April 10, 2016                                                                                                       April E-News Issue 1
Thanks to everyone that participated!

Chuck Murphy

Over 60 guests attended an invitation only special event on Tuesday night at The Mezzanine in downtown Colorado Springs, hosted by Special Kids Special Families (SKSF) to help raise funds for Zach's Place at the Laurie Hillyard Family Center.  Many pieces of photographic art were graciously donated by local artist and philanthropist Chuck Murphy, owner of Murphy Constructors.  Chuck's passion for the beauty of nature and inspirational travel adventures were truly captured in every donated piece displayed. "Photography is something that I've loved my entire life," Chuck Murphy said. "It taught me to see and appreciate ... people and nature and the world."*

Over $5,000 was raised during the event where Chuck's art was auctioned off by Auctioneer, Kevin Patterson, to the highest bidder.

"We are grateful to Chuck Murphy for his donated art, Hoff & Leigh for obtaining the venue, along with all of the donated food from area restaurants, and of course the event organizers, volunteers and donors that made this event so successful," states Linda Ellegard, Executive Director of SKSF, "we couldn't have done it without them!"   According to event organizer, Susan Saksa, "There were many guests that attended this event who have never heard of Zach's Place and learned about their valuable services for the first time.  We are grateful for the connections we established today." 

Zach's Place respite and child care program is one of three main programs at Special Kids Special Families. SKSF also serves adults with developmental disabilities and provides foster and adoption services.

*quote taken from CSBJ article dated 6/3/15

Renae Isakson, Program Director 
of Zach's Place

SKSF Board President, 
Staci Bills with Board Member, Greg Garrison
Linda Ellegard,
SKSF Executive Director 

Susan Saksa, SKSF Donor Development & Chuck Murphy

Can you help us reach our goal?

Zach's Place at the Laurie Hillyard Family Center is ONE of ONLY TWO licensed daycare providers in the state and currently  the only one in the Pikes Peak region with the focus and training to provide both respite and daycare for children with intellectual, physical and emotional disabilities.

The Capital Campaign is tasked with raising funds to purchase the current facility at 4795 Granby Circle in Colorado Springs, to ensure efficient, financial responsibility and future assurances that the program will always have a suitable permanent home.

As we continue to raise awareness and funds to support the Zach's Place Capital Campaign, we have raised 75% (nearly $387,000) of our goal of $500,000, but we need your help to fill the gap!

WOULD YOU CONSIDER DONATING?  A donation in any amount will help us reach our goal. To read more about the Capital Campaign, Zach's Place program and/or any of our other services visit  www.SKSFcolorado.org.

Learn more about Zach's Place program - through a Parent's eyes
Learn more about Zach's Place program - through a Parent's eyes

Thanks to everyone that participated!

Lisa Kalell, Event Coordinator; Renae Isakson, Zach's Place Program Director

Thank you Fossil Craft Beer Company  and to everyone that participated during Special Kids Special Families Charity Pint Night!  We raised a few hundred dollars to help fund our Zach's Place Capital Campaign fund to create a permanent home for the program! Your participation is greatly appreciated!  To donate in any dollar amount or learn more about Zach's Place Capital Campaign - click here...

Therapeutic Gardening by Planting Flowers

Julie Hudak with Danielle Murphy
Bruce Gray watering seedlings
Danielle Murphy caring for seedlings

Joey's Place program participants were eager to help in an activity planned by volunteer, Julie Hudak.  Adults planted vegetable and flower seedlings using lamps to help germinate the seeds. Once the weather improves and the sun begins to shine the lamps will be removed.  Constant caring is needed for these plants to grow which teaches patience, vigilance and responsibility.  Thanks Julie for your tireless efforts and teaching these therapeutic techniques to our clients. To learn more about the Joey's Place program for adults with developmental disabilities and special needs  visit our website.

Jion Fenner watering the seedlings
Julie Hudak showing Jion Fenner techniques to caring for seedlings

Acknowledging our Volunteers

During the month of April, we have seen a steady number of volunteers assist at every facility.  Whether helping clean, organize, or participate in an activity with our youth or adult program participants, our volunteers go ABOVE & BEYOND! Here are a few photos that give only a glimpse of their hard work.   Visit our SKSF Volunteer Network page on Facebook and "LIKE US".  We'll keep you up to date with current opportunities.

School of the Deaf & Blind

A big thank you to the School of the Deaf and Blind for joining us and volunteering at Zach's Place!  Classmates from the school helped  clean Zach's Place top to bottom, even individual toys.  This is the third time students from the school have volunteered at Zach's Place.  "The great thing about some of the organizations that help us out is they get to know the children and the staff and the center and what we do. And, they'll come back and want to volunteer again and again," said Zach's Place Director, Renae Isakson.   It's a partnership that both parties plan to continue in the future.  The students interacted with our youth and also did some major organizing for us - your help is greatly appreciated!


Mondays, May 2nd & May 16th
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 tmiklebost@sksfcolorado.org or call (719) 329-1717.

Monday, 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.  Please allow 2 weeks to process.  Contact Tammy or Dani at 719-329-1717 or email us at  zachsplace@sksfcolorado.org.   Limited space. May theme is Cinco De Mayo.

Monday, 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.

The Network meets on a quarterly basis. Please JOIN US for a relaxing time with people who understand what your journey is like.  If parents need childcare, please discuss when you RSVP. Pre-registration required.

 Linda Ellegard  |  l ellegard@sksfcolorado.org  |  (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 |   (719) 329-1717
Julie Hudak - Gardening in a Therapeutic Manner
Other guest speakers - TBA (stay tuned)

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  lellegard@sksfcolorado.org.

$15/child includes snack, refreshments, activity expenses & take home item; advanced registration is required; grades K-6th; Workshops held at SKSF Adult Services facility; 3450 N Nevada Avenue, CO Springs, or other community location.  Sponsored by  The Arc of Pikes Peak.

Sunday, May 1st
5:00pm - 8:00pm

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...

Use your everyday spending to help raise FUNDS for SKSF:

Amazon.Smiles.com -  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 Brian Botka our Chief Operations Manager.
Brian Botka is an innovative and industrious professional with over twenty-five years of private and federal government high-tech sector experience. A thoughtful proactive and decisive leader who can run divisional operations, manage large-scale projects, advance corporate objectives that enhance personnel development, productivity, and customer satisfaction.

Brian will be a great asset to our team with Special Kids Special Families.
We welcome you, Brian! 

Please welcome Brittany Brock.
Her position at SKSF is a
Direct Care Provider
for Zach'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...