Wednesday, January 9, 2013

50 Years, 50 Stories - Don Coloroso

Welcome to another edition of “50 Years, 50 Stories,” where we celebrate Imagine!’s 50th Anniversary with stories from many people associated with Imagine! over the years.

Last week, I started out this ambitious project with a recollection from Ruth Wood, who was the first Executive Director for what was to become Imagine!. This week I will continue with the theme of stories from former Executive Directors by sharing a remembrance from Don Coloroso, who served as Executive Director from 1976 to 1983.

Like last week’s story, this is also taken from a 25th Anniversary newsletter put out by the Developmental Disabilities Center (Imagine!, before Imagine! was called Imagine!). Don’t worry, starting next week we’ll have brand new stories to share, but I like the idea of starting out these stories by providing a little historical perspective.

So without further delay, here’s Don Coloroso writing in 1988 about his experiences.

Former Director Recalls Administration
By Don Coloroso

Don Coloroso in 1988

I arrived at the then BCBDD (Editor’s note: BCBDD was the acronym for the Boulder County Board for Developmental Disabilities, an earlier name of Imagine!) from my position as Director of Family Services at the Weld County Community Center Board in Greeley, Colorado, in the Fall of 1976. At that time, the Boulder program was already established nationally for its progressive programs to assist people with developmental disabilities.

Highlights of my time at the agency include the opportunity to work with extremely competent and dedicated staff. I was pleased to see the expansion of residential options during my years at the Board. I also felt the agency’s added focus on the under five population was also beneficial.

I saw as my goal enhancing support services to the people in the program and their families. I believed the board was a stepping stone in allowing the people we served to be all they could be – as independent as possible.

As an early supporter and officer of the Legal Center for Handicapped Citizens, I felt an obligation to advocate for the all too long forgotten rights of the people we served.

Another area of importance was the state and local education that needed to take place in order to educate the public and facilitate the delivery of service. In this domain, I worked with the local legislators, the Boulder Chamber of Commerce, other human service agencies, the Governor’s Council for Developmental Disabilities and the Federal Office of Developmental Disabilities. I viewed all human needs to be a community responsibility and so I worked with the business community and the human service network to gap and unify efforts to meet the needs of the community.

Are you interested in sharing your story for “50 Years, 50 Stories?” If so, contact Caroline Siegfried at or 303-926-6405. We’d love to hear from you!

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