The Arc in Adams County as well as all Arc Chapters in Colorado have always been and will continue to be civil and human rights organizations. We are pained and heartbroken by the acts of violence and racial injustice impacting our black and brown neighbors, friends and community. What happened to George Floyd, Ahmed Aubrey, and Breonna Taylor as well as the many others, is abhorrent and unacceptable. The Arc stands in solidarity with communities of color and victims of police brutality, those with disabilities and those without. We recognize the importance of listening to and hearing individuals who have experienced horrific injustices, and we commit ourselves to furthering our work as a civil and human rights organization. All people, without exception, should be able to access their community without fear. All people, without exception, should be able to engage in everyday activities without being policed. The disability rights movement is grounded on freedom and independence – just as racial equality, these principles are civil and human rights. We stand for the rights of all people to live, work, learn, love, and play without fear.
El Arc del Condado Adams, así como las otras sucursales del Arc en Colorado, siempre han sido y seguirán siendo organizaciones que defienden los derechos humanos y civiles de las personas. Estamos profundamente dolidos y desconsolados por los actos de violencia e injusticia racial que afectan a nuestros vecinos y amigos de la comunidad de personas de color. Lo que le sucedió a George Floyd, Ahmed Aubrey y Breonna Taylor, así como a muchos otros, es aborrecible e inaceptable. El Arc se solidariza con nuestras comunidades de color y con las víctimas de brutalidad policial, personas con discapacidades o no. Reconocemos la importancia de escuchar a las personas que han sufrido injusticias horribles, y nos comprometemos a continuar y expandir nuestro trabajo como organización civil y de derechos humanos. Todas las personas, sin excepción, deberían tener libre acceso a su comunidad sin sentir ningún temor. Todas las personas, sin excepción, deberían participar en sus actividades cotidianas sin sentirse que están siendo constantemente vigiladas. El movimiento por los derechos de las personas con discapacidades tiene como bases principales la libertad y la independencia; al igual que la igualdad racial, estos principios son derechos humanos y civiles. Defendemos los derechos de todas las personas a vivir, trabajar, aprender, amar y jugar sin miedo.
Steve has been a member of the Arc of Adams County board since 2010. He is proud to be a board member because he likes to help people. Steve comments that talking about what the Arc does, helps him a lot too. Steve is a person living with a disability; he reflected that serving as a board member has helped him come a long way in being empowered to ask questions and speaking up about his thoughts and opinions on different subjects. He likes working with the other members of the board. Steve stated that the board members read information aloud for him and they help explain things he doesn’t understand in a way that he can understand it. “I really enjoy it!” he said.
Katie has been so honored to be part of this amazing organization for over 16 years. The Arc of Adams County leadership, advocacy, and support staff are among some of the most gifted, passionate, and committed individuals she has ever met. Her own family has benefitted in so many ways from the Arc’s positive influences over the years, and even though there is still so much to do, positive, systemic change is happening here in Colorado, because of The Arc’s hard work and advocacy. As a board member, I am so proud of the work we do to empower families and individuals to be their own advocates. I am grateful to be a small part of it.
Dana has been a resident of Adams County for over 25 years and has a 22-year-old daughter with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). She became motivated in fighting for the rights of individuals with disabilities when her daughter was born and will continue to make sure that she and others with I/DD have the same opportunities as anyone else. The Arc of Adams County has helped through the years navigate the education system and they have been a great resource over the years. As a board member of the Arc of Adams County, it has helped Dana continue her role of advocacy but on a much bigger scale. It is so important to give back to organizations that have made a difference in our life and being on this board does that each and every day.
Lynnelle joined the board of the Arc of Adams County several years ago when she was working with individuals with I/DD. Lynnelle learned firsthand what an asset the Arc was for those individuals and their families who live in Adams County. The Arc of Adams provides advocacy and support to people with I/DD that help enrich their lives and assists them with learning to advocate for themselves. She is proud to be on the board of an agency where the staff is so professional and knowledgeable.
Joshua joined the Arc of Adams County in 2020. Joshua has been a part of the I/DD community for much of his personal life and professional career. He is a brother and friend to people with disabilities, he has worked as a support partner and as a direct care staff member in residential and day habilitation settings. He has served as a program manager and a case worker. Joshua attributes much of the richness of his life to the relationships he has with people in the I/DD community. Joshua’s core values include education, understanding, honesty, compassion, and family. These values are in line with his personal approach to advocacy. Joshua believes in the importance of people understanding their rights and their responsibilities in exercising them, that people deserve respect and fair treatment, and that all people have the capacity to learn, grow, and achieve. Joshua strives to be an agent of peace and reconciliation, to meet people where they are at in life’s journey, and to act and speak in ways that foster healing instead of harm.
Linda’s career journey started in the business world after receiving a degree in accounting. It then took an unexpected turn to working at an independent living center. At one point an opportunity arose to be on the Board of Directors of a local Arc unit, which later led to joining the staff. That path led to other opportunities: providing advocacy at the state level, directing a couple of service agencies and working at a Community Centered Board. And then, back to independent advocacy — the heart of an advocate doesn’t stray far! Linda has been at The Arc of Adams County since 2015. It has been a well-rounded and fulfilling career filled with the joy of watching people grow, learn and become more than they thought they could be, and in ways they never dreamed.
Kari started at the Arc of Adams County in 2000, with a short break in 2005. She has spent most of the last 30 years working in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities. She has worked as a 1:1 direct care staff, group home staff, job coach, residential coordinator, case manager, HRC representative and co-chair. She has the title of Adult Advocate and provides individual advocacy, works closely with stakeholder groups regarding systemic advocacy, develops and provides training to community members regarding disability awareness, and screens all adult advocacy requests. There are many things Kari loves about working at the Arc of Adams County, but mostly it is seeing people use their self-advocacy skills to get what they need, want and love; it is very empowering.
Millie has been advocating in schools since 2013. This experience has provided her the opportunity to join The Arc family in 2016. She knows first-hand how overwhelming the Special Education process can be for parents. It can be difficult navigating this process alone and not know what steps to take next. Many parents are unaware of their rights and their children’s rights to FAPE. She is, by nature, a person who asks many questions. As a result, she has found herself feeling frustrated when questions and concerns are not addressed. Conversely, these questions have resulted in many successes in the advocacy experience. Language barriers can increase the difficulty of accessing these services, therefore, she feels grateful to serve the Spanish speaking community in Adams County and encourages parents to continue to be the best advocate for their child.
Paula started her advocacy efforts with The Arc of Adams County in 1998. She has a bachelor’s degree in Special Education and Psychology and a master’s degree in City Planning both from the University of Texas. Her professional life has been a combination of social work, education and health care. Paula is grateful for the vast learning opportunities she has experienced working with families and other professionals. She values basic human and civil rights for all; no matter the gifts or challenges we each possess.
Kristian began working at The Arc of Adams County in 2017. She is a graduate from Georgia Southern University with a Bachelor of Science in Communications. The Arc has shed light on the injustices and inequalities individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities face daily. Although, she does not provide direct advocacy, she feels there is a vital role each member of society must play to ensure everyone can live an equal and opportune life. There is always room in our hearts for kindness when you realize everyone is deserving of happiness.
Since 1985 Linda has been the Executive Director at the Arc of Adams County. In the early 1960s she learned alongside peers with disabilities in elementary school. Linda’s Arc journey started as a young teenager in a Youth Arc. Volunteering at Summer Camp for children with IDD, being a Citizen Advocate for a man living in an institution and helping to remodel the first group home in her community. Those years created a lasting impact on her commitment to children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She has a BA in Social Work and her professional career prior to Arc Advocacy was case management and family support in public schools, institutions and community-based services.
Most of her work is systemic, policy and legislative advocacy. Connections with adults and families who are impacted by services or a lack of services is critical to driving policy. Any opportunity to assure that children and adults can live, learn, work, play and be accepted in their communities is worth the energy to get there.
For all people, regardless of their abilities or challenges, having a choice is essential to our wellbeing. Knowing there is someone who supports you to make decisions is important. The Arc offers the flexibility and strength to make a difference in people’s lives. Access to independent advocacy is a rare opportunity for many children and adults with IDD.
Jeannine has been a Child and Family advocate with The Arc of Adams County since 1995. Her background is in Human Services and she has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Buffalo. Her passion comes from knowing that all people are of equal value and entitled to the same rights and opportunities. She often shares how grateful she is to have a career that is so aligned with her personal beliefs.