May 8, 2016                                                                                                                 May E-News Issue 1
In Memory of Caren June Evans
An SKSF Employee we'll greatly miss...

Caren June Evans, 60, passed away in her Monument home Tuesday, April 19, 2016.  Caren worked for Special Kids Special Families for several years as our Program Nurse.  As a Mother of two daughters, we remember Caren on this day.   To honor her attributes and celebrate her life, a few comments to those that worked close to her...

"Caren was so caring and compassionate to our youth, their parents and our staff.  She was always willing to help our families and take the time to sit down with them and give them the time they needed.  She was a gentle, caring soul always willing to help out our program!  We will miss her here at Zach's Place!" - Renae Isakson, Program Director of Zach's Place.

"I will always remember Caren's laugh. She would throw her head back and laugh at my "new nurse insecurities" then she would revert to the patient teacher that she was and gently guide me through my questions She would say "don't worry, you'll catch on.."  You could always count on Caren to be on board for an afternoon Starbucks just to get through the rest of the day. Gentle, caring and patient.  We became friends as well as colleagues sharing laughter, tears and even treasures from our gardens." - Vicky Figueredo, SKSF Program Nurse 

"Caren never hesitated to help out and volunteer with our fundraisers.  She chaired the wheelchair competition in our Octo8 5K events.  Caren, Randy and her family members came out to support the participants at our annual Bowlathons.   She displayed such a passion for the kids and adults that we served and the best of the nursing profession.  She will be greatly missed." - Linda Ellegard, SKSF Executive Director.

Woodmen Edition
Zach's Place - A respite for disabled children, their parents in Mountain Shadows
Article provided by Susan Joy Paul, Woodmen Edition
Photo provided by Susan Joy Paul, Woodmen Edition
The sunny rooms at Zach's Place in Mountain Shadows look like any other day care. Children snack on apple slices at a kid's size table near the kitchen. In the big playroom, they gather for Zach's Time Playgroup, to paint pictures, do puzzles, or sit quietly while Tammy Miklebost reads aloud. Today's playgroup theme is "artists" and Miklebost is reading one of the children's favorite books, "The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse." She is teaching the kids that it's OK to paint a blue horse and to be a blue horse, too. It's OK to be different.

Zach's Place is a respite center that provides relief to families of children with disabilities. The facility caters to kids from 2 1/2 to 21 years old and is also a licensed child care center. "Parents of children with disabilities don't get a break," said Miklebost, the Assistant Director. "They care for their children 24/7, and often times they don't even get a night's sleep. Zach's Place is a safe place for them to bring their kids so they can do other things, and the children get to socialize and enjoy activities with other children their age." Miklebost said sometimes a parent will bring their child in and ask where they should wait. "They're surprised when we tell them they can leave. I tell them there's a Starbucks down the street, or they can go shopping or get their hair done. These parents are not used to having time to themselves," she said.

The center is open to children with disabilities and neurotypical children as well, offering before and after school... Read More
Around Town: Chuck Murphy's photos auctioned for families of special kids
Article provided by Linda Navarro
Holly and R.D. Trinidad of Hoff & Leigh were sponsors of the Special Kids Special Families fundraiser at The Mezzanine.  Photo by Linda Navarro
The photographs were each a moment in time from philanthropist businessman and developer Chuck Murphy's travels to fascinating spots around the globe with his wife, Mary Lou.
Murphy donated them to the capital campaign for Zach's Place, a licensed respite care center for the developmentally disabled, and as they were auctioned by guest auctioneer Kevin Patterson he personalized the stories of each picture.

The auction at The Mezzanine on April 19 also helped introduce all the programs of Special Kids Special Families, which is almost 80 percent toward its goal to buy a permanent building in Mountain Shadows.

"Zach's Place is one of only two licensed child care programs for respite care in Colorado, offering parents of developmentally disabled between the ages of 2 1/2 to 21 years old, an opportunity to take a break for something as simple as going to a movie or to just sleep for awhile," said SKSF Executive Director Linda Ellegard. 

The program was expanded to offer a place for professional care when parents needed to go to work. Now the programs include foster family care and adoption. Many of those served are on the autism spectrum or have challenges such as epilepsy or Down syndrome.  Describing SKSF, Murphy said, "They're doing the work of the Almighty."

SKSF Staff Member Recipient of ARC Award
Robert Martinez 

Robert Martinez was nominated to receive an ARC award under the category for Vocational/Day Service Provider. Robert has worked as an Adult Mentor for Special Kids Special Families for almost two years. Robert is passionate about his work and genuinely cares about the individuals with whom he serves. He understands the importance of developing healthy relationships while providing quality care.  Robert does a good job not limiting the abilities of our clients but strives to get he/she involved in various activities while having fun. 

We are very happy Robert was chosen for this award and will be recognized for his outstanding work at the Arc Awards Dinner!  Congratulations, Robert!

Spanish Dancers
A Special Treat for Everyone at Zach's Place

Many thanks to the Estrellas Latinas De San Gabriel. They came out to perform for the kiddos at Zach's Place. The  Spanish Dancers of the ministry of St. Gabriel The Archangel Catholic Church is designed to express the art of dance through praise and worship of their religion. Fore more information about The Estrellas Latinas dancers, visit their website

Rachel Bloomfield

Thank you Rachel for assisting us at Zach's Place.  Your volunteerism is greatly appreciated and we value your contribution to our organization!  

A bit about Rachel...

"My name is Rachel. I'm a senior at Palmer Ridge High school planning to go to Brigham Young University in Provo this fall. I'm going to study special needs education with the hopes of becoming a Speech Therapist someday. Outside of school I like to dance and read. I love volunteering at Zach's place because of the wonderful kids I get to meet  and interact with. It's so much fun and I love it a lot!"

Mondays, May 16th & May 30th
9:00am - 12:00pm

Zach's Time Play Group is held at Zach's Place at the Laurie Hillyard Family Center at  4795 Granby Circle.  Especially for children ages 2.5 - 5 years old of ALL abilities.  
What is Zach's Time?  A time available for young children of any ability to attend Zach's Place to play and make friends with other children their age.  We will have story time, sing songs, make a craft and have a snack.

Playgroups will be scheduled every other Monday.  $20/child to cover session costs. If you are interested in enrolling your child, contact Tammy at or call (719) 329-1717.

Friday, May 13th
5:30pm - 8:30pm
Socialization is an important goal at Zach's Place at The Laurie Hillyard Family Center. We offer a unique opportunity to meet this goal. Zach's Place Fun Nights are the second Friday of every month and are open to all ages and abilities. We provide pizza, make dessert together, create a craft and play games.

Registration & intake process is required for participation. Contact Tammy or Dani at
719-329-1717 or email us at .  Limited space.

5/13/16 May t heme is Cinco De Mayo!

Friday, May 13th
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Families raising children with special needs repeatedly express frustration about not having the resources they require to not only meet their personal needs but those of their children. These requests led Special Kids Special Families to create a forum where families can learn about resources in the community as well as gain support and interact with other parents on the same journey who can relate their own personal struggles.

Please JOIN US for a relaxing time with people who understand what your journey is like.   If parents need childcare, Zach's Place will be hosting their Fun Nights for kids during this meeting.  Please let us know when you RSVP.  Pre-registration required.

CONTACT / RSVP required: Linda Ellegard  |  l  |  (719) 447-8983 x19

5/13/16 meeting will be held at Zach's Place at the Laurie Hillyard Family Center
4795 Granby Circle, Colorado Springs, CO 80919

Saturday, May 21st
3:00pm - 4:00pm

Sibshops is a monthly program run by SKSF connecting and supporting siblings of children with disabilities (grades K-6th), helping them recognize a community of peers in similar situations.

Siblings of children with disabilities have challenges of their own, relating to others, working through the family dynamics and dealing with the realities of life with a disabled family member. Through fun and age appropriate activities with others in similar situations, they develop bonds, understanding and a support group all their own.

For future dates or to be placed on our E-mailing list contact: Julie at 719-375-9285 or Linda at 719-447-8983 x19 or email

$15/child includes snack, refreshments, activity expenses & take home item; Advanced registration is required. Workshops held at SKSF Adult Services facility; 3450 N Nevada Avenue, CO Springs, or other community location.  Sponsored by The Arc Pikes Peak.


Monday, June 6th
4:00pm - 8:00pm

Tuesday, August 16th
5:00pm - 9:00pm

Friday, September 9th
5:00pm - 9:30pm

Saturday, October 1st
6:00pm - 9:00pm


There are so many ways you can make a difference to help us fund our programs and support individuals with disabilities and their families.  Here are some SIMPLE ways to help...
There are various sponsorship opportunities ranging from $250-$5,000!  Our upcoming 2nd Annual BBQ, Blues  & Brews and our 5th Annual Night of Comedy events are coming up!
Please consider sponsoring these events today!

Use your everyday spending to help raise FUNDS for SKSF: -  Log in with your normal email address and password that you use and select SKSF as your charity to have .5% of your purchase to be donated. 

Aspen Auto Clinic -  Purchase an Oil Change Discount Card for 5 oil changes & free tire rotation & SKSF earns $40 for each card sold!

Koscove Metal - Accepts metals of all kinds for recycling and donates a portion of monetary value to SKSF when drop off is identified for the organization.

King Soopers Gift Cards - Purchase a gift card for only $2.50 or $5.00 & SKSF receives 5% of your purchases at King Soopers (or any other Kroger family store) or fuel purchases (at Loaf-n-Jug).

Go Fund Me - SKSF has created an  online GoFundMe profile for Zach's Place Capital Campaign.  We are trying to raise $10,000 to help purchase the program facility to create a permanent home.  Any donation amount and any help you can give in spreading the word is appreciated.  Visit here to learn more about our Zach's Place Capital Campaign.

Please welcome Betty Ward to Special Kids Special Families.
 Her position in our organization is an Adult Mentor for the Joey's Place Program. 

Would YOU like to join SKSF and be part of a team?
We are now hiring for the following positions:
Supporters of Special Kids Special Families who reside in Colorado and file Colorado state taxes may qualify for a 50% state income tax credit in addition to the regular state and federal income tax deductions. The Colorado Child Care Tax Credit (CCTC) promotes childcare activities statewide, and Colorado Department of Revenue approved contributions for our Zach's Place program beginning in 2004.

For more information about Special Kids Special Families and our Zach's Place child care program, please contact Linda Ellegard, SKSF Executive Director at 719-447-8983 x19 or Renae Isakson, Zach's Place Program Director at 719-329-1717.

The Tax Credit
Both corporate and individual donors may benefit.  Any taxpayer that makes a cash contribution to Special Kids Special Families designated to Zach's Place may claim an income tax credit of 50% of the total contribution.   Please click here for more information...