Reflecting on our Silver Anniversary...
2017 marks RMHS’ 25th anniversary, and we greatly appreciate the customers, families, staff, and volunteers who have shaped Rocky Mountain Human Services throughout our history. It is important to reflect on and learn from our past and, in doing so, create a vision for a bright future.
Rocky Mountain Human Services opened as “Denver Options” on January 2, 1992, one of 20 Community Centered Boards designated by the state of Colorado to provide services to children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. A quarter of a century later, RMHS continues to provide Denver residents with a range of services and supports.
From the very beginning, RMHS was a busy place, full of energy. With fewer than 100 employees, the staff felt like family, and often wore a variety of hats to ensure people received the best possible services.
RMHS grew slowly in the beginning, but never shied away from opportunities to fill a gap in services. In fact, the most dramatic increase in the number of individuals accepting services from RMHS came as a result of a community-wide effort for a Denver election to increase funding for people with developmental disabilities in 2003. Staff and volunteers knocked on doors, planted “Yes on 100” signs in yards and celebrated together when election results showed the initiative had won with 70% voter approval. Our first priority was expansion of the Early Intervention program – funding to provide Denver children with developmental delays and disabilities access to therapies in the first three years of life.
In 2011, our expertise with case management and residential services made it possible to secure a grant from the Veterans Administration, launching the Homes for All Veterans program. Since its inception, the program has provided over 4,000 military veterans and their family members with stable housing, and opened the door for RMHS to consider services and supports to additional populations and in expanded geographic regions.
We also expanded services to adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities in 2014 when the Colorado legislature took action to eliminate the waitlist for state waiver programs for children and adults. This allowed RMHS to enroll several hundred new people into services, many who had been on a waitlist for years.
Today, we are working closely with those who accept services and their families to provide the services that they identify as most important to them, in a manner that demonstrates respect and inclusiveness. We are honored to collaborate with the many organizations in our community who share our goals, and we are excited to partner with all in the RMHS family as, together, we strive to expand opportunities and improve supports and services for the people we are privileged to serve.
We invite you to join us as we celebrate our silver anniversary and look ahead to a bright future made even better because of the engaged community that continuously challenges us to be our very best.
Happy Anniversary RMHS!
Shari Repinski, Executive Director Roger Schmitz, Board Chair