To actively support the inclusion of individuals with disabilities within our community.
Community Link has had various names throughout the last 50 years, but we have always maintained the same vision - to actively support the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities within our community.
We were founded in 1960 by a small group of Boulder County families who envisioned a better future for their sons and daughters who experienced disability. In the early days, very limited services were available for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Community Link initiated both a work program and a school dedicated to helping these individuals. The work program had locations in both Boulder and Longmont that focused on sub-contracting with local businesses to provide a cost-effective solution to their job contracting needs. The school program was created because the public school system did not have the capacity to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities.
By the mid 1970's, the agency was actively integrating people into the workplace of such businesses as: IBM, Ball Aerospace and Beach Aircraft. Public law 94-142, implemented during this decade, required the public school system to provide a fair and appropriate public education for all students and thus our school was phased out.
In the early 1980's, Community Link became the first agency in the state to actively place people into regular jobs within private and public businesses and to provide ongoing one-on-one support. During this decade, nearly everyone served received employment experience within regular community job settings. By the end of the decade, plans were being developed to eliminate the segregated work program.
These plans were initiated in the early 1990's after a significant majority of those served expressed preference for community job settings. At that time, we were identified as the largest organization in the country to have converted to community-based employment and inclusive activities.
Also at this time, both the volunteer and the retirement service components were added. The volunteer program provides work experience to participants through employment at a variety of Boulder County non-profits. In addition to developing skills, the intention of this program is to socially connect with community members. Our retirement program provides seniors with activities consistent with their interests, as well as opportunities to socially connect.
In 2000, the agency increased its geographical scope to include the larger Denver Metro area. We developed systems providing employment in these areas while continuing to send the message that all people who desire employment can become employed with appropriate accommodations. Unfortunately, by mid-decade, a large portion of funding for employment programs was eliminated, causing us to cease employment services in the Denver area in 2012 and put emphasis on other services. We now proudly offer assistance in finding quality living situations through a support companions or host families or to continue to live in their own home or family home.
We believe in taking a holistic approach and focus on achieving the outcomes identified by our customers with support from their families and interdisciplinary team. This is done through true coordination of services of home life, community integrated day activities and one's job and is the new focus of Community Link's services. We provide holistic coordination of an individual's life to provide assurance to their family that they will live a good life both now and in the future.
Community Link includes a diversity of community-based service options, including paid employment, community integrated day activities through volunteer work and community activities. We actively support the inclusion of people with disability within our community.
"I feel so blessed" has been Ellen's* frequent comment since entering residential services with Community Link. Coming from a background of chaotic and dysfunctional living and relationships, Ellen has gained many friends and supports that she never had available to her in her earlier years. Though she suffers from a degenerative condition, she has maintained her high quality of life and independence. Whether it be obtaining the right medical equipment, helping her experience new community activities, or simply giving her the chance to express herself fully, Ellen's team is committed to giving her the best life possible. Community Link has ensured that she continues to access the very best medical professionals and has remained integrated in her community with high quality caretakers and supports. "I'm so lucky!" says Ellen, and her team feels the same way!
"It really has been a joy having Community Link helping out on these projects.
We all look forward to their arrival each morning. The quality and quantity of the funnel kits that have been built, has truly made a difference in the way AST has been able to address our customer's needs."
Russ Townsend, Assenmacher Specialty Tools
"We have employed several wonderful individuals from Employment Link over the Years. Our current EL team member, JA is a valuable contributor to our team in several capacities. She plays a vital roll in the production process and has worked hard to become proficient in all of her daily tasks. She continues to amaze her coworkers and supervisors with her positive can do attitude each day. She truly enriches the daily work experience of her coworkers, creating a productive team spirit in her department and company-wide. The diversity she offers is now part of our culture and helps make our company a place people want to work. We are proud to have JA as part of our team, and look forward to working with J. and Employment Link for many years to come."
Don R. Martin, President - Bloomin (seed paper products)
"Community Link provide a wonderful service for the Longmont Meals on Wheels homebound clients. Not only do they deliver a hot, nutritious meal to those in need, but also a warm smile. They enjoy helping others and feeling part of the community, and we know that our clients enjoy seeing them as well. Longmont Meals on Wheels enjoys the relationship that we have with Community Link, and can always count on their reliability as volunteers for our organization."
Colleen Larsen, Volunteer Coordinator - Longmont Meals on Wheels