Since 1985, Community Connections has created opportunities for people with disabilities to live healthy, meaningful and inclusive lives in our Southwest Colorado communities. Our vision is of a community where all people with disabilities have the same opportunities as other community members.
How the money will be used
Donations support achieving social inclusion for people with disabilities and full participation in community life. People with disabilities make valuable contributions to and enhance the cultural fabric of a community. Community Connections supports the people we serve with access to employment, independent living, skills development, community involvement, assistive technology, transportation and much more.
How will it make a difference
Approximately 90% of this important work is conducted with Medicaid and State of Colorado designated funding. Anything else we wish to do, including working towards our inclusion goal, developing educational videos that speak to the power of our programs and expanding or developing any new programs, requires private financial support.
The families, caregivers and committed professionals who started Community Connections had a vision of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in regular homes, working and playing in the community, leading typical lives. Community Connections has remained true to that vision and continues to provide services in the least-restrictive environments possible. It is our commitment that children are served in their family home or child care setting, and adults live and work in the community rather than segregated sheltered workshops and group homes
In 2018, the vision of our founders is still relevant. Though not generally institutionalized, people with disabilities continue to face barriers—philosophical, physical, institutional, and financial—that keep them segregated from people without disabilities. They still often play on special teams, participate in special events and activities, and live with other people with disabilities. Individuals with disabilities suffer a high rate of abuse and high unemployment rates. Grouping people with disabilities together continues due to the lack of resources from government and private funding and lack of understanding in society. Organizations like Community Connections continue to pursue our vision and try to find creative ways to help people with disabilities find and reach their life goals and be included in community life like all other community members.
What we accomplished over this past year
In 2019, Community Connections is proud to have supported 314 children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (like autism, Down syndrome and cerebral palsy) and their families across our five-county Southwest Colorado service area and accomplished the following:
- 100% of 133 children with developmental delays aged 0-3 enrolled in our Early Intervention program demonstrated marked improvements in their development, reducing their need to receive services later in life.
- 97% of children with disabilities avoided foster care and remained in their family home.
- We achieved a 98% client satisfaction rate in our adult services program.
- We provided support to 25 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (9 in La Plata, 16 in Montezuma and Dolores counties) to attain and sustain employment.
- We achieved a 26.3% reduction in staff turnover (from 42.8% in 2015 to 16.5% in 2019), resulting in an increase in agency savings, productivity, stability of and access to program services. Consistent staff support and the relationships forged afford clients an increased ability to achieve their life goals.
- We implemented a new training program for Community Connections staff and other health and human services professionals regionally emphasizing person-centered practices to teach ways of planning, providing, and organizing services rooted in listening to what people want and helping them live in their communities based on their choices.