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February 2024 News

Employment Exploration and Day Program Adventures

A group of participants in our Adult Vocational Services (AVS) day program got to see the wonderful “Dancing with Horses” show in mid-January that was part of the National Western Stock Show. It was a magical performance and a wonderful learning opportunity. The group was given permission for a behind the scenes tour prior to the show to see what it takes to prepare for such a performance and to care for the horses. They learned about how people get into this entertainment industry and the varying career paths that a person can pursue, including working with the animals.

This special experience grew out of participants' interest and the collaborative innovation of staff in our Weiland Day Program (Madison) and our Employment Services (Lee). The Greers Family trust donation to DDRC helped to underwrite the activity.

During one part of the tour participants watched as show staff carefully arranged the many feathers making up the beautiful “Pegasus-like” costume of one of the riders. It was exciting to see the finished ensemble as the rider came out into ring in her spectacular wings! “I’d like a dress like that” one of the participants exclaimed. 

The tour also included an owner’s explanation of how much the large Clydesdale horses eat and how much they weigh. Participants saw the miniature horses and the types of food they ate. They talked with show staff as they were cleaning the stalls - one of the less glamorous but also necessary aspects of animal care.

After learning the different parts of the saddle and the equipment that is used to ride a horse, one of the participants enjoyed a laugh by observing “well, the horn on a saddle doesn’t beep."

Participants even had the chance to meet some of the horses up-close, letting the horses first smell their hands, and softly touching the horse’s face. They were fascinated to learn that some of the horses could sleep while standing up.  

It was an exciting evening to be part of the stock show crowd.

After seeing the show and what the horses could do - the dancing, the tricks and hearing about the work that the trainers did — one participant enthused, “I’d like to train horses,” and everyone agreed that the experience was "Awesome!”

A Fantastic Team

When people work together in a positive way, even during what could be trying times, it has a way of making everyone around them feel safe, secure and confident. That is true for our DDRC residents who receive residential support through our Quality Living Options (QLO) program. 

Late last year QLO residents in Summit County who chose DDRC for their residential services moved to another DDRC residence in Jefferson County. Moving can be trying for anyone, but DDRC staff worked hard to support each person as they moved to a new location. That involved working with residents to arrange their furniture and belongings, helping them to get to know a new neighborhood, find new day programs to their liking, new doctors, and maybe a new housemate. Staff helped them recreate loved activities in the new community and explore new ones.

“It's my man cave!” Keith says with a happy smile about his new home he shares with housemate Lonnie. Keith’s unit is downstairs, Lonnie’s is upstairs, and the DDRC staff support team is next door. Keith is a history buff. On his wall he displays a picture of Mount Vernon, one of an old, ox drawn wagon, and a copy of the Declaration of Independence. The library is not far, and Keith enjoys frequent visits to browse and socialize. Just down the street is an Einstein’s Bagels, where Keith likes to take a stroll to stop in, say hello and get coffee. Bowling is his favorite hobby, and he now bowls with a new team, and he competes in Special Olympics. “I’m pretty good,” he says, and Ross, the DDRC staff, chimes-in to confirm that. They have an easy and friendly rapport.

Upstairs Lonnie is finishing lunch that Ross has organized before Lonnie is off to his job at Lowe’s. Lonnie worked in Summit County and he wanted to keep working after moving so he and DDRC staff visited places to see where he wanted to apply. He chose the new Lowe’s. DDRC staff helped him as he made his application, interviewed, and settled in to work four days a week. It's not all work for Lonnie. He plays basketball at the Wheat Ridge Rec Center with his new day program and has continued his Special Olympics participation. A plaque inducting him to the Special Olympics Hall of Fame hangs above his couch. “He’s a rock-star in high jump,” Ross says and Lonnie grins.

Ross, LaVonne, Stephanie and Gayle are the DDRC QLO residential staff who worked together in Summit County and now in Jeffco too. Their commitment to ensure continuity in staff care is remarkable given that the Jeffco location has significantly increased each of their commute times—up to two hours round trip. “This is a fantastic team to work with,” LaVonne says. That shows in the success they have had in making everyone feel at home. It's all about working together in a positive way!

Explore Peer-Led Mentorship 

Attention job holders with IDD who want to help others, and people with IDD who are interested in exploring or entering the workforce - DDRC is helping to gather interest in a “Peer-Led Mentorship” program where you can connect.

If you already work and want to share your employment journey with others then consider becoming a mentor, or maybe you want to be paired with a mentor to speak with someone who has been where you are now. If so, then reach out to: 

or call 720-544-8122.


This opportunity can be especially meaningful and helpful for students who are graduating or have recently graduated from high school and are searching for their next steps and could benefit from connecting with a mentor who has navigated though that period in their life. Become a mentor or mentee!


Download the Peer-Led Mentor Flyer

New Case Management Agency Director Named

To come into compliance with Case Management Redesign, a new Case Management Agency (CMA) has been established within Jefferson County Human Services (JCHS), whereby case management, quality assurance and family support services provided by DDRC, will transition by July 1 to the new CMA.   

JCHS has announced the hiring of Tim Young to be the new CMA Director. He is a member of the JCHS executive leadership team, has been a leader within the Jefferson County Children, Youth, Family, and Adult Protection division, and also is the manager of Jefferson County’s Adult Protection teams. He will begin his new role in mid-February. DDRC looks forward to working with Tim and JCHS to help ensure a smooth transition for individuals, families and staff during this change. 

Read more on the JCHS website

Get background information and updates from Health Care Policy and Financing 

See notices from DDRC on posted our website homepage under Case Management Redesign 

Give Input on Training for Employers – Feb. 8

The Colorado Office of Employment First is hosting an online open discussion to invite all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families to provide input on training COEF is developing for employers to increase participation of people with IDD in the workforce. 

This training, “Inclusive Employer Curriculum,” is being funded by the Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council and aims to increase the knowledge of Colorado employers within many industries to support hiring an inclusive workforce that includes people with disabilities. 

The discussion will be held via Zoom on Feb. 8, from 12:30-1:30 p.m., and registration in advance is requested.   


IDD Awareness at the Colorado Capitol and More  

Save the dates, participate and celebrate IDD Awareness Month, virtually and at the Colorado Capitol. Alliance Colorado, The Arc of Colorado, and JFK Partners are hosting several opportunities to learn about and to celebrate IDD awareness in March:

March 4 @ 11:00am -12:00pm webinar: Finalists Announced for Direct Support Professional, Case Manager, and Advocate of Year

March 11 @ 8:30 - 9:30am webinar: IDD Policy Overview & Advocacy Training

March 20 @ 9:00am Pledge of Allegiance & IDD Day Tributes at the Capitol

March 20 @ 12:00pm IDD Awareness Day virtual Luncheon

Event details and livestream links will be posted by Alliance CO later in February at

DDRC Outreach and Information Sharing

Special Education Resource Fair: It was a busy night at the Jefferson County Public Schools Special Education Resource Fair on January 30. Several hundred parents and students came to learn about resources and programs from many community organizations.

Staff from DDRC shared the opportunities available through our behavioral health, therapeutic learning/recreation, employment services, and day programs, and also provided general information on Medicaid Waivers, intake, and eligibility. Jeffco Schools special education staff were also present to help answer families’ questions. No doubt it was a helpful night for many families, and DDRC appreciated the chance to participate. Thank you, Jefferson County Schools!

Disability Focused Hiring Event: The Jefferson County Business & Workforce Center (Center) Disability Focused Hiring Event on January 31.

The event drew a steady attendance as people with disabilities visited with businesses, nonprofits and government offices who had positions open for hire. The Center also held a workshop about how and when to disclose your disability to a hiring organization.

DDRC Human Resources was there to share all the reasons why joining the DDRC team is the way to go! Our Employment Services staff attended too to speak with people about the support and guidance they can provide to career seekers with IDD.

Thank you, Jefferson County Business and Workforce Center, for organizing this event.

PossAbilities Expo: The City of Lakewood is holding a PossAbilities Expo at their Whitlock Recreation Center on February 3 and DDRC’s Therapeutic Learning/Recreation staff will be attending to provide information on DDRC's services. The event includes speakers, demonstrations, and other community group's information tables.

See more information on the City of Lakewood website.

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