Thrive Center

It is sad when children are made to go to school to fail. Their self-esteem suffers, depression occurs, and their hope for the future nonexistent. This happens when they do not have the needed supports for them to be successful. Our Center exists to help parents change that reality for the better.

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Erin Cocchiaro, Administrative Ass't/Outreach Coordinator
Start Date: 2018

Erin Cocchiaro is currently attending Metropolitan State University majoring in psychology and social work. She first started with Thrive 2 years ago as an intern helping with the Project Independence student workshops. It wasn't long before she was hired to help Thrive ensure that families and professionals receive the information and resources necessary to enable them to make informed decisions; working together to improve educational results for students with disabilities.

Derek Burkhalter, Project Director
Start Date: 2019

Derek was born and raised in New York and a proud father of two daughters. He became an ordained pastor in 2015. Before he became the Project Director for Redeem, he worked for Comcast as a Circuit Provisioner. Derek attend Colorado Christian Fellowship where he began serving as an usher which led him to become a member of a small men's group called God's Posse. This small group of men helped feed his desire to serve people in the community by helping others with small chores, moving, yard work, and minor household repairs. He also served at the Denver Rescue Mission as a mentor, helped with Toys for Tots, and delivered Thanksgiving dinners, and much more. Derek is very happy to continue the act of service by helping and working with young boys to reach their full potential.

Debra Warner, Parent Adviser/Trainer
Start Date: 2019

Debra Warner is a Parent Advisor at THRIVE and most importantly a single mother to 3 wonderful children. She is currently navigating the Special Education system with two of them. She has worked in the education world for 15 years as a para educator and currently working on my Masters in Special Education. Debra is looking forward to utilizing her experience and education to help other parents navigate the Special Education system.

Jahsun Collier, Clerk and Media Support
Start Date: 2019

Jahsun Collier recently graduated from Eaglecrest High School. He received support and services from Special Education services during his time in school and is enrolled in community college in the fall to become a video editor. In the meantime, he is happy to help and support other kids who receive special education services like he did by working for THRIVE Center.

Carmina O'Sullivan-Scimemia, Administrative Ass't & Outreach Coordinator
Start Date: 2019

Bio To come.

Lori Parker, Parent Adviser & Trainer
Start Date: 2013

She has worked as the Bi-lingual Parent Advisor/Trainer for THRIVE Center for four years. Mrs. Parker holds a master in social work and succeeded in this field, working with high risk families regarding resource procurement and system navigation, as well as experience with systems and services that serve children and families with disabilities. Mrs. Parker has provided many trainings regarding parent advocacy, navigating systems and person centered planning. She has worked on many teams in the past, from providing family services from a team approach to working as a co-trainer for 4-12 hour trainings to coordinating large events of 600 people with a "co" project organizer. Additionally, Mrs. Parker speaks Spanish and is a mother of an 18 year old son whose primary diagnosis is spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy. (see page B-3). Last year she was awarded the Outstanding Family Advocate of the Year 2014.

Yvette Plummer Burkhalter, CEO/Executive Director
Start Date: 2006

Before becoming an executive director for THRIVE, Mrs. Burkhalter worked in Hollywood for 15 years as an independent film producer, director and writer as well as working on popular television shows. That changed when she became a mother and made the decision to invest her time in her son rather than the film and television industry. She began working for the Center as a Parent Advisor in January 2005 when the CPRC grant was under PEAK Parent Center. Shortly after, the duties of Outreach Coordinator were added to her job description. She has spearheaded outreach to African-American families, homeless families, parents in prison and has created and maintains partnerships with many local and state agencies and non-profit organizations. As Executive Director, Mrs. Burkhalter directs and oversees the quality of the curriculum and edits materials according to participants' cultural background, literacy level, and accessibility. Mrs. Burkhalter holds a master's degree in communication from Regent University and a bachelor in journalism from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She serves as a member of the Colorado Developmental Disability Council's Multicultural Committee, Co-Chair of JFK Partners Advisory board, and was a former member of the Colorado Special Education Advisory Committee where she served full three terms and former Co-chair of the Colorado Inter-Agency Coordinating Council where she served three full terms as well. She supervises all aspects of the organization as well as providing information and trainings.
As an African-American parent of a 17-year-old son on the autism spectrum, Mrs. Burkhalter has a natural ability to talk to parents from diverse cultures that are also raising children with disabilities. Her passion for this work is consistently evident.


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Nonprofit completed the Colorado Nonprofit Association's Excellence in Principles & Practices Recognition Program?



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