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November 2023 News

Information & Inspiration at Our Annual Meeting

and Awards 

DDRC’s Annual meeting wasn’t all business, as important as it was to hear reporting from our leadership, approve meeting minutes, and elect Board members.

Susan Hartley, DDRC Board President and parent, gave a profoundly moving talk. She shared the story of her son with disabilities, his significant needs, the insights she and her family gained in their parenting journey, and the beneficial role DDRC played. Her words asked us to imagine and recognize that every person is perfect as they are.

We also celebrated our wonderful awardees. Nick Mitchell, a person with disabilities, received the DDRC Hero Award for his determination and growth. Nick has participated in DDRC day programs, resides in a host home and works at Fairfield Inn (Denver West Federal Center). His career journey began with support from DDRC’s Employment Services. Over time, his confidence and competence grew, and he decided he was ready to pivot away from those services. Our Employment Services team is gratified to see that Nick has achieved so much! Listen to Nick talk about why his job, his Fairfield team, and his sense of independence mean so much to him in this video, where Nick appears midway through. Video  

A sincere and deep gratitude to our Elected Officials of the Year – the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners. Congratulations to Commissioner Andy Kerr, Commissioner Lesley Dahlkemper, and Commissioner Tracy Kraft-Tharp. Their wisdom, caring and support of DDRC over years and particularly during the last two plus years regarding Case Management Redesign and the new role of Jefferson County Human Services as the Case Management Agency has been invaluable, and so important for the people we serve!  

The West Metro Chamber of Commerce was awarded our Partner of the Year for their collaboration with DDRC’s Spring into Awareness to promote disability employment and inclusion, as well as their support for nonprofits, and for facilitating learning and connections across the community. 

Our terrific staff were also recognized, with Liz Pahr, DDRC Director of Resource Coordination, receiving the Special Recognition Award, and Heather Hagen, Assistant Director of Employment Services receiving the Charlie Allinson Award. They both have been steadfast in leading their areas with excellence, and navigating change and innovation. 

Three of our Direct Service Professionals received the Peg Johnstone Above and Beyond Award for their impactful and caring work, sponsored by the Developmental Disabilities Foundation. Awardees included Malik Clark and Dezirae Gurule, both Employment Specialists, and Mamadou Ouattara, Lead Counselor, Residential Services.  

Congratulations to all the awardees! 

DDRC Board of Directors Election/Appointments

Thank you to our dedicated DDRC Board of Directors for their invaluable guidance and service! They each bring an important perspective to their role, whether as a person receiving services from DDRC, a parent or family member of a person receiving services, a businessperson, a member of a government or nonprofit agency, or someone from the community.

Congratulations to Jean Armour, Chuck English, Susan Hartley and Jodi Schoemer who were reelected to the Board at the Annual Meeting. Additionally Matt Rotter, Grant Sanders and Jennifer Thompson have been reappointed to the Board.  

To read about all our Board of Directors, please visit our web page here.

Jennifer’s Art of Growing and Contributing

Artist, employee, tech-learner, and a person receiving services from DDRC, each of these describes Jennifer Thompson, who is one of our newest DDRC Board of Director members. “I’m honored and excited to serve on the board” she says.

Jennifer replaced Jan Beckett who served many years on DDRC’s Board and has been deeply involved in “Speaking for Ourselves,” an organization led by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We are so grateful to Jan for her service on our board, and we are excited to welcome Jennifer.

Jennifer has experience with DDRC’s Quality Living Options residential services, DDRC’s Employment Services and our Discovery Technology Lab, and says these experiences will help inform her input as a board member. She has developed her artistic talent on her own and through working with DDRC’s generous volunteer art mentor, Ruth Eitel, and with DDRC’s “Art of Self-Advocacy” activities. 

Jennifer works in an administrative support position with DDRC. She has been honing a variety of office skills through the DDRC Discovery Technology Lab on a laptop she acquired through Self Determination Initiative funding. “Lessons through the years have helped me with my job, as well my independence outside of the workplace. I recently bought a phone of my own and am excited about all the things that I can do with it!” she said. Erlen Marsh, DDRC Technology Specialist who leads the Lab, says “Jennifer’s ability to troubleshoot issues on her devices has increased, along with her confidence too.” 

Jennifer’s supervisor, Dan Kuglin, says “Jennifer has really expanded her use of technology in her job.” She now does typing, scanning, emailing and indexing documents. “Jennifer eagerly takes on all of these changes, new tools and tasks we introduce and she’s always willing to try something new,” Dan shares.

With that spirit we know Jennifer will be a wonderful voice at the table as a DDRC Board member!

Respite Services Webinar – Nov. 1

The Colorado Respite Coalition in partnership with the Colorado Department of Human Services is hosting a statewide Zoom webinar on the State of Respite Care in Colorado on Wednesday, November 1 (9-11 am).

A panel of experts including state agencies, caregiver advocates, care navigators, and day program directors will discuss the role they play, how demand for respite has changed over the years, the populations they serve, whether care is available, new respite resources that have emerged and respite vouchers. Audience members will have a chance to share their comments and stories.


Pucker Up for Pizza on Nov.16 to Benefit DDRC

What’s better than piping hot pizza with just the right toppings? Getting together with friends and family for a pizza-loving evening to benefit DDRC! Join us on Thursday, November 16 at Beau Jo's in Arvada when 20% of all eat-in, take-out, and gift card purchases will come back as a donation to DDRC, thanks to the generosity of Beau Jo’s. Choose from unique thick crust Colorado-style pizza, calzones, pasta, salads and “beautizers!” See their menu here.

For purchases to count for the donation, you’ll need to bring the special flyer to show staff that you are attending in support of DDRC! We hope to see you, family and friends on November 16 at Beau Jo’s Arvada, 7525 W. 53rd Ave, just off Wadsworth.  What’s better than piping hot pizza with just the right toppings? Getting together with friends and family for a pizza-loving evening to benefit DDRC! Join us on Thursday, November 16 at Beau Jo's in Arvada when 20% of all eat-in, take-out, and gift card purchases will come back as a donation to DDRC, thanks to the generosity of Beau Jo’s. 

For purchases to count for the donation, you’ll need to bring the special flyer to show staff that you are attending in support of DDRC! We hope to see you, family and friends on November 16 at Beau Jo’s Arvada, 7525 W. 53rd Ave, just off Wadsworth.  

Beau Jo's Flyer 

Have Your Cake and Do Good Too 

It’s that time of year for cooking, baking, eating – and sharing. Thanksgiving and the holidays are coming up and your grocery shopping can help make a difference for people served by DDRC if you sign up for the King Soopers Community Rewards program. It's easy.

Just create a digital account on the King Soopers page, then sign up for the rewards program and link your shopper’s card to DDRC as the rewards recipient. Once signed-up, just swipe your shopper’s card at check-out, and King Soopers donates a percentage of sales to DDRC. You’ll be enjoying your meals or sharing with others while remembering your shopping helped DDRC.  

Community Rewards Sign Up

Behavioral Health Services for Kids

DDRC's New Undertaking

DDRC is excited to announce that we have new Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Clinic services available to children ages 3-10! ABA is an evidence-based teaching tool used to promote socially significant, positive behavior change, by teaching children replacement behaviors for challenging and/or disruptive behavior(s) that inhibit their academic and social development.

Services are available for young children who have been determined eligible for ABA services through Colorado Medicaid’s Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT). DDRC’s team of Registered Behavior Technicians can help steer you through the steps you’ll need to take to seek eligibility and insurance approval. Once approved, we’ll meet with you to discuss your child’s needs and determine an appropriate therapy schedule. From there, your child meets with peers and us, learns, adapts, and grows!

If interested in learning about DDRC’s new Pediatric EPSDT ABA Clinic contact ( 303-462-6565) or ( 303-462-6565), and download our clinic flyer.  

Case Management Redesign


Case Management Redesign (CMRD), a required statewide initiative, will create one place to go in each catchment area for case management services for all Health First Colorado Members accessing Long Term Support and Services (LTSS), including all Medicaid waivers. These places, called Case Management Agencies (CMA), aim to simplify access so individuals and families will be able to more easily find the right programs and services that work for them.

Read additional background information regarding CMRD in a recent joint letter from DDRC and Jefferson County Human Services here 

Help With Emergency Back Up Power

Do you or a loved one use and rely upon a life-sustaining medical device? If so, you understand the importance of being prepared for a power outage. Now, funding help is available!

Battery backup power supply systems funded by the American Rescue Plan Act will be available to eligible Health First Colorado (Medicaid) members. The systems, distributed through Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF) in collaboration with The Center for Inclusive Design and Engineering (CIDE) at CU will assist members to be better prepared, and to help maintain their health, safety and independence.

If you are interested to receive a backup system, please complete the application. Applications will be reviewed, verified, and a determination made if the applicant qualifies. Supplies are limited. Questions? Call Julia Beems at 303-315-1284 or email See more at Surviving in Place webpage.  

Special Matching Opportunity Thanks to the

Mai Family Trust 

We invite you to help bring recreation to the lives of more than 130 individuals with IDD each month by making an end-of-year contribution today. To join you in addressing the many critical needs of our DDRC Therapeutic Learning Connections (TLC) Recreation program, the Mai Family Trust has offered to match all gifts - up to $30,000 - through January 1st. 


TLC Recreation program offers more than 300 activities annually. These activities provide choice, create connections, build confidence, foster friendships, improve health and mobility - and so much more!


No matter the amount you choose, your gift offers endless benefits. 


Sharing Our Story in the Community

DDRC participates in various events to share what we do with the community, to provide information and resources, recruit people to join our team, and to encourage the world to be more welcoming to people of all abilities. Some of our recent outreach included:

  • A community hiring event for students and people in the community jointly cohosted by Jefferson County Schools, Jeffco Business and Workforce Development Center and McClain High School. DDRC’s residential services staff visited with event attendees to tell them about DDRC and the rewarding job of a Direct Support Professional. 

  • A Jeffco Schools “Career Expo” for 3,000+ older High School Students who were exploring different careers and business. DDRC’s Human Resource Dept. staff were there to talk about the ways we help people with IDD, and associated careers.
  • A Jefferson County Public Schools resource fair at Warren Tech for all their staff, especially encouraging their mental health and nursing staff to attend. DDRC’s Behavioral Health, Resource Coordination, Therapeutic Learning/Rec and Community Relations were there to share all we do. 
  • A Trick or Treat event for kids and their families was a fun draw for the resource fair around the theme of services for special needs in Arvada. The event was organized by Key Autism Services, with resource “booths” from DDRC and other local groups and providers. 
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