The mission of THRIVE Center is to inform and empower all families, particularly low-income, culturally and linguistically diverse families as advocates for their children with disabilities, ages birth-26, to achieve meaningful participation in their schools and communities.
Who do we serve?
We are here to assist families who have children with disabilities as well as professionals who work with them in the following counties: Denver, Arapahoe, Adams, Boulder, Broomfield, Jefferson and Douglas.
THRIVE Center, formerly the Denver-Metro Community Parent Resource Center (DMCPRC) incorporated as its own entity in the state of Colorado and submitted an application for a 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service in 2006. The project has been in existence since 2003 and has successfully served underrepresented families in the Denver Enterprise Zone. Initially the current project served only Spanish-speaking families in conjunction with a Spanish-speaking support group, El Grupo Vida. After year one El Grupo Vida determined that it would like to work independently, and the project evolved. In years two and three, the Center hired new staff and developed a relationship with the Hmong American Association of Colorado as well as began outreach to African-American families. Near the end of the grant period the Project Coordinator resigned and the Outreach Coordinator/Parent Adviser became the Executive Director. With the seamless transition of staff to the new project, knowledgeable assistance from Region 5 Technical Assistance for Parent Centers, support from the Office of Special Education Programs' project officer, and wise council from the board of directors, the Center was able to build from its foundation to include other under-served populations such as culturally, linguistically diverse families, homeless families, visiting parents in prison who have children with disabilities and refugee families years later.
I have been the executive director for THRIVE Center, formerly the Denver Metro Community Parent Resource Center (DMCPRC), for 13 impactful and exciting years. Our center has touched the lives of hundreds of families with children with special needs. We show parents how to support their children in preparing to live and thrive in the community, through their transition from infancy to high school and from high school to post-secondary life. All parents want their children to succeed, to have gainful employment, accessible housing, means of transportation, and recreational opportunities with their peers in their community. Most parents of children with disabilities know that this is possible when children start their lives with an appropriate inclusive education.
THRIVE Center exists to help families support their children with disabilities live successfully in the community rather than segregated environments. The Center trains parents about supports and services that are available in the schools, including workshops on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the federal law that legally supports this endeavor. In addition we train families on how to tell their personal stories to legislators, how to write an effective Individualized Educational Plan, and how to communicate their child's needs with the school. We inform and educate parents through advising face-to-face, over the phone and via the Internet.
We recently added a group mentoring program called Redeem for African American males from the ages of 5 - 21 years old who have intellectual/developmental disabilities. African American men meet with their mentees in a central location with other mentors and mentees where they participate in activities that teach moral character and friendship building to mentees. One Saturday out of the month, mentors and mentees go out on outings like Boondocks, Barbeque at the Aurora Reservoir, Dave and Busters and a weekend stay at YMCA at Estes Park. Parents have shared how much they appreciate having a program like Redeem.
Throughout the years we have heard stories that show that our center is making an impact. For example, a young mother had a 3 year old son with autism who would not sleep; he cried and hit his parents. They had to remove the carpet because he consistently threw feces on the carpet and walls. They were behind in rent, bills were unpaid and the father was at risk of losing his job because he had to leave work early several times to help his wife. She wanted a divorce. The Center got in touch with Developmental Pathways and urged them to put the family on top of their waiting list for services because they were a family in crisis. We also contacted an organization in Colorado Springs which provides over-night respite care for parents. By the end of the week, the family quickly received vital resources and much needed support.
In one of our workshops, a parent with tears in her eyes shared how her child had threatened to kill himself if she continued to make him go to school. He was a student with a disability and was tired of being bullied. The school failed him and the mother felt she failed him too. After attending our trainings, she was able to attend a meeting with the school, articulate her child's needs and strengths, in a calm and informed manner, and began holding the school accountable. Her son was proud of how she advocated for him, and their relationship improved.
Our center serves the metropolitan area of Denver and the surrounding counties. The center makes a purposeful effort to reach out to under-served communities which tend to be culturally, linguistically and racially diverse, low socioeconomically disadvantaged, and refugee families, to name a few. The staff and board members also go into the community by attending resource and community fairs as well as serve on many boards and commissions that deal with policies that affect children with disabilities and their families.
It is my pleasure to continue the important work we do for the community and I am looking forward to continuing this work for another 13 years.
"I like learning about underrepresented populations and the intricacies of outreach (culturally sensitive)"
" It helps me as a parent better understand the process for my child and therefore better advocate for others."
" Me gustó todo la información del entrenamiento. Yo no había oído de esta información antes. Me ayudó a escuchar la situación de los otros padres y escuchar las mismas necesidades que tengo yo." (I liked all the information from the training. I had not heard this information before. It helped to hear the situation of other parents and hear the same needs that I have.)
"The knowledge from [sic] staff was invaluable in assisting with the transitional IEP that my son needs."
"When I came from Nepal, I never thought that we would meet so many people who have children with disabilities and who would like us. I never thought when I came to Colorado that I would have the chance to go to the Capitol and see how laws were made." (statement was translated)
" I've shared the information obtained from Parent Center with at least 5-7 families."