization are growing and being recognized; this year JDS Creative Academy was nominated for 2019 nonprofit of the year by the Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce and founder, Diane Strand is nominated for a Xenia Award from Visit Temecula as a 2019 Ambassador of the Year for the Temecula Valley.

Providing a service to the community is far beyond the mission of JDSCA but provides a practical purpose that is so needed in the region. From local news and information, to a pathway to workforce development in a challenging career. Learn more at