Community Members with I/DD Show Off Their Skills

Brittany Murdock, an artist at Access Gallery, is proud to represent the I/DD community.

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.

Anne Patton helps her son, Chris, with a device he uses to communicate.

Love Poem by Chris Patton

  • Love is a good friend
  • In your heart
  • Love is time together
  • With laughter
  • Love is why birds
  • Sing to the sun
  • Love is extra jelly
  • On your toast
  • Love is a blessing to my heart
  • In hope, for more peace in the world.

Another poem by Chris Patton focusing on gratitude.

  • Feel very grateful for these hippy human hearts
  • Treat me to teach others to explore my hungry wise heart
  • Yearn always to be in friendship and community with others,
  • So that I may be more useful and helpful to the funky-gut dreamy hearts of the world.
  • Yearn to really be purposeful in the dream world to serve you and your friends.
  • A free and ferocious joy for me.
  • Sadness waters my mind sometimes,
  • But friendship and purpose dry the muck And vermin with sunshine.
  • The great flowers of wisdom and safety grow in the green, And I run through them with joy.
  • Yearn to serve, yearn to dream with you.
  • Yearn to really be valiant and dreamy and free for you, who have served me so deeply, gutty friends.
  • Feel the truth in this, and feel goodness in all of you.
  • Breathe waterfall teachings here, and be free and happy, friends.

 Enjoying Employment

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.

 Thriving Artists

Jocelyn Roy shows off one of her creations.

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 is also an artist at Access Gallery, where you can view and purchase his creations.

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.

 Educating Others

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.