How Did Parent to Parent of Colorado Get Started?
In May of 1997, a group of parents gathered in Breckenridge to discuss the initiation of a new statewide network for parents of sons and daughters with disabilities. From this meeting emerged an action plan and a statewide steering committee that diligently developed the beginnings of Parent to Parent of Colorado (P2P-CO), including the Mission and Vision and a framework for an organization which would operate long-term and support the development of parent leadership. Three areas of focus for P2P-CO are: individual parent matching for support and information, building inclusive communities for our sons and daughters, and taking effective and constructive group action on public policy issues.
In 1998, P2P-CO found a home at CP of Colorado, becoming a program in Statewide Services. A shared grassroots beginning similar to CP of Colorado’s made this a natural relationship. Great things began to happen for P2P-CO due to the leadership of our founding parents sharing similar beliefs and values to improve the lives of others.
Starting with 120 families and two part-time staff, P2P-CO has grown to over 2800 parent members and four part-time staff. Our online parent support group (via Yahoo Groups List Serve) , has grown from eight families to over 1500 who “speak” daily to each other on issues of concern. P2P-CO is one of the largest yahoogroups in the category of Disabilities/Special Needs Families. This member only forum provides a way for parents to address concerns, provide and receive advice, and share celebrations in a safe and confidential environment.
In March 2001, the P2P-CO web site (www.abilityconnectioncolorado.org/newsite/p2p-co) was launched to further connect families and provide a vast array of resources for parents and professionals. Our reach in social media increased further with the addition of a Facebook page in 2010. Facebook allows both parents and professionals to connect to current information and trends in the disability community.
In 2010, Parent to Parent of Colorado became a charter member of Parent to Parent USA, a national network of state organizations which have a commitment to implementing evidence-based P2P USA endorsed practices.
Our most recent event occurred in September 2013 when CP of Colorado changed its name to Ability Connection Colorado. This change emphasizes the abilities of all of our sons and daughters as well as the myriad of connections that we promote at Parent to Parent of Colorado and with our partners in Statewide Services.