Who We Are

People are at the heart of everything we do at The Arc of Pueblo. Serving with compassion and love, our staff works tirelessly to ensure lives are improved and services are received for those who cannot serve themselves.

Seeking assistance in every stage of life, the Arc of Pueblo touches high-impact areas of the growth process that are difference makers in the lives of the disabled. 

Areas of Assistance Include:

  • Advocacy for K-12 and Postsecondary Education
  • Seeking Employment
  • Housing and Independent Living
  • Connections with Comprehensive Healthcare
  • Right to Vote/Political Participation
  • Healthy Individual Decision-Making
  • Guardianship or Other Alternatives
  • Community Safety and Engagement
  • Social Connections and Recreation
  • Access to Assistive Technology

The Arc of Pueblo is an advocacy arm in Pueblo that serves individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.  We act as legal guardian for individuals who have no involved family and have been deemed incapacitated by the courts and a support system for families wishing to care for loved ones.


We work with individuals, families, community center boards, local schools and court systems to help to safeguard the rights of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, to facilitate choice and to promote independence and inclusion in community life.

Board of Directors Are:

  • Melanie Osterman
  • Lucy Pacheco
  • Kathy Serena
  • Lynette Zinno
  • Janet Smith
  • Maria Craig
  • Karl Valdez
  • Rob Moore
  • Anthony Velasquez
  • Maralina Schoenfielder
  • Dr. Shirley Salvatore

Stephanie Garcia

Executive Director

719-545-5845

stephanie@arcofpueblo.org

 

Amy Sais

Guardianship Director

719-545-5846

amy@arcofpueblo.org

 

Rhonda Berry

Advocacy Director

719-582-1120

rhonda@arcofpueblo.org

 

Jason Castro

Advocacy Specialist

719-582-1120

jason@arcofpueblo.org

 

Danelle Miller-Weatherford

Advocacy Specialist

719-582-1120

danelle@arcofpueblo.org

 

Jean Pounds, Office Assistant

Stephanie Garcia has been with The Arc of Pueblo since 1992. When she started, Stephanie led the process for the chapter to re-affiliate with The Arc of Colorado. With a very modest budget, Stephanie worked alongside the Board and numerous volunteers to raise funds to support the advocacy work of the chapter including staffing a fundraising booth at the Colorado State Fair grounds for 23 years, tireless grant application efforts, bingo nights, and "donating" her garage for many years to store items for regular yard sales. Ultimately, those efforts resulted in the purchase of a building.

Stephanie also helped to launch the annual, Golden Tortilla event which has local celebrity tortilla makers competing for a prized "golden rolling pin" Additional grant writing and fundraising led to completing the 3rd and final phase of the building project with a wonderful conference/training room and welcoming office space. 

As the chapter's budget grew over the years, so did guardianship and advocacy programs. Five full-time and one part-time staff are making a difference for the children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the community. Stephanie has created partnerships wit the courts, education systems, service providers, chambers of commerce and others who believe in the mission of success for people with disabilities. 

Stephanie is a tireless advocate for people with IDD and she is always happy to work with people to come to a good resolution, but when circumstances require it, she is a fighter and the Board of Directors couldn't admire her tenacity more. 

Deeply Rooted History 

The Arc of Pueblo was born more than 60 years ago from a grassroots movement of families working vigilantly to create services for children and adults who were being denied day care, educational opportunities and work programs.

Founded in 1957, The Arc of Pueblo was comprised of a small group of concerned and passionate parents and community members who would be catalyst for changing the public perception of children with disabilities. For the past 60+ years, The Arc of Pueblo has continued to grow and evolve along with the changing needs and issues people with disabilities and their families face.

Governed by a volunteer board of directors and managed by key staff of The Arc, we work passionately to uphold our vision that every individual and family living with an intellectual or developmental disability in the United States has access to the information, advocacy and skills they need to participate as active citizens of our democracy and active members of their community.

Timeline: 

1950s & 1960s

    • Parent groups throughout the country meet in Minneapolis, MN in 1950 to organize the Arc of the United States
    • The Arc of Pueblo was formed in 1957 and began lobbying for a special education programs. Dr. Raymond Taibi was brought in to help organize programs
    • The Arc/US becomes the first organization to put money into research on intellectual and developmental disabilities,
    • The Arc of Pueblo becomes formally established as 501 (circled C) 3 non profit in April 1962. The meetings were held at the YMCA and later moved to the City-County Health Department. The Arc of Pueblo organizes swimming lesson, Christmas parties and scout troops. In 1963 the Pilot Arts and Crafts center was established in the basement on St. Paul United Methodist church. The Center moved to 3801 Thatcher and eventually became what is now known as Pueblo Diversified Industries (PDI)
    • The Arc/US opens a Governmental Affairs Office in Washington, D.C.
    • Large numbers of people began to leave institutions as services for people with disabilities emerge within communities. The Arc of Pueblo pushes for the creation of Community Based residential programs. As a result, The community centered  boards were created. Pueblo County’s local CCB now known as Colorado Bluesky Ent.

1970s

    • The Arc of Pueblo joined parents nationally and were key players in the enactment of Public Law 94-192, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act which guarantees a free appropriate public education for all children with disabilities. In addition to influencing public education changes and establishing PDI, The Arc of Pueblo also created the College for Living to teach everyday living skills such as money management and keeping healthy.
    • The Arc advocates for the creation of the Supplemental Security Income program to provide income for persons with severe disabilities.
    • The Arc helps pass a national housing law that established the Section 8 Assisted Housing program to meet the housing needs of low income families and individuals with disabilities.
    • The Arc funded Dr. Robert Guthrie who found a treatment for phenylketonuria (PKU).
    • The Arc works with other organizations to push for the establishment of the Medicare and Medicaid programs and passage of the Developmental Disabilities Act.
    • The Arc publishes groundbreaking study about infant under-nutrition as a cause of developmental disabilities and holds a major conference on the links between poverty and developmental disabilities.
    • The Arc launches a national campaign to support research in the area of prevention and detection of preventable causes of Down Syndrome.
    • With research funding from The Arc, Kenneth Jones, M.D., defines the disorder Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

1980s

    • The Arc works with other organizations to push for the establishment of the Medicaid programs and passage of the Developmental Disabilities Act.
    • The Arc publishes a groundbreaking study about infant under-nutrition as a cause of developmental disabilities and holds a major conference on the links between poverty and developmental disabilities.
    • The Arc of Pueblo begins their guardianship program to help parents who need to petition for guardianship when their child turns 18. The Arc of Pueblo also begins to serve as legal guardians for those who do not have family members able to serve.
    • The Arc launches a national campaign to support research in the area of prevention and detection of preventable causes of Down Syndrome.
    • The Arc helps create the Civil Rights for Institutional Persons Act which gives the U.S. Justice Department statutory authority to protect the rights of institutionalized individuals.

1990s

    • The Arc helps create the Supported Employment program within the Rehabilitation Act.
    • The Arc champions the “Baby Doe” Amendment to protect newborns with disabilities from being denied life saving medical treatment.
    • The Arc presses Congress to allow home and community-based waiver options under Medicaid.
    • The Arc of Pueblo supports the negotiated deal with school authorities to amend the Education of the Handicapped Act to provide services to infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with disabilities.
    • The Arc of Pueblo becomes fiscal agent of the local Part C grant to serve infants and toddlers with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
    • The Arc is involved in creating several work incentives in the Social Security Act to allow more individuals with disabilities to work.
    • The Arc successfully pushed Congress to add disability as a protected class under the Fair Housing Act.
    • The Arc sponsors a national prevention campaign and convenes a national conference on prevention of intellectual and developmental disabilities.
    • The Arc of Pueblo demands changes in the use of restraints and other inhumane treatment of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “Carpet wraps” will no longer be used
    • The Arc is a leader among national disability groups to advocate for the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act.
    • The Arc helped create a Medicaid buy-in option for families whose income is somewhat higher than the basic eligibility ceiling.
    • The Arc of Pueblo discovers discrepancies in the implementation of the Community Service Living Waiver (CSLA). The Attorney General’s office begins an investigation. The State implements new quality controls and Statewide service rates.
    • The Arc launches a national media and advertising campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
  • The Arc participated at key points in the drafting of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,
  • The Arc of Pueblo was instrumental in changing the guardianship laws in Colorado after a developmentally disabled woman at the Pueblo Regional Center becomes pregnant. Guardians now go through a credit and background check.
  • The Arc and Arc Link launch the National FindFamily Registry, an online database that will help families reconnect with formerly institutionalized family members who they lost touch with long ago.
  • The Arc played a key role in stopping huge Medicaid cuts and worked to expand Medicaid supports for low and middle-income families.
  • The Arc won expanded provisions in the individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Higher Education Act that will help students move from public schooling to higher education, employment and adult life.
  • The Arc established the National Housing Trust Fund to provide over 50,000 new public housing vouchers for people with disabilities.
  • The Arc, in collaboration with the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, a book highlighting challenges to achieving government’s promise to people with disabilities.
  • The Arc leads a national effort denouncing the negative portrayal of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the feature film, “Tropic Thunder.” Thousands of self-advocates, disability rights activists and families joined The Arc’s Rally for Respect campaign in demonstration across the country to fight hate speech.

Arc of Pueblo

2705 Vinewood Ln
Pueblo, CO 81005

Phone. (719) 545-5845
FAX. (719) 545-5847

Email. email@arcofpueblo.org

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For people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.