Ability Connection provides inclusive education, pathways to employment, and support that helps people thrive.  We served more than 40,000 Coloradans with disabilities and their families last year.




21st Annual Great Balls of Fire 9-Ball Billiards Challenge a Big Success! 

Held on February 7th, 2015, at the Wynkoop Brewery, this year’s 21st installment of the annual 9-ball tournament was hosted by the Colorado Professional Firefighters, Denver Firefighters Local 858 and other local area firefighters and helped raise $90,000 for children with developmental needs through the Kyle E. fisher Memorial Fund at Ability Connection Colorado. Parents, Brian & Kelli Fisher, set up the memorial fund in honor of their son, Kyle, who was born with Cerebral Palsy. Proceeds from this uplifting event help ACCO provide scholarships for therapy and early education for children who otherwise would not receive these services. It is a fitting tribute and meaningful way to share with others the spirit, courage and inspirational joy for life and learning that Kyle embraced so strongly.

Presenting sponsor, Circle K, along with 35 other sponsors provided players for the event which made up most of the 60 teams that participated. In addition to billiards play, the event also featured a silent auction, local area sports celebrities and even a couple of Bronco cheerleaders. Ability Connection Colorado would like to extend our thanks to all of the sponsors, contributors, volunteers and players who participated and made the event such a big success.

To view pictures from the event, please visit our gallery page.



Creative Options wins “Help Bring Learning Outdoors” contest! 

Creative Options Center for Early Education was selected through a winning essay to receive playground equipment and curricula valued at $16,000 from Big Toys – a PlayCore Company. We submitted a brief essay on behalf of Creative Options on the importance of outdoor play for our children which was selected from over 200 entrants. The essays were reviewed by a panel of early childhood experts based on how the entrants (early childhood centers/organizations) planned on implementing new equipment and curricula to benefit their early childhood program. Creative Options will receive five Investigation Stations and a customized sign for our outdoor play environment, a full InvestiGator Club Inquiry-Based Learning System, and the new Outdoor Creative Plan and Learning Curriculum with standards-based playground activities.

President/CEO, Judy Ham, states “We are so thrilled that our early childhood centers have been selected to receive this fantastic plan equipment and curricula. We know that social/emotional development of children is paramount – and so much of that happens through their play.” We hope to use the equipment at Creative Options Five. Special thanks to BigToys, InvestiGator Club and PlayCore for making all of this possible.


thank you



Hayley House joins ACCO, aims to help provide end-of-life services to children with life limiting illnesses.

Please join us in welcoming Hayley House as they join ACCO’s group of seven other statewide family support programs.

Hayley House has begun the process of exploring and developing a new, family-friendly facility for the purpose of providing respite, comfort or palliative care, and end-of-life services to children with life-limiting illnesses (CLLI) in a non-institutional setting. The primary goal is to provide much needed assistance to families who are often on “the edge of the edge” physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually as they care for their child with a life-limiting illness.

Hayley House is named in honor of Hayley Johnson, daughter of Tracy Price-Johnson, one of the founders of the proposed project. Hayley died of a life-limiting illness before reaching adulthood.

Modeled after Helen and Douglas House in England and Ryan House in Phoenix, Hayley House will provide respite, palliative and end-of-life care, as well as, bereavement counseling, art, music, expressive and hydro-therapy for children and their families. While medical needs will not be ignored, the emphasis will be in providing a home-like environment centered on the needs of each child, teen (birth – 21) and their families. The limit of respite will be 28 days that can be utilized by the family in any combination that works for them. The limit will extend days for children as life comes closer to an end.

The participants presently involved in Hayley House are composed of comfort/palliative care and hospice specialists, respite providers, advocates, pediatricians, philanthropists, and, most importantly families (parents, siblings, individuals) affected by a life-limiting illness of a child.

A location for the proposed Hayley House has not been chosen, however, it will be located in the Denver metro-area, will be wheelchair accessible, and close to major public transportation. It is projected that services be provided at no charge to the family regardless of ability to pay, and will be available to families statewide. However, third party payments from insurance may be accepted.

While there are long-term care facilities are available for children with life-limiting illnesses, the overwhelming majority of parents choose to keep their child in the home partly because such facilities do not specialize in care to children. Apart from the normal stresses in life (relationships, work, parenting other kids, etc.) the amount of time and energy involved in caring for a child with a life-limiting illness is formidable. The toll this takes on many families often leads to marital discord, divorce, reduced family income, depression, and isolation; a break relieves some of this stress, and has the effect of re-energizing the entire family.

Our community needs Hayley House and Ability Connection Colorado is proud to support their mission and work along with the many children and families who will surely benefit.

For more information about the proposed project, please email: Cassidy.dellemonache@gmail.com



Patty Skolnik

Patient Safety Organization Finds New Platform, Same Strong Voice

Former ACCO Family Support Program transitions to Colorado Foundation for Medical Care

PRLog – Oct. 9, 2014 – DENVER — Ability Connection Colorado (ACCO) and The Colorado Foundation for Medical Care announce the collaborative transfer of Citizens for Patient Safety (CPS) from ACCO to The Colorado Foundation for Medical Care effective October 13, 2014. During the past seven years at ACCO, CPS founder and director Patty Skolnik has developed a patient safety curriculum and spearheaded legislation that ensures transparency in healthcare statewide.

Skolnik believes that CPS’ formative years at ACCO “created a safe place to discover how to tell [my son] Michael’s story while beginning a journey of family healing and broader purpose. Patient safety was virtually an unknown issue, and Judy Ham [ACCO President and CEO] saw the potential impact on healthcare in Colorado. ACCO provided a vital incubation period for CPS as an educational platform.”

The newly reorganized Colorado Foundation for Medical Care has enlisted Skolnik as Director of Healthcare Safety. The CPS mission to increase engagement for better medical outcomes will be foundational for this healthcare learning services consortium. “Patty has been such a champion for the voices of patients and families, and, through CPS, has created actionable tools and resources at all levels. Her working knowledge is vital to bridging the gap between patients and providers and our capacity to facilitate fully integrated healthcare solutions,” said CEO John Bozin.

ACCO remains committed to patient safety and looks forward to partnering with Skolnik and The Colorado Foundation for Medical Care in the future. “At Ability Connection, Patty has brought patient safety to the forefront of the national healthcare conversation,” said Ham. “The time is right to pass the baton, and we wholeheartedly support this move.”


EnerCom’s Annual Charity Golf Tournament Generates Commitments of $57,400 for ACCO Programs


Pictured: Enercom President, Greg Barnett, comedian, Josh Blue and Ability Connection Colorado President and CEO, Judy Ham

A big “Thank You” to EnerCom, Inc. for generating charity commitments of more than $55,000 for Ability Connection Colorado through its annual charity golf tournament on Sunday, August 17 at the at the world-renowned Arrowhead Golf Club in Littleton, Colorado. The tournament served as the kickoff event for EnerCom’s The Oil and Gas Conference® 19, which drew 118 companies from all over the world, including many industry leaders. Golfers enjoyed the scenic venue at Arrowhead and a perfect day of weather. At the conclusion of the tournament, attendees gathered together for a little bonus entertainment, courtesy of one of Denver’s favorite funnymen, comedian, Josh Blue.  The annual charity tournament is the highest grossing event for ACCO.

EnerCom first named ACCO beneficiary of the tournament in 2006. Since that time, the annual fundraiser has gifted more than $300,000 to help support the critical work Ability Connection does on behalf of Coloradans with disabilities and other challenges. The cause is near and dear to Enercom President Greg Barnett and wife, Tommey, as they have two nephews impacted by Cerebral Palsy.

As Barnett explains, “EnerCom’s relationship with Ability Connection Colorado, through its annual golf tournament and participation in other events hosted by Ability Connection Colorado, provides EnerCom with a trusted platform to build lasting customer and personal relationships, while giving back to a very personal cause”.

“EnerCom is a company that values the happiness that comes from its work, its relationships and families. For EnerCom, having a purpose like ACCO for its corporate and personal charity work provides the company with the opportunity to connect with its customers and business partners on a different plane. We believe that giving back is what we should do, not what we have to do. Everyone at EnerCom invests their time and capital back into the community. Balancing life and work are important for our long-term success.”

With sentiments like that, it’s easy to see why EnerCom has become a successful business and a loyal community partner of Ability Connection Colorado. We are honored by their many years of support and inspired by their commitment to helping people with disabilities thrive and achieve. For all you do, we thank you!


A warm welcome to our new Family Support Program


J.P. Carroll


The JP Prescription Drug Awareness Foundation (JPPDAF) honors the life and legacy of J.P. Carroll.  On September 25, 2012, J.P. passed away due to an accidental prescription drug overdose.  He was taking a commonly prescribed anti-anxiety medication (benzodiazepine), and in combination with a single dose of hydrocodone (prescription opioid pain medication),  J.P. stopped breathing in his sleep. He was 26 years old.

The goal of the JPPDAF is to shine a bright light on the growing epidemic of accidental prescription drug overdoses that currently cause a death in the U.S. every 15 minutes. That’s more fatalities than car accidents and all other drug overdoses combined. When prescription pain medications are combined with alcohol, anti-depressant medications, anti-anxiety medications or various other medications, the combination claims lives.  Just one pill made the difference between life and death for J.P.

JPPDAF advocates for Colorado families and makes healthcare safer.

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