Serving People with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities
November 2021 Newsletter
DDRC’s Annual Meeting and Awards
DDRC’s Virtual Annual Meeting and Awards was a celebration of the people and organizations who have been our collaborators, partners, and source of admiration. It was a time to meet our dedicated Board of Directors, to reflect on this year and affirm our commitment to a strong future. Keynote speaker and Board Member Jodi Schoemer shared an intimate story of her family’s connection to DDRC through her sister. Attendees viewed art created by people served by DDRC who expressed what self-advocacy means to them and were entertained by Chris Rivera, DDRC Direct Service Provider, who played piano.
Our Hero of the Year Award honors a person we serve who is mastering the day-to-day challenges of living with a disability while maintaining a positive attitude, exhibiting perseverance and striving for personal achievements.

Joanna Pomeroy, this year’s awardee, lives independently in Lakewood and receives supported living services. When her job at a movie theatre was shut down due to COVID-19, she didn’t let that stop her determination to be gainfully employed and to provide for her dogs, cats and birds. She found a job as a support staff person taking a bus two hours each way across the metro area to continue to work. When the movie theatre re-opened, they welcomed her back, and Joanna took the opportunity to work closer to home and her pets. 

Joanna’s goal is to work with animals. With support from her DDRC job coach and DDRC’s Self Determination Initiative, she pursued funds to create a video resume (on to pursue her desired career. She is developing relationships with employees at a pet store with the hope that these connections may open a door for her. She is a hero for her determination to be “dogged,” even in daunting times, and never give up on her dream. 
As a consistent ally for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, State Representative, Colin Larson was named DDRC’s Legislator of the Year. Recently, he sponsored House Bill 21-1206, focused on Medicaid Transportation Services, which are so important in enabling access to day programs, employment and the community. He also supported a bill to end subminimum wage employment, a practice to which people with IDD have been subjected. His engagement is also personal, as a volunteer and supporter of Stepping Stones day program. 
Three organizations shared DDRC’s Special Recognition Award for their collaboration in advocating for, planning and implementing the COVID 19 DisAbility Vaccine Clinic with DDRC.

The Arc of Jefferson, Clear Creek, Gilpin was a mover and shaker in the cry for the clinic. Their staff also provided much needed day-of friendly assurances to people coming to get their shots. Jefferson County Public Health Department was an ongoing source of help and information during the planning and implementation of the event. And Stride Community Health Center provided vans, vaccines, vaccine refrigeration, nurses and expertise as shots were administered. The event provided crucial health protection and press coverage called attention to the needs and experiences of people with IDD. 
DDRC’s Partner of the Year was awarded to the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) Office of Community Living. Director Bonnie Silva and her team led with transparency and integrity as they assisted DDRC and the entire IDD community in navigating the pandemic. Their work made the difference in many areas that impacted DDRC’s services, including retainer payments for day program, rate enhancements, implementation of telehealth services, hundreds of operational memos, and weekly webinars for providers and CCBs, to name a few. And they are working diligently on implementing the American Rescue Plan dollars, prioritizing workforce issues.  
Three Direct Care Providers were named recipients of the Peg Johnstone Award given by the Developmental Disabilities Foundation. Each of them takes a person-centered approach to strive to make the lives of the people they support more rewarding.
Tarik Razkane works at DDRC’s Weiland Center. He makes sure he knows each person and their support needs and has created a profile to indicate how they communicate, special protocols, activities they enjoy, diet restrictions, etc., to ensure they are supported in a way that’s consistently meaningful to them.

Lorraine Martinez is at DDRC’s Walters Center and has worked for DDRC for over 15 years. She is especially caring and always goes above and beyond but really stepped up during COVID. Lorraine taught herself how to host Zoom activities, embracing technology as a new challenge. She set up 1:1 activities and excelled at hosting group activities such as exercise, cooking, and scavenger hunts, even helping people in service to host their own virtual activities.
The people we serve, parents, and providers say how much they look forward to each day with John Herman. He has created Zoom scavenger hunts, trivia games and a video tour of Golden during COVID. When things opened up more, he took a group on a fishing trip and provided a Zoom link for people who weren’t yet comfortable attending in person. The people joining by Zoom said they were happy to feel like they were right there fishing with friends! 
Michelle Loose was presented with the prestigious Charlie Allinson Award. She has worked at DDRC for 32 years and has supported people in achieving their goals, overcoming challenges, and moving through different stages in their lives. She takes the time to develop relationships with the person in services and their support network of program staff, family, friends, and coworkers. This helps her better understand each person’s perspective, goals, and concerns.

Michelle works diligently to help people understand a very complex system, access needed services and supports, find alternative resources and creative solutions to barriers, and helps people advocate for themselves. Having Michelle in your corner is truly wonderful!
We are grateful for our amazing coworkers, the incredible organizations and people who collaborate with us, and are moved by the example of determination and dignity exemplified in our Hero Awardee. 
A Big Thank You to Realtors of the Giving Back Group
Making our communities stronger… one home at a time,” that’s the value that the Giving Back Group, a RE/MAX Alliance partner, lives and works by. Five-star rated brokers Rick Avery and Victor Pereira generously donate 20% of their commission and offer each of their clients the opportunity to designate DDRC (or another favorite nonprofit) as the recipient upon the completion of a home sale. 

Recently DDRC was grateful to be honored by a family who had benefited from DDRC Children and Family Support Services. That family requested that the Giving Back Group designate DDRC as the beneficiary, so Rick and Victor presented DDRC with a check for $3,257! 
Donations to DDRC are so crucial, as they allow us to provide services and supports above and beyond the funding that Medicaid Waivers provide. 
The Giving Back Group is making an impact across the metro area with their contributions to a variety of nonprofits based on their seller’s wishes. If you or someone you know is selling a property and want to be a part of this wonderful movement, contact them at or call or text Rick at 303.881.4881.
The Embodiment of Our Values and a First-Ever
For many participants, unified sport is kind of like walking toe-to-toe and being heart-to-heart. People with and without disabilities play together on teams, develop an appreciation for each other, and get a sense of oneness - where differences add to the whole. It’s where welcoming and inclusion meld into one.

DDRC’s Therapeutic Learning and Recreation has had many terrific volunteers join their unified sports activities, including DDRC teams entering Special Olympics. This October, one of those volunteers, Robert Hulstrom, was inducted into the Special Olympics Hall of Fame as their first ever Unified Partner of the Year! 

“This day isn’t about me. This day, and every day, is about the athletes and us together, since without them, we wouldn’t be here. They have made me a better person,” Robert Hulstrom said as he invited Curtis to share the stage with him to receive the Special Olympics Unified Partner of the Year award.

Curtis was the first athlete Robert ever volunteered with as a unified partner. 

Robert is pictured on the left standing with Curtis on the right.
Robert is described by many as positive, encouraging, a role model and athlete. He has been a dedicated unified partner, volunteer coach, mentor and friend to DDRC athletes. From his first foray in unified sports in 2014 as a unified partner on DDRC’s softball team representing Colorado at the Nationals in New Jersey, Robert’s now 9-year involvement has grown to span seven sports and 200 volunteer hours.

He encourages all athletes, no matter their skill level, to fight for their goals and have a chance for success. This is the respect from which friendships and understanding grow. Robert’s approach also serves as a role model for other coaches and unified partners. 

It’s a testament to the caring of Special Olympics that they created this award. DDRC is proud that one of our volunteers has been recognized in this way, and we are incredibly appreciative of Robert’s dedication to the program and to the women and men we serve.
 Mark the Season By Scheduling a Colorado Gives Day Donation
It’s November! That means you can schedule a donation to DDRC for the upcoming Colorado Gives Day if you’d like to participate. Gives Day is December 7, but you can schedule your donation starting November 1st, during this season of thanks and it still counts towards “Gives Day. Go to

Each donation we receive provides DDRC a bigger portion of the $1+ million incentive fund underwritten by FirstBank, Community First Foundation and other community partners, and helps amplify our work for the people and families we serve. Thank you for helping to build a more inclusive and welcoming world for all!  
Questions: call 303.462.6584 or email 
Nov. 15 is the Deadline to Sign Up for Child Tax Credit Payments (2021)
Through a recent, temporary expansion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, more Colorado families are eligible for the tax credit. Through 2021, families can receive up to $3,600 for every child ages 0-5 and $3,000 for every child ages 6-17 living in their household. Monthly payments begin in July 2021. Families who filed taxes in 2019 or 2020 should already be receiving these checks or direct deposits.

Families who did not file taxes need to sign up with the IRS by November 15th to receive this cash-back refund, and do not need earnings to qualify. After November 15th, families should prepare to file their taxes in late January to get their full child tax credit refund. 
Learn more about the expanded CTC that can help families benefit from these new cash-back resources, including the IRS portal for non-filers.

“Why does this matter? Tax credits reduce poverty and improve long term health and educational outcomes. Poverty is a root cause of poor mental and physical health.” -Isabel Dickson, MPH, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
COVID Vaccine Boosters
As the pandemic drags on and Delta variant swirls, we’re reminded that the COVID vaccine remains an important tool to try to protect ourselves. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Food and Drug Administration approved booster vaccines for certain people who may be more vulnerable. This includes people 65 years of age and older, and people 18 years old and older who live in long term care facilities or who have underlying medical conditions, which frequently can include people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Additionally, people who work in settings at higher risk of transmission of the virus are also eligible for the booster, such as healthcare and congregate care staff, first responders, educators, those in the food industry, transit and postal workers, and others.  
People in these categories are eligible for the Pfizer or Moderna booster 6 months after they received their second dose of those two vaccines.

If they received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, they are eligible for a booster 2 months after that vaccine. You can ask for and receive a different type of booster than your original shot.
Looking for places where you can schedule your booster shot? Try:
o  STRIDE Community Health. See
o  Jefferson Center Pharmacies (4851 Independence St. or 9485 West Colfax)
o  The pharmacy where you received your initial vaccine

For more information on boosters see:
At your first vaccination appointment, you should have received a CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record card noting what COVID-19 vaccine you received, and the date and location where you received it. Bring this vaccination card to your booster shot vaccination appointment. If you did not receive that card or have misplaced it, then contact the vaccination site where you got your first shot or the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Immunization Records site at:
Be assured that DDRC is operating with prudent health and safety measures, including requiring masks of employees, and following regulatory protocols for vaccinations and testing of staff. Additionally, President Biden unveiled a plan requiring vaccinations or weekly testing for employees at companies/organizations with 100 workers or more, which applies to DDRC. We are awaiting the implementation rules that are to be issued by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  
COVID - 19 Resources
The Colorado Vaccine Website          
Vaccine Hotline 1-877-268-2926
COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine Information: Jeffco, Clear Creek, Gilpin, Summit

Update relating to DDRC operations during the pandemic: here
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