History of Mountain Valley Developmental Services
Mountain Valley Developmental Services was initially formed in 1973 by a group of parents and volunteers to provide educational and therapeutic services to Roaring Fork Valley preschool children with developmental disabilities. The first class consisted of 13 children in a donated room funded by private donations and staffed by one teacher and two part-time therapists. Within three years, an Infant Stimulation Program was initiated and day activities were begun for adults from the area.
In 1979 the program again expanded, providing services for adults and children in Pitkin and Eagle Counties. The first residential group home also opened in 1979 and transportation programs within the Roaring Fork Valley were initiated. Within the next few years, satellite centers were opened for preschool age children in Aspen, Rifle, Vail and Lake County was added to our catchment area. Mountain Valley was now proving services in Garfield, Pitkin, Eagle and Lake Counties.
As de-institutionalizing was increased, the need for additional residential facilities was implemented. In addition to group homes, apartments and host homes were opened, all based on individual needs.
In 1984, a commercial greenhouse was constructed with donated materials and labor. The greenhouse is still operating today, selling herbs and sprouts year round to food stores, restaurants and individuals as well as seasonal bedding plants. Another expansion occurred n 1989, when residential and vocational services were expanded to the Eagle/Vail area.
By 1990, the State Department of Education mandated that all children between the ages of 3 – 5 receive preschool services through the public school. Our once large preschool program was gradually eliminated and Early Intervention services for younger children under the age of three began being provided in their homes. With the elimination of the preschool, other programs evolved, i.e. Family Support Services and Supported Living Services – both providing necessary supports for families to be successful with their disabled children/adults within the family setting.
As we moved farther from the institutional mentality, Community Center Boards across the state, including Mountain Valley Developmental Services, began to look at new models of providing residential services. We began purchasing and offering supports within apartments in Vail and Glenwood Springs. More recently, the State changed its Medicaid regulations to allow CCB’s to fund residential supports for adults residing within their family home through the Family Care Giver program. Mountain Valley was one of the first organizations to make this service available.
Colorado has continued to be a pioneer in encouraging integration of individuals with disabilities within the community. Mountain Valley has excelled in providing meaningful employment opportunities and supports as well as developing training programs to raise the skill level of adults in our seeking employment. As the best practice moved away from sheltered workshops, so did Mountain Valley. “Seed” money was donated by the family of a young woman with the caveat that a weaving program be developed in memory of the young woman’s deceased mother. This evolved into a retail store, located in the downtown business community of Glenwood Springs. A “dream come true” for our weavers. For those individuals who wished to work in other community jobs, a supported work program providing a job coach to assist with training was developed.
For those who community work was not a goal, a day program was developed with hours spent in the community as well as participating in art, music and dance therapy, recreational outing and even volunteer activities!
Mountain Valley continues to be sensitive to the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities providing “encouragement and support which will enable persons receiving services to live, learn and work in the most independent and inclusive manner possible”.