By Eliza Marie Somers
Trust is the foundation to all relationships, and for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, trust is essential for them to open up and reveal their true selves and talents.
As the participants in the Community Counts! project became more comfortable with their communications skills, they also became more trusting of their colleagues and that resulted in some wonderful discoveries about their talents.
Below are some examples of accomplishments of the participants in the Community Count! project, created by CTAT, LLC, in conjunction with the City and County of Denver, that encouraged inclusion for people with I/DD.
Perks of Poetry
Chris Patton is a poet and an entrepreneur, who owns Lopsided Hearts Creations, a T-shirt company in which he prints lines from his poems.
Love Poem by Chris Patton
Another poem by Chris Patton focusing on gratitude.
Rachel Kurth, left, Tinisha Dinkel-Lowman are featured in several newscasts.
Rachel Kurth, Gwenn Merrill and Tinisha Dinkel-Lowman love working and were featured in several newscasts and videos, including one by the Special Olympics, about their work habits at Pizzability and Brewability.
Mentor and panelist Jocelyn Roy is a digital artist, who works at Access Gallery, where you can purchase some of her creations. Roy is also a board member of the Wayfaring Band, a nonprofit group that puts together excursions for people with I/DD. Most recently Roy has also been working at Guided by Humanity on the “Smoothie Bus” and she became certified as a yoga instructor
Panelist Adam Barrow uses his imagination and works with a 3-D printer to create his intricate and playful art. Adam’s creatures are designed on the 3-D printer and then produced using a flexible material. Adam also creates creatures the old-fashioned way, using cloth, floral wire and foam, a hot glue and other fun materials.
Adam’s newest creation, titanothirion spirit.
Adrien Law and Jareth Charles also are artists who work at Access Gallery, where you can view and buy their art.
Staging a Wonderful Life
Mentor Dennis Carbrey is an honorary board member of The Laradon Foundation, a nonprofit that empowers children and adults with I/DD. Carbrey is also a singer and actor, appearing in Magic Moments’ productions, including its pop music revue. He was featured in a Denver Gazette article about the show.
Dennis Carbrey is an actor and singer, appearing in Magic Moments’ productions, including a music revue.
Alan Staude, who works for Home Depot, wants to expand his duties to include educating colleagues about the I/DD community.
Alan Staude, who is also a mentor and panelist, works at Home Depot and would like to expand his duties to the human resources department by helping colleagues who have I/DD and also helping others understand the I/DD community.
These are just a few of the talents and goals of the participants in the Community Count! project. By revealing their accomplishments, the members hope to educate others about their abilities to contribute to a society that tends to devalue their skills and shut them out.