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April 2022 News

Spring Into Awareness - An Uplifting Way to Carry it Forward

Fairfield-Denver West /Federal Center, the West Metro Chamber and DDRC, hosted Spring into Awareness, a gathering to wrap up IDD Awareness Month in March and to celebrate diversity and inclusion for people of all abilities, including through employment. The hosts spoke about their work to create a vibrant community to attendees from business, civic, fraternal, government and nonprofits offices as wells as individuals, families and donors of DDRC.

A video of Fairfield-Denver West, their team, and their commitment to diversity in employment, along with DDRC, showcased inclusive employment. Team member Nick Mitchell is spotlighted in the video. DDRC’s Employment Services worked with Nick and Fairfield to help make that job match.

Fairfield Denver West is one of more than 30 different companies coordinating with DDRC Employment Services hiring people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They have been a terrific partner to DDRC and to our mission!

See the video: Inclusive Employment Works -Fairfield and DDRC.  

Spring into Awareness also included an art show by artists served by DDRC that beautifully illustrated themes of self-advocacy and the aspirations of the artists.

The meaningful evening was made enjoyable and fun through the donations of food, drink and door prizes by Jeffco businesses Flights Wine Café, Wahoo’s, Ballmer Peak Distillery, Crimson Cat Studios, and Shaklee (Susan Firmin).

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More event photos here

Wahoo’s, Lakewood  - Committed and Caring

Wahoo’s was an eager supporter of the Spring into Awareness event, catering delicious bites for guests. That eagerness stems from their experience as a longtime employer of Jennifer, one of their teammates who receives support from DDRC, including DDRC Employment Services. Wahoo’s employs people with developmental disabilities at other sites too. Tommy Borelli, Manager at the Lakewood restaurant says that Jennifer cares about her work and can be counted on to follow through, and that employees with disabilities easily contribute as much as anyone else. Jennifer says she likes a lot of things about working at Wahoo’s, but “getting paid is one of the best!” 

Wahoo’s management is to be commended for their approach. “There is not much difference in how I communicate with employees with IDD compared to other employees," Tommy says. “Everybody wants to feel needed and appreciated. I provide structure and expectations, and that is a means of respect too.”

DDRC Employment Specialist Douglas Love observes that Tommy has been wonderful in encouraging Jennifer to use the various supports and resources available her, and to advocate for herself. That has been positive for Jennifer on the job, and in her life generally.

As an example, not long ago, Jennifer used newfound confidence in self-advocacy to seek a new residential setting that best suits her needs.

It’s great to see an employer who appreciates their employees in the context of their whole life, and who embraces opportunities for people with disabilities in the workplace!

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Tommy Borelli

Jennifer Knitter

Families: Don’t Wait to Seek Funding Help. Get it Before it’s Gone!

DDRC’s Family Support Services Program (FSSP) has funds to help families in Jefferson, Clear Creek, Gilpin and Summit Counties with a child or adult family member with developmental disabilities or delays living at home. But to get the funding you need to act - so apply today!


Funding helps with out-of-pocket expenses for disability related services not covered by insurance or another program. A few examples of services or items that may be reimbursed include respite, therapies, adaptive items, medical and dental copay/ deductible costs, counseling, therapeutic recreation, camps, classes, mileage reimbursement, bus passes for medical trips, and more


DDRC can reimburse you for covered disability services provided on or after 7/1/2021, or advance funds for the purchase of covered services or items prior to 6/30/2022. Receipts are absolutely required, and funding is not guaranteed. 

To apply, complete a "Most in Need Assessment" Form, at or call your Resource/Service Coordinator or 303.462.6576 to have forms mailed to you. If DDRC has not already determined that your family member has a developmental disability, then ask to speak with an Intake Coordinator by calling 303.233.3363.

Cooking Up Independence and Fun

DDRC’s Therapeutic Learning Connections (TLC) cooked up some fun in March! Over several weeks of cooking classes, participants made and shared a variety of dinners, learning skills so they can cook at home with more independence, and contribute to meal prep with family and friends. 

During week three, a beef and bean taco cooking party was held, with Spanish rice, all the fixings, and brownies for dessert. Participants said they enjoy cooking as a group and were encouraging one another with the tasks such as boiling, mixing, stirring, and chopping ingredients. Together, each participant contributed to the meal and then they gathered to eat. What a wonderful way to bring “teamwork to the table!”

If you would like to participate in future TLC/Recreation activities like cooking classes, sports and more, please contact Terri Hulstrom or Cathe Shreck to register, 720-544-8152 or 720-544-8150.

CO Office Early Childhood and DDRC EI Services

The Colorado Office of Early Childhood/Early Intervention Services recently communicated that they are no longer issuing guidance related to COVID restrictions, and that they continue to encourage and support virtual visits for families and professionals who prefer to do so. 

If you have a child served by DDRC’s Early Intervention Services, please carefully read the attached letter outlining DDRC’s approach to ongoing visits and service coordination activities that are in place at this time. 


The Office of Early Childhood/Early Intervention Services memo in English in Spanish

DDRC letter to families: in English  in Spanish

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 Thank you for ReFunding what matters to you! 

More about ReFund What Matters to You.

Digital Citizenship Webinar on April 12 

Technology and digital connections are everywhere, and youth are especially tied in. Yet issues of access, safety and skill are sometimes a stumbling block to full participation. In response, a free webinar on Digital Citizenship, Technology Access, and Internet Safety for Youth with IDD is being offered to youth, families, service providers and educators.


The webinar, hosted by JFK Partners/CU Anschutz, aims to help participants:

·      Understand the importance of digital citizenship for youth with IDD

·      Explore common accessibility-related barriers that prevent successful technology usage.

·      Implement strategies that help to ensure safe Internet usage.

The Webinar, will be held on April 12, 11:00-12:30 p.m.

To learn more, see who the presenters are, and to register, click here

April Sessions on Self-Determination and Supported Decision-Making

The Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities (KUCDD) in partnership with the Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council has been hosting a free informational series on self-determination and supported decision making. The remaining sessions in their series, which are being held from 5-6 PM (MST) on Zoom, will be on the following dates and topics:

April 11          Supported Decision Making

April 25          Deciding My Future


Register to attend virtually here.

New Website Launched for Youth Alternatives to Guardianship

Guardianship is a tool that can help people with disabilities in need of extensive supports, but it is not the right fit for everyone, or even most people. A new website on alternatives to guardianship has been launched by The Center on Youth Voice, Youth Choice (CYVYC) to educate, explore and explain alternatives, like “supported decision-making.”

CYVYC is a national youth resource center for youth with disabilities, and its main focus is to talk about how youth can have control over their decisions after they become a legal adult. CYVYC is a project of the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMass Boston. See more at

Youth with disabilities share in their own voice, their experience with supported decision-making here

We’re Hiring! Various Opportunities

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Would you like a rewarding career helping people to 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 positions that might just be a great fit for you. Maybe you want to make an impact in our Early Intervention services to help babies, or as a Direct Support Professional or in another capacity.

Interested? Apply at

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:

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Set Your Email Preferences for Emails from DDRC

People served by DDRC and their families:

DDRC sends important information via this “Constant Contact" email platform, including information about DDRC services and supports, announcements of emergencies, etc. 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  about services and supports may then still be sent via via Constant Contact, unless you contact us to indicate otherwise. Thank You!