Our Mission: Create Opportunities for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and their Families to Participate Fully in the Community
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Masons Make a DifferencePublished: May 5, 2022


 

When the same group steps forward many times to give their time and physical effort to help make things better, you know their values go deeper than words. We are blessed and grateful that the Masons’ friendship includes DDRC and helping to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities.


In late April, Masons from the Marquis de Lafayette Lodge #41 and Denver Lodge #5 spent two entire Saturdays cleaning and sprucing up the yard of the DDRC “Lamar” residential group home in Lakewood. The property is home to about 8 people served by DDRC’s Quality Living Options program. Given that April is volunteer month, their timing was perfect.

 

The Masons efforts were transformational! Wielding rakes, trimmers, clippers and paint brushes they got to work. They gave tall deck pillars a fresh coat of protective paint. They cut and cleared away debris from many overgrown and dead bushes. They raked up remnants of winter leaves and fallen twigs to reveal emerging spring grass, and they trimmed-up tree limbs to provide a space underneath to enjoy a spot of shade. Moving all that debris was no easy task as the yard is on a steep slope, so it was a lot of climbing up and down the hill. The final stack of branches stood more than 7 feet high and was at least twice as wide.



Steve Jimenez, DDRC’s Facilities Director was there to help and provide tools and direction for the project. Upon its completion he said, “This was incredible and such a huge help!” “It was our pleasure,” the Masons responded, demonstrating their gracious and humble character.

 

Our sincere thanks to Mason Grant Sanders, who spearheaded the effort, along with his fellow Masons Bill Busby, Bryan Kemper, Lawrence Laurent, Johann Ortner, and Justin Washnieksi, all of the Marquis de Lafayette Lodge #41, Conner Gould of Denver Lodge #5, and Jon Vande Riet, general volunteer and Grant's son-in law





Spring into Awareness - IDD Awareness Month wrap up Published: April 4, 2022




 


Fairfield-Denver West /Federal Center, the West Metro Chamber and DDRC, were pleased to partner to host Spring into Awareness, a gathering to wrap up IDD  Awareness Month in March and to celebrate diversity and inclusion for people of all abilities, including through employment.

A brief video of Fairfield, their team, and their commitment to diversity in employment, along with DDRC, showcased inclusive employment.  An art show by artists served by DDRC beautifully illustrated themes of self-advocacy and the aspirations of the artists. The three host organizations spoke about their work to create a vibrant community. Local Jeffco businesses Flights Wine Café, Wahoo’s, Ballmer Peak Distillery, Crimson Cat Studios, and Shaklee (Susan Firmin) generously supported the event with donations of drink, food and door prizes. It was a fun and meaningful evening, and pictures from the night are shared below.   See the video: Inclusive Employment Works -Fairfield and DDRC.





















Proud of Dezirae Gurule - Our DSP NomineePublished: March 23, 2022


IDD Awareness Day, hosted by Alliance Colorado, The Arc of Colorado, and CU JFK Partners was celebrated on March 23. Honoring the contributions and roles of Direct Support Professionals (DSP) has always been a significant part of IDD Awareness Day as we recognize the important impact these staff make in the lives of the people they serve.

We are incredibly proud of Dezirae Gurule, our DDRC DSP nominee for the 2022 Colorado DSP of the Year. She is a winner in our eyes! As an Employment Specialist on the DDRC Employment Services team, Dezirae has contributed to the evolution of our service delivery culture, built strong relationships with her team, and has a meaningful impact on the career journeys of the people she supports. 

Career Seeker Impact: Dezirae explores creative strategies to offer effective job coaching that supports independence. An example of her person-centered approach is when she began working with a career seeker who loves superheroes. The career seeker experiences anxiety, especially when trying to connect with new managers or co-workers. While some members of her support network felt the career seeker’s love of superheroes might be a hindrance to her success at work, Dezirae embraced what was important to this career seeker and explored how it could actually assist her at work and reduce anxiety. Dezirae helps this person build relationships with her team by being present with her for new introductions and encouraging conversation about superheroes. This employee now connects with new team members and mitigates her anxiety by talking about superheroes as an ice breaker. Instead of hiding her personal interests from her co-workers, it has become her superpower! 

Service Delivery Culture: Dezirae is a leader among her peers. She shares her knowledge and expertise with her fellow Employment Specialists to advance their supported employment skills for the benefit of the people we support. She asks bold questions and is not afraid to advocate for change that will help bring positive outcomes for the people we support.


For example, Dezirae provided supports for an employee who was pursuing his next steps toward greater independence at work. DDRC had been providing line of sight (LOS) supervision duties for this employee during his shifts. He demonstrated through his work performance and positive choices that it was time to discuss if his LOS supports could be reduced or eliminated altogether, as he desired. While it wasn’t typical that the Employment Specialist would  be involved in advocating for a transition away from line-of-sight supervision, Dezirae recognized his readiness to transition and helped him advocate for himself, including being present as a support during meetings that were not typically billable in Desirae’s role. However, this advocacy and her support promoted positive employment outcomes for this person. Our subject matter expert at HCPF applauded our advocacy and indicated that our inquiry regarding  the matter of billable activities would serve as a best practice case study as HCPF evolves their fee schedule over the coming months. Dezirae’s initiative shows she puts service culture first and seeks to make that the norm. 

Employer Relationships: Dezirae has a natural talent for connecting with local employers and building relationships with leaders in our local workforce to help open more doors for people we serve. She builds a network of employer contacts which leverages in her own job development efforts and shares her connections with her teammates so that the career seekers we support find the right job match for their employment goals.

Employers look to Dezirae as a resource for recruiting qualified candidates that are the right job match for their business needs and as a source of education around diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. For example, Dezirae has developed a close relationship with the Golden Hotel and Restaurant management team. Because of her time spent getting to understand this employer’s needs, they have been an incredible partner in promoting inclusive employment within their own hiring practices. They have approached Dezirae about educating their staff on how to support co-workers with disabilities in an inclusive and equitable way.  When hiring opportunities become available, they reach out to Dezirae because they know that she will connect them with qualified candidates and be a meaningful resource and support for new employees. Similarly, Dezirae has also built strong working relationships with Burlington and the managers there have reached out to Dezirae to help with their hiring efforts in other parts of the state.

Dezirae’s contributions as an Employment Specialist at DDRC truly impacts every aspect of our work. From growing our team, to educating employers, to serving career seekers, Dezirae exemplifies Employment First and advancing our vision for people with disabilities to pursue their employment goals and participate fully in the workforce

And today, more than ever, positive outcomes for employees and employers, and workforce participation, are of importance for so many!

 

Gifts Make a Touching ImpactPublished: January 24, 2022




Holiday lights have mostly faded, but the impact of holiday giving shines on. In December several community groups and people, moved by their generous hearts and “can-do” spirits, organized holiday fundraising, gift card and gift donation drives. These efforts made a positive impact on the 200+ gift recipients: people served by DDRC, their families and their caregivers, whose need was identified by DDRC staff. Gift items and many gift cards to King Soopers, Walmart and Target were distributed, bringing smiles of appreciation and touching recipients in meaningful ways.

A person served by DDRC, and their sibling received donated gift cards. This is the only thing they receive during the holidays and the entire year. They have no other family support and were very happy for the kindness of strangers.  They were struggling prior to DDRC’s A Better Choice’s involvement with them, and DDRC staff took them shopping so they could purchase something for the holidays.


The family of a young man with developmental disabilities had been in dire straits due to the mother having MS and having difficulty covering health care costs. The gift cards were used to purchase items of necessity. This mom cried with gratitude when she was told they would receive the gift cards.


Another family with an adult child with disabilities living at home also has other family members at home with severe health problems. The Target card allowed them to get some things they could not afford before the holidays, and they were delighted. Another person served by DDRC who is often financially strapped, was so thankful and relieved to receive a gift card and he even purchased items for his dog, a very selfless act on his behalf.


All this came through the efforts of many volunteers and donors. The Holiday Open House Drive-By event, organized by DDRC Board member Mary Ann Tillman along with Becky Shreck, and fellow volunteers Jill Polito, Amanda DiVito Parle, and Layne Mielke, generated over $11,000 including online donations, cash, and checks, in addition to the gift card contributions.


The Masons, a fraternal order, also collected money for gift cards, through the dedicated efforts of Mason Grant Sanders, raising $3,825 in donations from the Marquis de Lafayette Lodge #41, the Paul Revere Lodge #130, and other individuals associated with the Masons, including Lincoln and Sherry Soul and Dee O’Kelly.

But that’s not all! DDF Board member Paula Emeson facilitated a $250 donation from the Arvada-Jefferson Kiwanis Club. Volunteer Lynn Fiederowitcz also hosted a gift drive, and her friends and guests donated gift cards, along with movies, board games, and puzzles to provide indoor entertainment. Volunteer Ruth Probasco donated “care bags,” of clothing, activity books and more.   


DDRC staff from Resource Coordination (RC), Early Intervention (EI), Children and Family Services (CFS), A Better Choice (ABC) and Quality Living Options (QLO)  identified people in need and served as "Santa's Helpers" to make sure gift cards and items were distributed, particularly DDRC staff Christina Smith (CFS/El); Anna Allen (RC); Bruce Fritz (ABC); Julie Wenning (QLO) and Jennifer Dawson (Main Office Receptionist). And importantly, DDRC’s Volunteer Services Coordinator April Richey was instrumental in coordinating all these efforts with DDRC staff and volunteers.


huge thank you to all these volunteers and contributors, and hat’s off to all the staff who went the extra mile!


A Spirt to Admire - A Special Staff PersonPublished: December 22, 2021


 We are so grateful to have wonderful employees ! 

Some people are extra special by virtue of their compassion, patience, protectiveness and drive to do what’s best.  For Joana Appiah, Direct Service Provider in our DDRC Individual Residential Support Services (IRSS), those attributes spring from a childhood experience that helped shape her spirit and values, and have benefitted the people she has served through DDRC for more than 10 years. 

Joana grew up in Ghana, Africa. When she was barely a teen, her younger sister contracted a disease that left her deaf. Classmates teased or bullied her sister, and early on Joana was struck by this insensitivity and saw the importance of sticking up for people and helping them be accepted and fit in.

Joana’s family was unable to afford her dream of an education to be a nurse after high school, but she parlayed a gift of a sewing machine to sew thigs to make money, and even helped other graduates learn the trade too. Eventually, Joana immigrated to America, taking her hardworking and kind spirit with her.

Over the years, often while working several jobs to help provide for her family, Joana focused on working in the caregiving field for people with disabilities. She is now part of a DDRC team helping people live as independently as they can in their own apartments with DDRC support for their health, hygiene, nutrition, housekeeping and excursions in the community.

“I want people to be comfortable, to be ready to go out in the community, be met with smiles, and not be left out,” Joana says, explaining that helping people meet the world with dignity is important. She also helps them find joy in daily living by doing activities like lunch at a park, going grocery shopping, going to a movie or doing some hobby or art at home. “I love to cook and try new recipes too, so residents can discover what they enjoy” she says.

Joana lovingly accepts that each person has their own interests, abilities and challenges. She has developed close relationships to the people she supports and to their family members too, which is comforting for family that does not live close by. Recently, Joana and Donna, a woman residing in an apartment and receiving supports, enjoyed putting up a holiday tree and decorations sent by Donna’s sister.

Joana has saved and paid to build a house in Ghana where one day she will semi-retire and help her elderly mother. She envisions starting a small business there, employing people to make water bags for homes in a community where the water supply isn’t reliable.

“Family is everything,” Joana is often heard to say, and she brings that outlook to her role at the DDRC apartment residences. She also brings that outlook to her interactions and warm encouragement to the newer DDRC IRSS staff who she describes in glowing terms. No doubt she serves as a positive example: “This job is not just because you need money. This is a job where you enjoy helping people. You need to have heart,” she says. We are so fortunate that we have people like Joana Appiah whose amazing heart helps us achieve our mission!    

Disability Employment Awareness Month and Preston Story Published: October 1, 2021


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.

Preston at work at Advance Auto Parts 

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 with disabilities 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.

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 interest and willingness 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 crew 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. 

Preston has thrived in this chapter of his employment journey. The authentic fulfillment and job match he found is the vision that DDRC’s Employment Services team holds for all people with disabilities who choose to pursue employment goals.

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.


Masonic Brothers Make an Impact for the BetterPublished: September 1, 2021



Masons from Marquis de Lafayette Lodge #41 and Denver Lodge #5

The Masons’ tagline and guidepost is the value of “making good men better,” and striving to help make better communities too. On a late summer weekend, they came together to do just that while cultivating camaraderie among their members.

They worked shoulder to shoulder to cut, trim, pull, dig out and stack all kinds of overgrown plants and weeds of the DDRC Belmar apartments in Lakewood, currently serving 8 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

They painted a long stretch of privacy fence, trimmed trees, and cut bushes to create wider, easier walkways for residents. They spread new mulch to create a fresh look and pulled many dying bushes from the streetside to give the property a prouder, neat look. It was two days of work, creating heaping piles of debris and filling a big dumpster, and when they were done, they made the yard better - a lot better. In fact, they transformed the property!

Apartment residents and the Masons got together briefly in the yard to meet each other while sharing refreshments. ”Wow!” exclaimed Eric, one of the residents, “This looks so different and bigger! Now we can walk all the way around the pavilion. Thank you.” The other residents nodded in agreement, saying it looked so nice, and expressing thanks. Voni McDonald, DDRC Lead Counselor at Belmar said, “We are so grateful we can get back out here and enjoy the space more, especially with COVID, when other options have been limited. Thank you, Masons!” The get-together gave the Mason’s a firsthand idea of the people benefiting from their efforts and the impact they were making.

This would not have been possible were it not for the values of the Masons, and especially due to Grant Sanders, Mason, who helped to spearhead the initiative. Grant invited participants from his lodge, the Marquis de Lafayette Lodge #41, who came as a large contingent, as well as Masons from Denver Lodge #5. They all worked hard, were so congenial, and seemed truly gratified to see the impact of their efforts.

The Masons and the Marquis de Lafayette have been especially supportive and helpful to DDRC over the years. They have donated significant funds, provided holiday gift cards for people DDRC serves who have few other resources, and they have done other construction projects for DDRC too. With all that they can truly say they are fulfilling their mission while also making a difference for people with developmental disabilities!












Shoutout to Our Golf SponsorsPublished: August 15, 2021


Showdown at the Hiwan golf tournament begins Monday! 
We’re excited to get out on the course at the Hiwan Golf Club in Evergreen with our friends and supporters to benefit DDRC and the work we do.  A special thank you to our MANY event sponsors, shown below. We couldn’t do it without them!  We hope you’ll think of these businesses and organizations for your needs and activities. Please let them know you appreciate their support for people with developmental disabilities and their families.   




Masks and COVID Tests Required in Group Homes as of August 2021 Published: August 5, 2021


 

NOTICE OF REINSTATED MASK REQUIREMENT
AT RESIDENTIAL/ GROUP HOMES

 And COVID-Testing Requirement

This notice involves  DDRC Residential Group homes

To:Residential care facilities (Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Facilities, Group Homes, and Intermediate Care Facilities)






From
: CDPHE Residential Care Strike Team and Infection Prevention and Control Unit

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) released updated guidance modifying masking requirements. The changes come after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended increased mask use indoors for vaccinated individuals on July 27. 

 Changes include:

 ·    Added updates requiring universal mask use for staff, visitors, and residents regardless of vaccination status. The guidance allows for exceptions for vaccinated residents at particular times during activities and communal dining.

 ·    Added the requirement to test fully vaccinated individuals who have had close contact with a COVID-positive person

 
In addition to the mask requirement changes, CDPHE continues to implement rapid testing for all unvaccinated staff and residentsthat leave the facility for longer than 24 hours.

 

 

A Great Job Fits Brings Out the Best, As it Did For StevePublished: July 25, 2021




It’s often said that people with disabilities are among the most loyal and reliable employees, and like everyone, when they find the right job fit, that's usually the case. Steve McHattiefound that right fit at Coors Tek where he worked for 45 years until recently retiring. Steve received a handsome plaque signed by management which said, “you will be greatly missed,” and thanking him for his “dedication, creativity and leadership-by-example throughout the years.”

Over time, Steve worked in several departments, and he reports that he never missed a day of work. He prepared product for the kilns, drove a forklift, packed various product, and was called upon to show new team members how to do parts of the job. “I think I was a good teacher and some of the guys told me that too,” he shared.

At his retirement send-off, Steve’s colleagues wrote him warm wishes and signed a framed Coors Tek beadwork piece that was Steve’s own creation. The beadwork was one of a hundred pieces that he has created, framed, and sold, many with a sports theme.  

Steve enjoys learning. He participates in DDRC’s Discovery Technology Lab, exploring various apps, and challenging himself with vocabulary and word programs, with support from Erlen Marsh, Discovery technology Lab Instructor/Supervisor (pictured here with Steve). 

Steve finds satisfaction living independently with his wife and son, while receiving support from DDRC’s A Better Choice supported living services. 

When asked what he thought about retirement, Steve didn’t seem ready to slow down too much, saying he will continue his tech learning, beadwork, woodworking, and few other things too! 












DDRC Self Determination InitiativePublished: June 15, 2021


 

DDRC Self Determination Initiative (SDI)
 Self  Determination is a concept central to  everything DDRC does to support individuals and their families as they choose how to lead their lives.  So, it’s harmonious that DDRC also has the Self Determination Initiative (SDI), an initiative that provides support to help make aspirations a reality for people we serve.

DDRC’s new SDI Coordinator, Julia Panucza, who has worked in the IDD field and with DDRC’s Adult Vocational Services says, “I bring my dedication, experience and leadership to advocate for people with disabilities and help them achieve their goals." 

SDI is funded through the Jefferson County Mill Levy and funds are available to Jefferson County residents with developmental disabilities. Individuals work with DDRC’s SDI Coordinator to brainstorm ways to fulfill their goals and apply for and implement their award funding. 

A variety of services, materials and supports arising from person-centered needs and goals may be considered for funding, such as:

·       coaching and technical support in using technology,
·       acquiring devices so people can stay connected, access email and have a tool for budgeting.
·       bicycles and other equipment,
·       classes /support to lead to entrepreneurship, employment, greater independence and personal growth.
·       access to Employment Gateway, a web portal created as the brainchild of DDRC’s SDI, in coordination with others, to help job seekers. Each person creates a video resume and profile of their interests, skills and experience. It’s a powerful way for the individual to show who they are and what they can bring to a job.

Julia is excited to have more individuals apply and participate, and says, "I have a passion for what I do ­- to make goals and dreams a reality.” If you or someone you know would like to explore SDI funding, email Julia.Panucza@ddrcco.com or call 303.462.6528.

Marti Gets Meaning from DDRC Therapeutic Learning ConnectionsPublished: June 14, 2021



Marti has always enjoyed sports. She was active in DDRC’s Therapeutic Learning Connections/ Recreation (TLC/Rec) program playing Bocce ball and this spring she’s been part of a group of 13 individuals on DDRC’s team training for Special Olympics Track and Field competitions, involving distance racing, softball throw and long jump.

During a Saturday morning practice, Marti explained that she had won 1st place in her race walking event at the regional competition, saying, “It was hard not to cry when I won because I wasn’t sure I could do it, but I did! I was proud and happy!” 

Rick Lovato and Kristina Cripe, DDRC Recreation Specialists, said that the DDRC TLC/Rec program brings a variety of people together. Some individuals live in group residential settings and others live independently, and the program meets the needs and abilities of all participants.  “They are building friendships and it’s a supportive environment,” Rick says.

Bret, an individual on the team who lives in his own apartment and drives to practice, has taken on a mentor role with his teammates as one of two Fitness Captains. Sporting a tie-dye shirt, he leads the team in warm-up and cool-down exercises. He comes prepared with his notes and leads the group as they count out movements. “Very good” he says to encourage the group, a few of whom have let out some “ahhhhs” as the tight muscles loosen.  Then the group assembles at the starting line. Rick and Kristina talk through tips about good race form and Kristina and Marti discuss pumping the arms and going heel to toe for race walking. The athletes line up and then go off in waves for each race category, as shouts of “go-go” are heard.

For the race walking, Marti has her eyes fixed on the finish line and is pumping hard. By the fourth time she is winded at the finish line, but she beams as she says. “I love my DDRC Special Olympics people.” And while usually it’s the coaches who give out the kudos, Marti adds, “Rick and Kristina are doing a good job and I’m proud of them,” showing that the supportive culture has rubbed off on everyone!


The team also participated in the state meet in June and everyone came away glad to have been a part of it. 

Teammate Bret is shown in the tie-dye shirt.
Recreation Specialists Kristina and Rick are shown above with Marti.

If you or someone you know would like to participate in DDRC’s TLC/Rec programs, which include sports and other activities responsive to participants’ interests, please contact Kristina.Cripe@ddrcco.comor call 720.544.8115.  

You can also talk with your Resource Coordinator to explore many other programs too. 


COVID Guidelines in Group Residential Homes - UpdatePublished: May 3, 2021


 

Update on COVID Guidelines in Group Residential Homes 
DDRC continues to be vigilant in following COVID-19 health and safety protocols. We recently received guidance from the state relating to residential group homes, and we thank you for your cooperation with these protocols. The guidance specifies that:
  • Indoor and outdoor visits are allowed.
  • Visitors must be 18 years or older.
  • Number of visitors per resident, duration of visits and simultaneous visitors at each site should be limited. DDRC will implement this by allowing 1 visitor at a time, with a 45-minute visit.
  • Visitors must wear a mask covering their mouth and nose for the duration of their visit, whether inside or out, must sanitize their hands upon entry, pass a symptom screening and provide contact information for contact tracing. Masks with exhalation valves are prohibited.
  • If both resident and visitor are fully vaccinated, they may have physical contact, otherwise distancing of 6 ft. is required.
  • Group home staff, regardless of vaccinations, must wear a medical "ear loop" mask (not cloth) covering mouth and nose.

We are assessing additional changes to guidelines regarding return to work, quarantine for fully vaccinated staff and service recipients, and a phase-in plan for expansion of day services, and will communicate those in the ensuing weeks.

Giving to DDRC - ReFUNDPublished: April 12, 2021


 

Throughout this pandemic, DDRC has steadfastly continued our mission, adapting and persevering to serve 4,500+ individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. Please help us continue a strong front in 2021!

Consider donating a portion of your Colorado Tax Refund to DDRC. Just enter our registration # 2002 300 3423 in the “Donate to a Colorado Nonprofit” field of your filing form or look up Developmental Disabilities Resource Center.

Read here  tsee our resilience in 2020 and the work you are fostering with your donation.

See our full report here: https://ddrcco.com/downloads/reports/DDRC_2020_Annual_Report.pdf

Learn more about Refund What Matters Colorado at https://refundwhatmatters.org/

Seeing the Remarkable Roles of DSPs Published: April 6, 2021


Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) act as advocates, coaches, friends and more
in their support for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

DSPs were honored at the March IDD Awareness Day Lunch as part of Alliance Colorado’s annual DSP of the Year Award. DDRC is proud of our award nominees who were recognized that day; Elizabeth (Liz) Polivka, Counselor, and Andrea Samuelson, Employment Specialist.

Liz works in our A Better Choice supporting individuals receiving Supported Living Services and previously worked with our Quality Living Options, DDRC’s residential services. Her special care is shown in her support of a woman with a terminal illness, helping the woman transition from her condominium, to hospice, to a nursing home, and even changing nursing homes during the pandemic! Liz advocated for the woman’s comfort, provided her reassurance, helped see that the moves went smoothly, kept cherished items at hand, and helped other people see the woman’s wonderful individuality.


Andrea promotes person-centered services and Employment First practices and encourages people to stretch beyond what they think is possible. Her approach with one career seeker demonstrates the spirit of all her work. Andrea received input that this person wanted to be a dishwasher but after some time wondered if this really was what he wanted. Andrea used a creative and interactive approach to dig deeper into identifying his genuine interests. Together, they realized his passion is for reading and books, and she is now helping him explore positions closer to his passions, exemplifying her commitment to foster the most person-centered experience possible.  

We are grateful for and proud of these two DSPs and we thank all our DDRC DSPs for their awesome work.

New COVID-19 Resource PagePublished: March 22, 2021


DDRC has a new consolidated COVID-19 Resources page. The page has important and updated links to web resources and documents related to COVID-19. 

COVID-19 Vaccine Colorado LocationsPublished: January 19, 2021


Visit the find where you can get vaccinated web page at https://covid19.colorado.gov/for-coloradans/vaccine/where-can-i-get-vaccinated for locations and other information. 

Note: This web page will be updated as information becomes available.

Vaccine Clinics Update - Consents and AccessPublished: December 21, 2020


 

Vaccine Clinics Update on Consents and  Access 

Timely action needed.

Attention, Group Home residents, parents/guardians/legal representatives and other stakeholders, as well as DDRC employees working in Group homes, please read this important information about vaccines and required consent forms.

DDRC has received additional information regarding the vaccine clinics and have much work to do to coordinate our efforts Walgreens, our pharmacy partner.  

Timely Action is needed to complete consent forms so that DDRC can let the pharmacy know how many does to bring.  Consent / consent forms should be completed as soon as possible and DDRC Employees should let their supervisor know if they plan to receive the vaccine or not by Wednesday, December 23, 2020.

DDRC will work with guardians and legal representatives of group home residents to either consent to or decline the vaccine.  

Information about the vaccine and consent forms are linked here:

 Who is eligible for vaccines? 

All group home residents and any employee working in group homes or needing routine access to group homes will be offered the vaccine. In addition to QLO/GRSS employees at each home, this includes AVS staff providing day services at group homes or providing coverage for open group home shifts, Recreation staff providing supports in group homes, QLO/GRSS Program Mangers, QLO LPNs, and Maintenance staff. 

If you are an eligible staff member and you have specific questions regarding where and when you will receive your vaccine, contact your direct supervisor, or the Program Manager for the location you are assigned. 

 What do Residents, Guardians, and staff need to do? 

Every vaccine recipient must provide a consent form for each of the two doses you will receive: two doses, two consent forms. This form is called the “Vaccination Administration Record.”

When and where will clinics be held? 

We do not have an exact date yet but anticipate clinics will be held in 2-3 weeks (late December- mid-January).  

The clinics will be held at each group home

Staff: Each staff member will be assigned to a location based on their primary work assignment or surveillance testing assignment. Thus, if an employee is participating in the surveillance testing and does not have a primary group home assignment, then they will receive your vaccine at the same house they do their testing.  

If you are not a group home employee, but are an employee when might you get the  vaccine? 

Other health care workers are included in Phase 1B of Colorado’s vaccine distribution, but we do not know when or how those vaccines will take place. We will provide updated information as we receive it.  

For general questions about vaccines for DDRC staff or group home residents, contact Kristie Braaten/ DDRC  (303) 462-6506 

 

 

Vaccine Phasing 1A begins at DDRC the week of Dec 12 2020Published: December 14, 2020


COVID-19 Vaccine Information and  Vaccination Phasing at DDRC 

Current Phase Beginning Week of Dec . 14, 2020 at Group Homes

 We have all heard in the news information about the upcoming COVID-19 vaccines. More information is being released everyday about the availability of the vaccine in Colorado, and although we don’t yet have all of the answers, we want to provide you as much information as we can. 

Each state must prioritize how they distribute the vaccine, and Colorado has developed a three phase distribution schedule. Colorado is currently preparing to vaccinate eligible Coloradans for Phase 1A and will move into Phases 1B after that. Employees and residents at licensed Group Homes (GRSS homes) are in Phase 1A, and employees providing other residential or home health direct services are included in Phase 1B. Other health care workers not included in Phase 1 are identified in Phase 2, which is scheduled to begin in the Spring of 2021.  

The first shipment of the vaccine (Pfizer) is scheduled for the week of December 14, 2020. The vaccine requires 2 doses, spaced apart, and if you elect to receive the vaccine, you must receive the same vaccine each time.  

DDRC has signed up to be a part of special distribution for employees and residents of Group Homes. The vaccine provider will come to each location to provide the vaccine and will return to each location to provide the second dose. We are currently working with Walgreens, our pharmacy partner for the vaccine, to determine when this will begin.  

The decision to receive the vaccine is a personal one, and DDRC believes that each person must make this decision based on the best available information. This link provides additional information about the vaccine and may be helpful to you in making your decision https://covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine-faq .  

The vaccination will be free for everyone.


New Public Health Order and Requirements Affect DDRC OperationsPublished: November 20, 2020


DDRC continues to put the health of the people we serve as well as our staff at the forefront of our concerns and values, and we continue to practice prudent health precautions in our operations.

On November 17, due to increasing COVID infection rates and community spread, Colorado Governor Polis issued a new public health order that affects DDRC operations. The order specifies more restrictive occupancy rates of offices and other buildings based upon the size of the facilities. We have communicated these requirements to our staff to help ensure we are following these orders. In addition, there is a new guidance that requires that DDRC staff and others who interface with individuals who we serve in our group residential settings must be tested and monitored for COVID on a twice weekly basis. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment  is providing DDRC the appropriate test kits and assessments to help ensure effective monitoring.

We thank the individuals and families that we serve for their understanding in these matters and we are grateful to our DDRC staff for their continued attention and cooperation in following these public health orders.

The Governor's Public Health Order 20-36 regarding occupancy and COVID Dial Levels is found here: 

https://covid19.colorado.gov/public-health-executive-orders

Posted:  November 20, 2020


Deadline for SSA or SSDI Beneficiaries to Register for Stimulus Checks Published: September 24, 2020


Stimulus Checks/ Economic Impact Payment

 Are you a family with children under the age of 17 and receiving SSI/SSA? 

September 30 is the IRS’ extended deadline for Social Security and SSI recipients to enter their child’s information in the IRS’ Non-Filer Tool to receive the $500 Economic Impact Payment (EIP) this year.

The extended deadline applies to people who:

• Receive Social Security retirement, survivors, or disability benefits, or SSI payments;

• Did not file a 2019 or 2018 tax return;

• Have a qualifying child under age 17; and

• Who did not already enter information in the IRS’ Non-Filer Tool for themselves and at least one child.


If you already entered information in the IRS’ Non-Filer Tool before and even after the IRS’ previously announced deadlines (April 22 for Social Security beneficiaries; May 5 for SSI recipients), you do not need to do anything for those children.  However, you may need to file a tax return next year, please visit the IRS website to learn more. The IRS will automatically make a payment in October based on the information you provided.

For More Information     and    Visit IRS Website

Coronavirus Update-Face Coverings Required in JeffcoPublished: July 15, 2020



Jefferson County Health Department issued an emergency order 7/14/20 requiring cloth face coverings where 6 ft of social distancing is not possible in outdoor public spaces AND indoor spaces, other than personal residences. Masks are so important to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus!
Business must post this requirement for customers. We can help businesses by cooperating, and by wearing masks, we help each other too. Let’s forestall a backslide to shuttered businesses, overwhelmed health care, rising medical bills, sickness and worse. 
DDRC has been abiding by a mask-wearing culture since early spring because we care about protecting the people we serve, our coworkers, and our communities. And now that we are slowly reopening services in new ways, we commit to extra vigilance.
But, you ask, "How should I wear the mask and wash it safely,” or “Are there exceptions to the health order?” 
Get the details on the order and the answers to these and other questions from @jeffcopublichealth by visiting  https://www.jeffco.us/4056/Mask-Guidance

Funds Available Act Now Before June 30Published: June 7, 2020





DDRC HAS FUNDS TO GET OUT BY 6/30/2020!
Do you have a child or adult family member living at home with developmental disabilities or delays? Have you incurred costs over the last year beyond those normally experienced by other families?
Do you live in our service area?
DDRC may be able to help!
We can reimburse you for covered disability services provided on or after 7/1/19, or advance funds for the purchase of covered services or items prior to 6/30/20. 
Services which may be reimbursed include:
  • Medical and Dental Expenses for eligible family member
  • Respite Care and Sitter Services
  • Adaptive Equipment, therapy tools, developmental toys, sensory items
  • Home or Vehicle Adaptations to increase accessibility or safety
  • OT, PT, Speech, mental health, ABA, and other behavioral and movement therapies
  • Family Counseling and Support Groups
  • Therapeutic recreation, family pass to a community recreation center (limit $650)
  • Bus passes, mileage reimbursement to medical or therapy services
  • Homemaker Services
Please also note that during these unprecedented times due to COVID, we may also be able to help with the following if the expense occurred between 3/1/2020 - 6/30/2020:
·       Utilities (electric, gas, water, sewer, internet)
·       Technology (i.e. purchase of an iPad or laptop to enable connection to services and community)
·       Emergency food, or cleaning supplies
·       Childcare for essential workers
To request funds please visit:
https://ddrcco.com/accessing-services/family-support-servicesOr call your DDRC Resource/Service Coordinator
If you are unsure of how to reach your Resource/Service Coordinator please call 303.462.6576 Monday through Thursday.
Receipts are required and funding is not guaranteed.

ACT SOON- Before time runs out on June 30!

Coronavirus Update - Changes Beginning in MayPublished: May 21, 2020



We hope this message finds you well during this ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency. DDRC continues to work to make prudent decisions in the face of uncertainty, and rapidly evolving information and directives from local, state and federal authorities. Due to the population we serve, there are many directives and recommendations provided to us and other decision points that we are working through to ensure the health and safety of the people we serve, their families, our workforce and the community.

DDRC operations will continue as is until further notice, but some changes are now beginning in May, as noted below:

Adult Vocational Services will gradually begin to reopen in a limited capacity:
Initial services will all be virtual and will include  community activities, educational/skill building activities and communication/connections access. Based on feedback from individuals and their families we will begin to provide some limited walk/activities outside of the family home or in-home support. These services will start for individuals in our non-residential settings as  residential settings still have mandated restrictions. More guidance from the State will be forthcoming on day program settings. 

Residential Services/ Quality Living Options:
DDRC’s residential services, Quality Living Options (QLO), are ongoing. QLO  staff continue to provide great care and support to residents and  implement and follow the mandates, screenings, and precautions required by state agencies to help keep COVID-19 at bay. We appreciate the work and relationship with all of our family caregivers.  The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is conducting Infection Control surveys of all licensed  group homes, and for the inspections of DDRC operated group homes there were no infection control deficiencies issued.  

Early Intervention, Service/Resource Coordination, Behavioral Health, Supported Employment, Supported Living Services, A Better Choice, Children’s Extensive Services and Therapeutic Recreation:
These services will continue to be delivered via telehealth / teleconferencing as the primary way of providing services , as currently required by the state and federal agencies with whom we interface. Discussions are taking place on the transition back to in-person services and the future role of telehealth.

DDRC Building/Central Office:
We are working, with many DDRC staff working remotely, as feasible. Since Colorado businesses now have flexibility to staff at 50% capacity we are moving carefully in this direction over time, with prudent safety measures. Non-essential visitors will continue to be redirected to do business by phone. Essential visitors are required to complete a symptom screening, temperature check, and wear a face covering of their nose and mouth while in the building. Anyone planning to visit DDRC is asked to call ahead to determine if their needs can be met through conferring by phone with the appropriate DDRC staff.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you and your family. And thank you for your support as a volunteer, donor or member of our  community. We appreciate your understanding during this challenging time.

COVID-19 Resources from Federal, State and Local Authorities:
Colorado help lines: 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911 or email COHELP@RMPDC.org


Coronavirus Update- New Expectations-Limits on QLO VisitsPublished: April 10, 2020



Regarding HCPF expectations, limits and requirements of QLO visits
To family, guardians and visitors of our Quality Living Options residents: 
DDRC has implemented many safeguards to minimize the risk of exposure to and transmission of the virus, including staff screening, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting, the use of personal protective equipment such as facemasks and limiting visitors.

The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) is requiring that all CCBs, including DDRC, now follow a more strict application and enforcement of Public Health Order 20-24, which states, in part, that “…all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a residence are prohibited.”

Per HCPF:  “These new restrictions and orders mean that families, guardians and/or other natural supports will no longer be able to take members on community outings or visits outside of the residence unless the families, guardians and/or other natural supports choose to keep the person in their home for fourteen (14) day symptom free quarantine period prior to returning to the residence.” 
Thank you for your cooperation as we comply with the guidelines issued by our oversight agencies in the interest of health and safety. 

We hope you are doing well and staying healthy!