Coloring Outside of the Lines

By: Kelie Kyser, Communications Director

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The Arc Arapahoe & Douglas Counties’ purpose is to empower children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) by providing them with the tools they need to be an integral part of their community.  Our goal is to help people with I/DD learn, live, and thrive on their own terms – encouraging self-advocates who campaign for the life they want to live!

Our focus over the last few years has been to develop programs that are sustained by our members’ participation and input.  Learning for Living, Fun Fridays, and The Two-Way Street Project started as basic educational workshops that evolved into something much more than we could have ever imagined.  With the help of two very passionate program facilitators (Cynde Vaughn and Jonah Berger), our Education & Community Outreach Coordinator, Kim Tenure charted a path of independence for our self-advocates by helping them create their own journey.

We know that inclusion doesn’t happen in a conference room safely tucked away in a “special” place.  And people don’t learn about themselves and others by listening to an instructor and being spoon-fed direction.  Life happens outside of the box when we interact with new people, feel vulnerable, overcome obstacles, and discover something new.  Accordingly, we are very excited about the success of our self-advocates’ social evolution and honored to be a part of the process.

Learning for Living: Facilitator Cynde Vaughn, MSW guides participants through an educational series designed to integrate them into their community by learning to live.  Community Safety, Friendships, and Romantic Relationships are the themes that comprise this yearly series.

The Two-Way Street: Pack Leader, Jonah Berger provides young adults with I/DD with the opportunity to give back to their community by volunteering at local nonprofits throughout the metro area.  The “Two-Way Street” concept is that our self-advocates benefit from being involved in meaningful activity, and the community learns the abilities of individuals with disabilities.

Fun Fridays: Education & Community Outreach Coordinator, Kim Tenure ensures that the first Friday of every month is FUN at The Arc.  Self-advocates enjoy themed parties, venture out for a night on the town, participate in cooking competitions, open mic nights, and much more.

To learn more about programs at The Arc Arapahoe & Douglas Counties contact Kim Tenure at 720-457-1032 or visit our website: arc-ad.org.

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