October 2021 Newsletter
Don't Miss the Oct. 6 Virtual Legislative BBQ
Registration Closes today, Oct. 5
Attendees are entered to win $50 BBQ Gift Cards!
 
Participants will hear from elected officials and candidates about issues that are crucial to our community and our nonprofits, and how we can work with officials to improve the lives of the people we serve.

Officials and candidates are being asked to address the topics of housing, employment, mental health, transportation and the digital divide, and to briefly share about themselves too. It will be a great opportunity to learn more about them and their thoughts, and to hear briefly from the Legislative BBQ event hosts: Family Tree, DDRC, Jefferson Center, and Seniors' Resource Center.
DDRC Annual Meeting and Awards on October 27
DDRC is holding our Annual Meeting and Awards virtually on Wednesday October 27 from 6:00- 7:30 p.m.

The virtual event is open to our members: people determined eligible for DDRC services and their families. We also invite guests, donors and community members. We look forward to having you join us to help celebrate our wonderful awardees, meet our Board of Directors, and hear business items and news from our leadership. There is no cost to join us for the evening. 

Registration is required. Please register by Friday, Oct 22. Registrants will be emailed the meeting link before the meeting. 
Learn How to Motivate Positive Behavior on October 20
Attention parents, caregivers, teachers, coaches and others: getting cooperation from someone you care for or work with can sometimes be a challenge, but the right approach can help. DDRC’s Behavioral Health Team is hosting a free training to help attendees learn how to motivate positive behavior, applicable to many ages and settings.

The class will be held in-person on October 20, from 9 am- 3 pm, at DDRC offices at 11177 W. 8th Ave., Lakewood 80215. Advance registration required: email your name and phone number to Zachary.Maple@ddrcco.com. See the class flyer
National Disability Employment Awareness Month 
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). It’s a time to celebrate successes in integrated employment and what people of all abilities have to offer in the workforce. Over the years, people have been working to change systems, change laws and change attitudes. We are proud that DDRC and our Employment Services have been a part of this movement.
 
Advancements include the opportunity for people with disabilities to do real work for real pay. Subminimum wage is no longer acceptable. People with developmental disabilities work alongside people without disabilities and have opportunities to advance like everyone else.
 
Success has been furthered by Employment Specialists who help discover the interests and strengths of the people they support, along with the business needs of each employer, so that a great job match is made. With that match comes increased job satisfaction, worker productivity and contribution, and many times, greater job longevity. Employers benefit from the value that diversity in hiring brings, adding new perspectives and experiences to benefit operations and enrich work culture. Employees gain economic flexibility, purpose, skills and human connections.
 
If you’re looking to hire a qualified candidate or are a person with a developmental disability wondering about career opportunities that are right for you, reach out to DDRC’s Employment Services at 720.544.8114, or call DDRC’s Case Management at 303.233.3363 for suggestions to get started. For inspiration, read Preston’s story.
Preston’s Employment Journey
Pursuing one’s passion and finding job fulfillment is not some faraway dream, not when you show openness and have support. It worked out for Preston, thanks to his willingness and courage to explore change and the support he received from DDRC’s Employment Services and Employment Specialist Andera Samuelson.
Preston worked for six years on a DDRC janitorial crew comprised of people with developmental disabilities. At the time, Preston considered this the maximum contribution he would make to the workforce. When COVID emerged, the segregated crew that Preston worked on was temporarily halted, but that disruption became a catalyst for change. Rather than reopening the crews when the situation was more manageable, it was clear that the right course of action was to work with each employee to understand their unique work goals and path forward. It was a time to put integrated employment into full practice.
Preston began working with Andrea to explore his interests and the strengths he brings to the workforce. As part of that discovery and job development process, it became apparent that Preston has a passion for automobiles. When Andrea took Preston to Advance Auto Parts, he lit up immediately and started educating her about all the auto parts! This was the spark she was looking for, the clue that this could be a career that Preston loves. With Andrea's support, Preston pursued a Parts Salesperson position and accepted a job offer with Advance Auto Parts.
Advance Auto Parts recognized the importance of working with Preston like any other employee on their team and have naturally built their relationship with Preston so that Andrea’s involvement can be limited to what Preston will truly benefit from. Advance Auto Parts is emphasizing their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and is working to engage employees with disabilities in their workforce.


Learn more about DDRC Employment Services by calling 720.544.8114 or visiting them on DDRC's website at https://ddrcco.com/vocational/home
The Different Colors of Self-Advocacy  
Self-Advocacy is a beautiful thing. On a recent warm fall day, 12 people receiving our services chose to explore self-advocacy and what it means to them. They gathered for a class called “Art & Self-Advocacy” at DDRC’s Walters building as part of a special Therapeutic Learning Connections/Recreation program along with DDRC’s Community Relations.

With doors open in the big cafeteria, breezes blowing and an air of excitement, the group sat down to tables strewn with paint tubes, paint rollers, stencils, leaves, markers and foam boards. Posted around the room were various words associated with self-advocacy. Before diving into the art, the group talked about the meanings the words. They discussed what self-advocacy i: speaking up for yourself, doing things you enjoy, making decisions about your life and knowing your rights and your responsibilities. They shared how they saw these things in their own lives and through their unique lens.
For Stephanie, it was the feeling that her actions mattered and the dignity she demonstrates when volunteering at a Food Bank. For Tammi and Jennifer T. taking walks gives them a sense of independence as they choose where to go and what to take in from the world. Jennifer S. expresses dignity in her success of being healthy and demonstrating value in contributing by helping to babysit.

Several people use sports to express to themselves and to others that they are strong, confident and deserve to be included. Brett is excited and proud to be competing in upcoming out-of-state games. Marti loves being in Special Olympics and Andrea chooses cheerleading. Through these pursuits they express their dedication, their passion and satisfaction in belonging. 

With all these different viewpoints it’s no wonder that each of the art pieces had a unique twist. Swaths of different colors were stroked across blank board, and images of leaves, stars, hearts, and words that reflect self-advocacy, were placed as each artist wished. 
Marti’s art had the word “brave.” Stephanie’s piece had “congratulations,” “be yourself” set into calm blues and greens. Andrea’s art incorporated many shapes. Kim expressed that self-advocacy is tied to feeling good, as the words “fun” and “happy” were set next to stars and a butterfly. Tammi put “speaking up” into a sea of beautiful blues and greens, while Michael placed the word “choice” onto a bold red background.

Jennifer T remarked that her piece looked like tie-dye as she laid down the paint, while stenciling-in the word “self-respect.” Brett said, “I don’t do art, but I’m enjoying this,” as he worked the words “adventurous” and “confident” into his piece. Jennifer S. made clear her view of self-advocacy with the words ”Be Yourself” set against a happy yellow heart. And channeling the feeling of the day, Paul T’s piece had the words “Kind, Beautiful, People” folded into a riot of colors, along with his hand-painted image of a heart with wings, perhaps taking flight into the next expression of self-advocacy. 
Self-advocacy is a beautiful thing, and on this day, it also inspired some beautiful art.

A special thank you to superb, professional artist, Gayle Crites of Golden, who helped DDRC envision the art process, advised us on the techniques and tools, and donated time and materials for the effort! For more information about DDRC TLC/Rec call 720.544.8151.
New COVID Requirements Affecting DDRC Operations
DDRC continues to monitor and adjust to ever changing COVID-19 guidance from Federal and State authorities. The Colorado State Board of Health approved an emergency rule requiring COVD-19 vaccinations for settings licensed by the Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment. This requirement applies to our DDRC group homes and some services we provide under our “Class B” Home Health license in A Better Choice. This rule requires that employees, contractors and support staff in these areas be fully vaccinated by October 31, 2021. 

President Biden unveiled a plan requiring vaccinations or weekly testing for employees at companies/organizations with 100 workers or more, which applies to DDRC. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be developing, issuing and implementing the rules.  
We’re Hiring! Come to DDRC
“Would you like a rewarding career doing meaningful work to help people lead their best lives? Come to DDRC!” says Heather Schrock, with DDRC Human Resources.

Work with team members who care, with inclusive and diverse values, a flexible 36-hour work week, remote work opportunities, superior benefits and the opportunity to be part of an organization committed to you and to an important mission! Spread the word and apply at https://ddrcco.com/careers
Consider a Year-end Donation to DDRC to Support People with Disabilities
With fall underway and the end of the year approaching we are pausing to reflect with much gratitude for our community of donors, advocates and friends, and all that your support helps us accomplish for over 4,400 people with disabilities and their families. Support from our community means everything to us and has helped us jump hurdles we have faced over the course of the pandemic to create opportunities so that people of all abilities may participate.

Will you help us continue creating opportunities and providing resources for people with disabilities and their families with a year-end donation? If so, you can make a difference today by sending a check to 1177 W 8th Ave, Lakewood, CO 80215, or giving online at www.coloradogives.org/DDRC. You can also give online to DDRC via Colorado Gives Day on Tuesday, December 7th, Colorado’s biggest online giving event. Donations can be scheduled for Colorado Gives Day starting November 1st at www.coloradogives.org/DDRC.

Thank you for being a part of our community and helping to build a more welcoming world for all! Questions: call 303.462.6584 or email anna.bishop@ddrcco.com
New Inclusive Housing in Jeffco Through Trailhead Communities in Littleton 
Affordable housing is such a critical issue across our community. Housing is particularly important for the estimated 12,000 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities across Colorado who are living with their caregivers aged 60 and older.
A new, inclusive community in Littleton called Trailhead Communities is well into the planning stages and is offering for-sale condos, and later for-rent units, in various pricing. They are positioning their design and amenities to respond to the needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, seniors, and other neurotypical residents, while also being an option for public service workers and others.

For more information about Trailhead Communities, a 501c3 nonprofit, visit www.trailheadcommunity.org. They are also hosting a free virtual information meeting on Thursday, Oct. 7 at 7 pm.

Download the Trailhead Communities brochure here.
COVID - 19 Resources
The Colorado Vaccine Website          
Vaccine Hotline 1-877-268-2926
COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine Information: Jeffco, Clear Creek, Gilpin, Summit

Update relating to DDRC operations during the pandemic: here
Creating opportunities for people of all ages with intellectual and
developmental disabilities to participate fully in the community.
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