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March 2022 News

March is Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

March is Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, a time to ask, “Why not!?”

The question is one that DDRC Board member Jan Beckett wants to be a guiding expectation when it comes to opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.

It stems from her favorite quote by U.S. Senator Robert F Kennedy: “Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream things that never were and say, why not.” 

Jan wants people to be aware of and believe in possibilities for people with developmental disabilities. As a person with disabilities herself, Jan has lived by this expectation, and says she is blessed that throughout her life, her family and others have respected and supported her determination to live those possibilities.  

As a young woman, Jan lived on her own with five roommates. In 1977, she got an Associate’s Degree in Information Technology /Library Sciences from the Community College of Denver, Auraria campus. She went on to a 35-year career with the Bureau of Reclamation, where among her responsibilities, she worked in the mail processing center, helping to properly log incoming checks. She proudly says, “I even held a million-dollar check in my hand, and not many people can say they’ve done that!”

“I love history,” Jan says. She participated in a self-advocacy conference in Washington D.C. years ago, where she soaked in U.S. history and relished the chance to meet Senator Ted Kennedy. That meeting was made possible through her persistence and the wonderful efforts of Ron Marquez, who was then DDRC’s Director of Community Relations.

Jan has long been an advocate not only for herself but for her peers too. Currently, she is Recording Secretary for Speaking for Ourselves, Colorado and in the past has also served as their president, historian, and sergeant-of-arms. Speaking for Ourselves is a grassroots organization of people with disabilities who advocate on issues that involve and affect them. Jan has also been active in People First and has served as president, vice president and treasurer of that group too.

“DDRC has been a godsend for me,” Jan says, explaining that she feels she is giving back in her role as one of the DDRC Board of Directors. In turn, DDRC and the Board of Directors have benefited from her perspective and her voice. Now and over the years, Jan has been a shining example of living by the expectation of “why not!”   

Virtual IDD Awareness Day – Policy Webinar, Speakers and Awards

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IDD Awareness Day hosted by Alliance Colorado, The Arc of Colorado, and CU JFK Partners will take place virtually on Wednesday, March 23. The day’s proceedings include a policy webinar (10- 11 a.m.), followed by speakers and awards (12- 1 p.m.).

Speakers include Rep. Colin Larson, serving southern Jefferson County, who was awarded the 2021 Legislator of the Year by Alliance Colorado and was similarly recognized by DDRC during DDRC’s Annual Meeting and Awards. Other speakers include the Alliance 2021 Direct Support Professional (DSP) of the Year, a parent, and an advocate. The 2022 DSP of the Year awardee, finalists and nominees will also be recognized. 

Read more about the proceedings, speakers, and DSPs, and register for this informative and inspirational day at

Direct Support Professionals and IDD Awareness

Honoring the contributions and roles of Direct Support Professionals (DSP) has always been a significant part of IDD Awareness Day as we recognize the important impact these staff make in the lives of the people they serve. Each year, DDRC nominates DSPs for the Alliance Colorado DSP of the Year awards, and DDRC’s DSPs are also honored during DDRC’s Annual Meeting.

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We are incredibly proud of Dezirae Gurule, our DDRC DSP nominee for the 2022 Colorado DSP of the Year. As an Employment Specialist on the DDRC Employment Services team, Dezirae has contributed to the evolution of our service delivery culture, built strong relationships with her team, and has a meaningful impact on the career journeys of the people she supports. 

Dezirae explores creative strategies to offer effective job coaching that supports independence. An example of her person-centered approach is when she began working with a career seeker who loves superheroes. The career seeker experiences anxiety, especially when trying to connect with new managers or co-workers. While some members of her support network felt the career seeker’s love of superheroes might be a hindrance to her success at work, Dezirae embraced what was important to this career seeker and explored how it could actually assist her at work and reduce anxiety. Dezirae helps this person build relationships with her team by being present with her for new introductions and encouraging conversation about superheroes. This employee now connects with new team members and mitigates her anxiety by talking about superheroes as an ice breaker. Instead of hiding her personal interests from her co-workers, it has become her superpower!


Dezirae has advocated for systems change to help bring positive outcomes for the people we support, and she has built strong relationships with employers, getting to know their business needs, so she can help find the right job match for career seekers we support. Companies with multiple sites have sought her advice on employment diversity at their other sites. Read more about her stellar work here. 

Lorraine Martinez and John Herman are DSPs with DDRC’s Adult Vocational Services (AVS).

They were given the 2021 Peg Johnstone Above and Beyond Award by the Developmental Disabilities Foundation for making the lives of the people they support more rewarding. Their work has impact!

Lorraine has worked for DDRC for over 15 years and has always been dedicated to a person-centered approach in her work. Currently she is a Support Specialist at DDRC’s Walters Center. After being hired full-time, she moved to the “float” position, requiring her to learn each aspect of AVS and get to know every individual that comes to Walters. At one point, she was asked to work with a person who needed extra support throughout the day. He was drawn to Lorraine’s fun-loving and caring approach and rarely was angry if he was with her. She speaks of the special understanding they had of each other.

While COVID proved challenging for day program services, Lorraine adapted and helped the people she serves to persevere. She taught herself how to host individual and group Zoom activities, such as exercise, cooking, and scavenger hunts and even helped people host their own virtual activities.


John Herman began his career with DDRC more than 20 years ago working in Community Connections and he now is a Support Specialist at DDRC’s Walters site. He has gone above and beyond to adapt to the disruption of COVID and provide engaging experiences for the people he supports, including providing meaningful activities online. He created scavenger hunts, trivia games and even provided a video tour of Golden. When COVID restrictions loosened, he took a group on a fishing trip and provided a live Zoom link so people not comfortable attending in person could enjoy the day too.

The people who joined via Zoom were so happy because they felt like they were right there fishing with their friends. People always comment on the experiences John helps to create and how they look forward to each day, and spending time with him and each other!  

Virtual, Free Film Festival by the Arc of Weld County

The Arc of Weld County's 11th Annual Achieve With Us Colorado Film Festival in honor of National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month is virtual this year and free to enjoy on March 31, at 10 AM or 1PM.

Festival viewing groups of 5 or more are eligible to receive a festival viewing party packet if they RSVP before March 18. Film submissions are being accepted until March 18.

Thank you, Arc of Weld County for sharing your invitation. 

RSVP at: 

Easterseals Disability Film Challenge Transports Viewers to New Awareness

Take a look at two “shorts,” about 4 minutes each, created by people with disabilities who bring viewers to a new level of awareness of abilities and acceptance. The films were created and submitted to the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge in 2020 and 2021. See more about 2022 Challenge, and its superhero theme:

In the 2021 film, The Fish Don’t Care When it Rains, artist Jen Msumba talks about her journey of self- discovery and opens our eyes to ideas of acceptance. At DDRC we believe in building on abilities. Colorado filmmaker Scott Klum brings that belief to a new level in his 2020 film by showing how what once might have been viewed as a negative, is his special strength. See his Autism Ability. You can find these and other films on YouTube or by going to Easterseals Disability Film Challenge. 

Creative and Fun Theater Performance March 10,11 and 12 by SNAP

Theater is another way to experience the creative abilities of people with disabilities and the upcoming performance by SNAP, the Special Needs Acting Program, is sure to be wonderful. Many of the SNAP actors previously participated in the DDRC Players, which has subsequently been taken on by Colorado ACTS.

They are performing Doc, Doc, Goose on March 10, 11 and 12 at 7 p.m. at the Colorado ACTS Theater, 11455 W. I-70 Frontage Road North, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033. Tickets ($8) can be purchased online at

Questions, call: 303-456-6772

Download their flyer with address and link.

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ReFUND What Matters to You

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Did you know ReFUND CO enables Colorado taxpayers to donate any portion of their Colorado state income tax refund to a nonprofit in good standing? That includes DDRC!

When filing, please consider a donation to DDRC. Just enter DDRC’s Secretary of State “registration number” of 202 300 3423 in the tax form field when prompted if you want to donate, along with the amount of your refund that you may wish to gift. You can also look up the “Developmental Disabilities Resource Center” registration number in the filing program. For Turbo Tax, the donation prompt reads: “Donate to Colorado Special Funds, including the Colorado Nonprofit Fund of Your Choice.”

Please let DDRC know if you make a gift to us through this ReFund option by emailing us at [email protected]. Thank you for ReFunding what matters to you! 

We’re Hiring! Various Opportunities

Would you like a rewarding career doing meaningful work to help people lead their best lives? Come to DDRC! Work with team members who care, with inclusive and diverse values, a flexible 36-hour work week, remote work opportunities, superior benefits, and the chance to be part of an organization committed to you and to an important mission!

We have various position that might just be a great fit for you. Maybe you want to make an impact like the Direct Support Professionals we have highlighted in this month’s newsletter, or in our Early Intervention services to help babies, or even in an administrative capacity.


Apply at

Self-Determination and Supported Decision-Making

The Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities (KUCDD) in partnership with the Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council is hosting a free informational series on self-determination and supported decision making, being held via Zoom from 5-6 PM (MST) on the following dates and topics:

March 14       Self-Determination assessment

March 28       Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction

April 11          Supported Decision Making

April 25          Deciding My Future


Register to attend virtually here.

Save the Date for the DDRC/DDF Golf Tournament

Come get Groovy on the Green with us! Mark your calendars for August 15th for a disco-themed golf tournament at the Hiwan Golf Club benefitting Developmental Disabilities Resource Center and Developmental Disabilities Foundation.

Interested in sponsoring, volunteering or supporting the auction?

Contact us at [email protected] or 303.462.6574 and see

COVID Testing Still Available

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While the COVID peak is waning, you may still be interested in knowing your health status if you’ve been exposed. Free COVID tests, including at-home test kits and sites for testing are available: 

Order test-kits through the US Postal Service:

Order rapid At-Home testing through the Colorado Dept of Public Health and Environment:

Visit Testing stations for COVID-19:

Survey of Caregivers by CU JFK Partners

Caregivers: You are invited to participate in a special survey/study being done through CU JFK Partners, including the Colorado University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disability Education, Research, and Service (UCEDD).

The study topic is Understanding the Challenges Caregivers Experience During and After a Psychiatric Emergency Department visits with Dually Diagnosed Children.”

See more about the study and who may participate in their flyer here .To participate in the survey, which is anticipated to take 20 minutes, please contact Viki Krieger at [email protected].

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Set Your Email Preferences for Emails from DDRC

DDRC sends important information via this “Constant Contact" email platform, including information about your services and supports, announcements of emergencies (e.g. operations during Coronavirus), events, service news, donor opportunities and more.

Please do not unsubscribe from Constant Contact emails since our communications will be restricted to U.S. mail and will take longer to get to you. If you prefer not to receive e-newsletters, invitations or donor opportunities please use our “Online Form” to indicate that you do not want to receive such emails. Official notifications (i.e. notices of your services and supports ) may still be sent via via Constant Contact, unless you contact us to indicate otherwise. Thank You!