Horizon’s Granby office will serve developmentally challenged in five-county area | SkyHiNews.com

Horizon’s Granby office will serve developmentally challenged in five-county area

Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News
ALL | Sky-Hi Daily News

Balloons were tied to the railing of Granby’s historic log building welcoming families benefited by Horizons ” northwest Colorado’s service to the developmentally disabled.

And next to the building, a mature evergreen is poised to take part in next winter’s “Points of Light Campaign,” during which donations to the nonprofit serve to light up a Christmas tree and help countless families who face challenges others may never understand.

Horizons, a five-county service provider, now has its official home in Granby, the agency’s first store-front in the 33 years it has served area clients.

Jarad Gillette, 19, whose parents found out he was autistic at 11 months, checked out Horizon’s new digs Wednesday with mom Pam.

A lending library of toys on the east wall, installed for children who face developmental delays, quickly became a popular attraction among youngsters in attendance to Horizon’s open house.

Jarad found a brightly colored microphone that amplified his voice, willingly entertaining Horizons therapists and coordinators.

“Jarad is wonderful,” said his mother. “And he’s done wonders.”

Since Jarad’s family moved to Grand County in 1998, Horizons and Winter Park’s National Sports Center for the Disabled have been instrumental in his life, Pam said.

Horizons aided Pam and Jarad with family support from the get-go, and now that Jarad is transitioning to adulthood, the newly acquired-building’s life-skills center on the lower level can serve to help him learn necessary living skills that can lead to greater independence.

Plans for a washer and dryer installation and a kitchen are in place to further students’ self-reliance, said Horizons’ Amy Ibarra, director of service coordination.

Such a program would be the only one in Grand County, barring permanent funding from the state through the Department of Human Services.

The new Horizons office as a whole will serve as a home base for play groups, programs for young adults and the toy lending library, said Grand County’s Service Coordinator Roberta Hovermale. Before moving into the log structure, once the home of the Granby Police Department, Hovermale ran Horizons programs out of her own home.

The mother of three became involved with Horizons when her twin sons Phillip and Robert were born premature. “Horizons made such a big difference in their lives,” Hovermale said.

She hopes the new office location, with a sign and a greater presence, reaches out to the community and serves to “bring more awareness for what we do,” she said.

Horizons serves about 40 children in Grand County, from early intervention, to programs for young adults.

Therapists will continue to serve clients in the environment of their own homes, but the office is a place where Horizons can expand its availability.

The toy lending library, once located in a local school where classroom space has since become too precious to spare, enables families to find toys that aid in children’s developmental learning.

Therapeutically, certain toys can help with their motor skills to help them “catch up,” said one of three Horizons Granby therapists, Shay Markle.

The library allows for families’ use of toys, saving them the investment toward something that may or may not be embraced during financially difficult times. For example, children with visual or hearing deficits may benefit from certain toys over others, and it takes trial uses of such objects to see what’s appropriate.

“A lot of times, parents can’t buy everything that the kids nee,” said Kay Borvansky, resource development coordinator of Horizons, Steamboat.

With a donation from the Fraser Valley Lions Club, the local Horizons was able to replace the carpet in the log building to make the space more child-friendly. Since Horizons workers are often on home visits, families are encouraged to call first, 887-1141, if they plan to visit the new office, an office sure to become a beacon of light to many.

“Special-needs kids only know how to love,” Pam said, “they don’t know how to hate. They don’t know how to say, ‘I don’t like you,’ they only love you.”

” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail tbina@grandcountynews.com.

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