Stories

FirstBank Brings "Banking for Good" to LifePublished: June 13, 2018




Ron Lindsey (L), Harold Dickerson (C), and Cody Widiger (R), employees of  FirstBank,
volunteer with the Developmental Disabilities Resource Center

With an uplifting and bold tagline emblazoned on their tee shirts, three guys from FirstBank flexed their muscles and fired their brain cells to show that “Banking for Good” is more than a company slogan, it is a company culture that encouraged them to volunteer with the Developmental Disabilities Resource Center, and help those with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

Undaunted by the summer heat, Harold Dickerson, Cody Widiger, and Ron Lindsey, who are part of FirstBank’s Fraud Analytics Operations, tackled multiple clean-up projects on two Lakewood, Colorado properties that are group homes for those who are differently-abled, those with IDD.

The men removed stubborn overgrown bushes, hauled dead and fallen tree limbs, raked up debris, cleaned out window wells, and made multiple trips to dumpsters – all of which resulted in tired yards taking on an inviting feeling. It was a wonderful improvement to the properties, where the residents didn’t have the tools, pickup truck, or physical ability to accomplish the heavy lift of that effort.

Taking the better part of an afternoon, the volunteers also tackled construction of many raised garden planter kits, providing the residents an opportunity to grow flowers, herbs and vegetables.

The nonprofit Developmental Disabilities Resource Center manages the group homes, where about six to eight individuals live in each house. DDRC manages about eleven such homes, and also coordinates with apartment managers and individual homeowners to provide additional housing. A mere 50 years ago, people with IDD were shuttered away in large, impersonal institutions, so the approaches taken today allow people with IDD to live more authentic lives that are connected to the community.

When asked by DDRC why they volunteered, Harold, Manager of Fraud Analytics said, “FirstBank encourages employees to give back to the community; it’s an important part of our culture. We're here to help people in need.” Ron shared that he has a friend who works with children with autism, so he knew about intellectual disabilities, and was eager to make a difference in his own way. Cody expressed appreciation of FirstBank’s support of time off from work for employee volunteerism.

FirstBank, a privately held bank and financial services company with headquarters in Lakewood, has bank locations in Colorado, Arizona, and California. They take pride in their role of transforming communities, whether empowering business growth or helping to address community needs through partnership with nonprofits. The three-man team from FirstBank didn’t just spruce up the yards of the Lakewood group homes, they also transformed the residents' summer outdoor living experience, all made possible by a philosophy of “Banking for Good.”

See more about FirstBank in their community report and video.

If your company would like to see how they can make a difference by supporting the services of DDRC, contact DDRC’s Volunteer Coordinator at 303.462.6585 or email April.Richey@ddrcco.com, or contact our Community Relations Office at 303.462.6623.



Karen Allison, DDRC Quality Living Options Program Manager, stands with FirstBank volunteers  Ron Lindsey (L), Harold Dickerson (C), and Cody Widiger (R). 

Dogs Donations and DisabilitiesPublished: May 1, 2018


They say that dogs are man’s best friend (and women’s too). That’s in part because a pooch is loyal and giving, albeit through wags and wet kisses. But what does this have to do with DDRC?

 Just ask one of our steadfast donors, Heidi Markley, who has contributed proceeds from her dog and house-sitting service, Angels and Unicorns, to support the work of DDRC year-after-year, and often several times a year.  Heidi had a child in service with DDRC and she saw the crucial importance of respite care and its benefits for both the family and the individual in service. She donates to help support respite care through DDRC’s Shannon and Bill Markley Respite Fund.

DDRC is fortunate that the commitment to the work we do is shared by more than 500 donors, whose combined contributions this year have totaled approximately $180,000.

Beverly Winters, DDRC Executive Director
speaking to donors.
This April, DDRC donors attended a reception in their honor, where DDRC Executive Director Beverly Winters thanked them and spoke about the impact of their contributions in supporting our wide range of services and special initiatives. These initiatives include our 25th Hour Fund for emergency assistance and a one-time boost, the refurbished Technology Learning Lab which provides classes and coaching to help people in service gain greater independence through their tech devices, and the new Café Soul, an employment training ground for people with IDD who are exploring the food service industry. Attendees toured the Tech Lab and Café Soul, enjoyed a spread of delicious hors d'oeuvres, and connected with other donors and DDRC staff.


Beverly Winters and Heidi Markley 


DDRC is proud to say that we build on abilities, helping people with disabilities fulfill possibilities. We wouldn’t have the ability to do all that we do were it not for our wonderful donors.  And that’s something to bark about!







Pictures from the April reception:




Joanne Elliott, DDRC Board of Directors member with Deb Gordon, DDRC Director of Quality Living Options -ISS



Lesley Dahlkemper, former Jeffco School Board member and candidate for Jefferson County Commissioner with Corinne Gray, DDRC Board of Directors member, and Susan Johnson, DDRC Director of Children and Family Services.



Diane Hitchingham, DDRC Development Director, with Ron Marquez, former DDRC Community Relations Director, and Jill Polito.



Rob DeHerrera, DDRC Deputy Director and CFO, with Art Hogling, former DDRC Executive Director, and Mary Prall.

















Ron Marquez, with Joseph and Pat Polito, and Erik Krickbaum.








Welcome to the New SitePublished: September 15, 2017


We are proud to announce the release of our newly redesigned website. After months of hard work and dedication, we are delighted that you are here with us!The DDRC website has been crafted to support the people we serve, their families and their communities. Our goal is to provide easy, accessible access to information for individuals and families on services, resources and funding available.
Exciting new features!
Homepage – A great place to see what is new and exciting at DDRC! Visit the FAQs section, learn about upcoming events and find out all about the services DDRC offers.
Search – Our updated search tool allows you to find the information you are looking for even faster and easier than before.
Events Calendar – Find out the latest events and training offered by visiting the Event section.
Easy Navigation – Streamlined menus and quick Navigation to the information you need.
Responsive Design – Our website now works seamlessly on mobile devices and tablets.
Share – Now you can share any page on our website with our integrated social media buttons that allow you to share content on Facebook and Twitter.
We hope you find the new website easy to access.

Four Corners to a HomePublished: September 7, 2017


PJ Snyder currently receives services through DDRC. PJ has Angelman Syndrome, a neuro-genetic disorder that causes daily issues from being non-verbal, seizures, and severe scoliosis and balance issues requiring a wheelchair for mobility. Yet, PJ has a contagious happy disposition, loves music and water, and lives an active life out in the community. Since 2012, PJ has participated in almost 60 events with Athletes in Tandem (AiT) including the Boulder Ironman in 2014. AiT was created for athletes to partner in swimming, cycling, running, and triathlon events with individuals of all abilities. AiT promotes an active lifestyle for individuals to increase the quality of their lives and become part of the community of outdoor recreational enthusiasts. They use their athletic skills and knowledge of endurance training and racing, combined with adaptive equipment, to compete together in mainstream swimming, cycling, running and triathlon events.
Their goal is to provide a path for anyone, regardless of physical ability, to participate in outdoor events; from 5Ks to marathons and Sprint distance to Ironman distance triathlons. On July 17, PJ Snyder and AiT founder Dennis Vanderheiden, embarked on an epic adventure, bicycling 600 miles in 13 days from Four Corners, CO through some of the Colorado’s most scenic and mountainous areas ending in Golden, CO.

Four Corners to a Home

PJ Snyder and Dennis Vanderheiden's map route.
The ride, named "Four Corners to a Home," was done to raise money for an eventual home for Snyder, who turned 31 during the ride, where he can live out his life, as well as raising awareness and research funding for Angelman Syndrome.
"He loves to be outdoors, and he loves the attention," said Cindy Snyder, PJ’s adoptive mother. PJ sat next to her in his wheelchair. Although rendered nonverbal by the disease, he smiled and held the celebratory balloons that helped greet him at the end of the ride. The two of them live in an apartment in the Edgewater/Wheat Ridge area. They decided to end the ride in Golden, because the Golden or Wheat Ridge area would be where she would love to see the two of them find a permanent home.
"Everything went well," said Vanderheiden, munching on pizza between interview answers.
A multi-sport athlete from Ft. Collins, Vanderheiden has participated in more than 70 bike and running events with PJ over the years, including a full Ironman triathlon.
Even with pulling an additional 100 pounds of weight behind his bike for 13 days, over uphill climbs the likes of Monarch Pass and Trail Ridge Road, Vandenheider said his toughest challenges were largely mental.
"We made our destination on the first day, found some shade and I just collapsed there and thought, I don’t know if I can do this,’ " Vanderheiden recalled.
But partnered with the Snyders for support, and with a documentary film crew along for the ride, Vanderheiden said he knew he had to find a way.
The documentary, which Vanderheiden said will include interviews with doctors and Angelman Syndrome patients across the country, is not expected to be finished for a year. In the meantime, Snyder and Vanderheiden still have quite a few events on their calendar for the rest of the year.
When asked about what he tells people who ask him for advice about finding ways to help those less fortunate, he says he tries to encourage them to find their own way of helping. Vanderheiden said,
We inherently want to help people, go do it, because the rewards are great.
PJ Snyder and Dennis Vanderheiden embark on a bicycling adventure.
Visit www.fourcornerstoahome.com for more updates on PJ’s story.

Software Grant AwardedPublished: May 16, 2017


Developmental Disabilities Resource Center (DDRC) announced that Microsoft Philanthropies has donated over $400,000 worth of Microsoft software and services to support technology upgrades that will enhance staff efficiency to build organizational capacity.
Microsoft Philanthropies provides grants that contribute in new and impactful ways to create a societal ecosystem connecting the benefits of technology to those who need it most. For more than 30 years, Microsoft has invested in programs supporting nonprofits like DDRC to help further their mission through grants, employee volunteers and software donations.
With almost 600 employees, DDRC creates opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families to participate fully in the community. Almost 4,000 people with developmental disabilities look to DDRC for services and resource coordination throughout Jefferson, Gilpin, Clear Creek and Summit counties.
Keith Frambro, DDRC’s director of information technology, applied for the grant to help increase employees’ capacity to access data stored in databases quickly and accurately thereby enhancing service delivery models while ensuring confidentiality and security.
"DDRC is honored to be the recipient of this generous grant from Microsoft Philanthropies," said Keith Frambro, director of IT. "Microsoft’s donation will update our technology infrastructure allowing for quick and easy remote data access for our staff who provide services for individuals with developmental disabilities in both their homes and the community. We are very excited to get started."
The proposed upgrades will provide improved access across the DDRC network and databases to support the organization’s mobile workforce who currently work with paper documents or with limited access electronic documents housed on a network. Upgrades to DDRC’s servers, SQL system and core software will make significant resources available that can be invested in direct care and other valuable activities such as staff development and cultivating relationships with community partners. Implementation of the new software update and server upgrades will begin immediately.
Beverly Winters, DDRC’s executive director, stated, "In this critical time of lean resources, Microsoft has come through in a big way to help DDRC maintain quality programs and resources for the people we care so much about, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities."
About Microsoft Philanthropies
In December 2015 Microsoft formed Microsoft Philanthropies (@MSPhilanthropic), a new organization within the company focused on driving digital inclusion and empowerment around the world.
About Microsoft
Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT" @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.