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Colorado Quarterly Magazine 

"Rewriting the Myths, Redefining the Realities"

 

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CPWD Celebrates 25th Anniversary


By Homer Page

July 26 is the day that in 1990 George Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law. It is the day that in 2002 the Boulder County Center for People With Disabilities chose to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Two hundred twenty-five staff, consumers, and well-wishers gathered in the CPWD award-winning accessible garden to celebrate and remember a quarter century of growth and service.

Ruth Arnold, the only board member who has served the entire 25 years, shared her memories. David Bolin, Executive Director and a relative newcomer, congratulated the community that has sustained the Center. Tom Eldridge, Boulder City Council member and local restaurateur, served the food. A local band entertained, and a number of attendees made generous financial contributions.

CPWD has grown from a dream and five CETA one-year positions to over 50 employees and a $1.8 million budget. Its growth points to a nationwide phenomena. Community-based, peer directed organizations that emphasize advocacy on behalf of persons with disabilities are succeeding, and a strong experienced network of agencies committed to social change has emerged. Elsewhere in this issue we discuss the Independent Living Center in Larimer County that is nearing its 25th anniversary. The Atlantis Community has been in existence for more than 25 years. This story is now being repeated across the nation.

The future for people with disabilities is unclear. The current condition of the economy and the mood of the public do not promise a great deal of progress. Without a strong advocacy effort the future may be bleak. However, the emergence of an independent living movement based in community organizations, such as CPWD, can challenge the national mood and lead the way to a more hopeful future. We can only support these fine organizations and applaud their endurance and tough idealism.

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Copyright 2002 A&H Publishing Corporation