Our Mission: Create Opportunities for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and their Families to Participate Fully in the Community
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Marti Gets Meaning from DDRC Therapeutic Learning ConnectionsJune 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.