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From the Executive Director
-Ch-Ch-Changes at The Arc of Aurora-
 
It was a busy 2017, and I am proud of the staff for their dedication and commitment to our mission.  I wanted to take a moment to reflect on The Arc of Aurora's 2017 successes and to advise you of some important 2018 changes. 
 
2017 in Review
Our Advocacy Program served 403 people.  We assisted people with school, adult, medical, legal and other challenges.  We helped educate policy makers at the State Capitol about how proposed policy changes might impact people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities, and we also met with Congressman Mike Coffman to help educate him about matters important to people with developmental disabilities and their families.
 
We launched THINK+change, our training and education social enterprise, with a year-end tally of having more than 8300 training and education contacts, including through our Sixty Second Seminars.  We supported two unique conferences that pushed hard against the Special Education Pipeline to Prison and explored the Intersection between Disability and Medical Cannabis.  We maintained our focus on supporting people with developmental disabilities who are victims of crime and provided a pre-conference training at the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance conference.
 
Our Membership Program saw an infusion of activities, including a month-long membership drive and a dance.  Additionally, our food bank, member help, scholarship, and holiday supports aided many members.
 
2018 Changes
2018 promises to be equally busy, and to help us be more efficient, we have made some important changes:
 
Changes to Administration Team
Hanni Raley has been appointed Assistant Executive Director. 
 
Changes to Advocacy Program
Petri Brill has been hired to fill the vacant individual advocate position.  The Advocacy Program will be comprised of two full-time individual advocates, Jeff Fernengel and Petri Brill.  Hanni Raley will oversee the Advocacy Program which will encompass both Individual and Systems Change Advocacy. 
 
Effective January 31, 2018, Nancy Bowden will completely transition out of the Advocacy Program and into the Individual, Family and Community Support Program.  All advocacy clients should have received a letter providing details on how this change will personally impact you.  If you did not receive such a letter, please contact Hanni Raley at hraley@thearcofaurora.org.
 
Changes to Individual, Family and Community Support Program
The Individual, Family and Community Support Program will be comprised of two full-time staff, Nancy Bowden and Erica Dennison.  Erica will continue to support membership and other special projects. 
 
Nancy will be working with Hanni Raley and me to explore the creation of a new social enterprise, Beyond Advocacy Consulting.  Initial exploration includes crafting an expert witness and court visitor service.
 
THINK+change
Jean Solis will transition out of resource development and solely focus on supporting and expanding THINK+change.
 
On behalf of The Arc of Aurora Board and staff, we appreciate your relationship.  Cheers to another great year!

Darla Stuart, Executive Director of The Arc of Aurora
dstuart@thearcofaurora.org 
Our Newest Advocate
-Introducing Petri Brill-

Greetings! I am Petri Brill, the newest Individual Advocate with The Arc
of Aurora.  I am thrilled to join this outstanding team and look forward to  getting to know each of you in the Arc community (a prize for each person who guesses the correct pronunciation of my name!).  I have  been working in advocacy for many years with Children's Medical Center of Dallas and with CASA as a Court Appointed Special Advocate. My family has been impacted by Cystic Fibrosis and I/DD.  I feel grateful for the opportunity to be of service to others and give back the support that has been given to my family over the years. 
 
I moved to Denver just over a year ago and wish I had done so much sooner...  I absolutely love it here!  I spend quite a bit of time hiking in the mountains with my bandit-faced dog Abbie.  I love to cook and throw dinner parties for friends, I teach yoga, I attended 8 concerts at Red Rocks this past season (even  Kermit the Frog could sound awesome there), I have fallen in love with snowshoeing, and I am currently reading How Not to Die by Michael Greger and The Book of Joy by the 14th Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.  Please introduce yourself when you're in the office next time, and Happy 2018!
Members' Corner
-Information just for our Members-

FREE Training
A benefit of being a Member of The Arc of Aurora is being invited to attend trainings we host.   Check out the notice below to learn about your first FREE training opportunity of 2018.

Make sure you let us know you would like to attend as soon as possible.

Have trouble viewing the flyer?   Click here.

Quarterly Prize Winner
Congratulations to Members Aimee and Chris Pemberton who won a $15 gift card to Cold Stone Creamery!  Want to win next quarter?  Make sure you're a current 2017/2018 Contributing Member of The Arc of Aurora to be entered for a chance to win. 

Elitch Gardens Tickets - Theme Park Opens April 28, 2018
The Arc of Aurora has an exciting offer for our Members to go to Elitch Gardens Theme Park.  You can purchase discounted day tickets and season passes by  clicking here through our special ticket link.  

The Arc of Aurora's Sunday Bowling League
Everyone of every ability is welcome to join anytime.   This year's season is underway and ends on May 13, 2018.  
 
Location : AMF Aurora Lanes, 16700 E. Mississippi Avenue, Aurora, CO   80017
Time : Bowling practice starts at 12:45pm. Games start at 1:00pm.
Cost : $9 each week for three games and shoes.

Questions or want to sign up?
  Call Dottie for more information: 303-880-5506. 

Please note that supervision is not provided and that you must be at least 16-years-old to participate.

Members Only Food Bank 
The Arc of Aurora really felt the holiday love in December.   Not only did many individuals make food bank donations, local businesses got involved too!   Cherry Creek Nursing Center donated 144 personal hygiene bags;  La Petite Academy of Aurora held a food drive; Summerbrook Dental Group donated toothbrushes and toothpaste; and Kroenke Sports & Entertainment chose The Arc of Aurora for their annual holiday party non-profit of choice.  Check out the Spotlight On section for more information, and be sure to come to our Open House if your paperwork with The Arc of Aurora needs to be updated (details below).

Have trouble viewing the flyer?   Click here.

Holiday and Thanksgiving Projects
The holidays can be a challenge for many we serve, but  kindness and generosity reached the hearts of many this past holiday season because of our donors!  The Arc of Aurora's 2017 Thanksgiving Project filled 51 Members' tables, and the Holiday Gift Giving Project provided 58 Members holiday gifts.   Words cannot express our heartfelt THANK YOU to our donors for making such an impact in the lives of the people with intellectual and developmental disabilities whom we serve.  In addition to the physical gifts, we are deeply thankful for donors' time and efforts.

Want to help next next holiday season?   Contact Erica at the office  E dennison@thearcofaurora.org  or 720-213-1420.

What does it mean to be a Member of The Arc of Aurora?  
We are a Membership organization and accept Memberships from everyone.  Not only do you receive these benefits and create a partnership with the organization when you become a Member, you also add your voice to those locally, statewide, and nationally who support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).  If you didn't have the chance to renew your membership for 2017/2018, don't worry! Outlined below are your options to renew:
  • In person - Come by The Arc of Aurora to complete this form or to drop it off
  • By mail - Complete this form and mail it to The Arc of Aurora, 1342 S. Chambers Road, Aurora, CO   80017
  • By email - Complete this form and email it to Erica Dennison at edennison@thearcofaurora.org 
  • Phone - Call Erica Dennison at 720-213-1420 a complete your membership paperwork over the phone
As always, we value you and your partnership! 
Hot Topic

Annual Scholarship Time
I t's scholarship application time!  The Arc of Aurora Board of Directors has again budgeted funds to offer two scholarships to qualified Arc of Aurora Contributing Members. 

Click on the links below to read the eligibility requirements and to apply for a scholarship.

Applicants MUST be a 2017/2018 Contributing Member (paid $30 or volunteered for Membership) and meet specific criteria which are outlined in the application.  Deadlines listed on the applications are strictly followed.  If you need assistance completing an application, contact your Arc of Aurora advocate at 720-213-1420.

What's New?

THINK+change Newsletter
The Arc of Aurora's social enterprise, THINK+change, will debut Thinking Change next month! This quarterly newsletter will include information about available Talks, Trainings and Tools.   Thinking Change will include information to transform training and education programs.  Not sure whether you're on that mailing list? Want to be on that mailing list?   Click here to provide your contact info to be sure you are.

Facebook
Did you know that we have a
Facebook page and that we are SO close to getting 500 likes?  Visit our Facebook page, like us, follow us, and receive real-time updates that may affect YOU!

Town Hall Meetings 
Did you know you can attend a Town Hall Meeting to voice your opinion and have questions addressed by your elected City  Council representatives ? Town Hall Meetings include a review of  topics of interest and discussions of policies and procedures  that may affect you/your loved ones. Visit the City of Aurora's website to learn about 2018 Town Hall Meetings in your neighborhood.

Colorado Gives Day
Thank you to everyone who supported The Arc of Aurora as part of our
fourth Colorado Gives Day campaign on Tuesday, December 5, 2017.   M ore than 32 people and organizations showed their support to raise $3400.  Thank you to everyone who made a contribution to help us continue to make a difference!

Free Low Sensory Mornings
Have trouble viewing the flyer? Click here.

Free Captioned Telephone For Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing
If you or someone you know has trouble hearing during a telephone call, CapTel can help at no cost.  Click here  for more information.

SLS Information Session for CDASS
In preparation for expansion of Consumer Directed Attendant Support Services (CDASS) into the Supported Living Services (SLS) waiver, Consumer Direct will be hosting three client information sessions.  The sessions are available as in-person or call in/webinar options.  Participate to learn more about participant directed options.    In-person space is limited, and registration in advance is required.

Have trouble viewing the flyer? Click here.

Silent Auction - do you want to donate an item or service?
The Arc of Aurora will be having a Silent Auction in 2018 and we are welcoming donations for auction. Here are a few ideas: 
  • Tickets to the movies, performances, sporting events, etc.
  • Vacations
  • Coffee Basket, Bookworm Basket, Gardening Basket, Wine and Cheese basket, Family Game Night Basket, etc.
  • Massages or a spa day
  • Fitness opportunities, such as personal training, yoga, cycling, etc.
  • Pet training or sitting
  • Dining out gift cards/certificates
  • Oil changes for a year
  • Family photo shoots
  • Jewelry
  • Tech items such as tablets, fitness watches, etc.
  • Signed memorabilia
  • Artwork
  • Memberships
  • Cooking Classes
  • Collectibles
  • Singing/Dancing/Music lessons, etc.
These are just a FEW ideas.  Have something in mind?  Contact Erica at the office Edennison@thearcofaurora.org or 720-213-1420.
Policy Profile
-Submitted by Hanni Raley, Assistant Executive Director-
 
Abuse and exploitation are constant dangers for people with I/DD, and compared to the general population, people with I/DD are at greater risk of mistreatment, abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Because people with developmental disabilities are often unable to recognize dangers, to protect themselves from those dangers, and to obtain assistance from the criminal justice system when they have been victimized, they are perceived as highly vulnerable to victimization.

The Arc of Aurora's Self Advocates have been talking about victimization since 2012. Take a look at their It's Time To Talk About It videos:
While The Arc of Aurora has been bringing this issue to light for more than a decade, we are currently joined by radio and television series focused on the treatment of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  The information and stories within both series contain graphic content (which may be upsetting to some people); however, it is critical that as a community we continue to learn about the prevalence of abuse so that we recognize it when we see it and build policies and systems to prevent it. 

*The links below lead to graphic content that may be upsetting to some people.
___________________________________________________

N ational Public Radio (NPR)
Abuse of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities
At a moment of reckoning in the United States about sexual harassment and sexual assault, a yearlong NPR investigation finds that there's little recognition of a group of Americans that is one of the most at risk: adults with intellectual disabilities. This NPR series started on Monday, January 8 and ended on Thursday, January 18.  There are stories on-line at  www.npr.org,  and the radio stories can also be heard there.

Rocky Mountain Public Broadcasting (RMPBS)
Insight with John Ferrugia, Protecting the Vulnerable
After a series of troubling incidents involving residential providers for our state's most vulnerable citizens, Insight examines who is responsible for making sure safety is a priority and investigates Colorado's host home system.   This article  begins to tell the story of three Coloradans who allege mistreatment while living in host homes.

The full investigation aired on  Thursday, January 18, 2018, at 7:00 pm on Rocky Mountain PBS.   Click here to watch the story.
___________________________________________________

The Arc of Aurora is  facilitating  a  Member training  on Monday, February 26 regarding your rights in a host home.  Visit the Members' Corner  s ection in this newsletter above for more  information.  S tay tuned to the Policy Profile section of  News You Can Use,  and follow us on social media to keep up-to-date on upcoming policy initiatives aimed at addressing the staggeringly common abuse and neglect of people with I/DD. 

Not all wounds are visible.  Know that it is never your fault if you experience mistreatment, abuse, neglect, or exploitation.  The Arc of Aurora is here for you when you need support, guidance, or advocacy. We are committed to continuing to highlight opportunities for policies and systems to better serve individuals with I/DD.  We advocate for improved system response, processes rooted in best-practice, and respect for the victimized and vulnerable.
Spotlight On
-Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE)-

Kroenke Sports & Entertainment is home to The Colorado Avalanche (NHL), Denver Nuggets (NBA), Colorado Rapids (MLS), and Colorado Mammoth (NLL), as well as many other entities in Colorado under the KSE umbrella.  This past holiday season with nearly 1,000 employees from all of its Colorado entities, the KSE team came together to donate more than 1,500 items to The Arc of Aurora.  These donations included nonperishable food, hygiene products, and wrapped toys.  One of the pillars in the KSE mission statement is to celebrate the best in sports and entertainment by recognizing the diversity and human spirit around us, and by working to improve the lives of all those within our community.

The Arc of Aurora is in AWE of and grateful for KSE's support!


KSE employees with donations  - December, 2017
The Arc of Aurora | 720-213-1420 | www.thearcofaurora.org
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