The mission of the Denver Commission for People with Disabilities (DCPD) is to promote and enhance equality for people with disabilities through empowerment, advocacy, and education by working with community members, as well as City and County of Denver officials and employees who have the ability to affect change.
To build public awareness of disability issues by highlighting the positive benefits of recreation and the intrinsic benefits of inclusive sports for people of all abilities
Continue to grow the resource portal developed in 2018 containing information that needs updating and marketing.
Build public awareness of disability issues by focusing on what inclusion means and highlighting the efforts of the City and County of Denver to support people with disabilities.
NOTE: Due to COVID-19 all commission meetings will be held via teleconference until further notice. All commission meetings are open to the public.
The Commission for People with Disabilities meets the first Tuesday of every month from 5:30pm to 7pm.
Virtual Meeting Information:
Meeting ID: 834 2711 7215
Wade Balmer joined the commission to help people with disabilities feel connected and find community.
Wade worked for the Arthritis Foundation for 15 years. His work included telling the stories of those affected by arthritis, medical professionals, and volunteers through marketing and communications projects. He also focused on advocacy work and led educational summits, self-help courses, and regional and national conferences. Wade served as the director of Camp JRA for 10 years, a week-long adaptive residential summer camp for children with arthritis and other related diseases such as lupus, ankylosing spondylitis, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, and dermatomyositis. Wade now serves as a public information officer for the City and County of Denver.
Wade was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called dermatomyositis when he was five years old, which causes muscle weakness and inflammation and impacted many aspects of his life. Wade believes that the key to managing his health is being constantly curious and regularly living outside his comfort zone to find new ways to be active and healthy. He is passionate about adaptive recreation programs for people with disabilities.
Julie is an accomplished patent and intellectual property attorney who focuses on providing creative and balanced legal advice to entrepreneurs and start-ups. Prior to her current private practice, Julie was the Chief Patent Counsel with Roche Pharmaceuticals, Chief IP Counsel with BaroFold, Inc., and Special Counsel with the law firm of Faegre & Benson in Denver. Before her legal career, Julie spent time at Norden Laboratories and National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine.
At the age of 25, Julie had a catastrophic equine accident that opened her eyes to, among other things, mortality, community service, and public perception. Julie is passionate about causes related to disabilities, women, and animal welfare. To that end, she currently sits on several advisory boards, volunteers, and mentors.
Shannon Callahan joined the commission to help guide the community of Denver to be more inclusive with of everyone. The deaf community has been and will continue to be an integral part of Denver.
Callahan hopes to bring new voices to the table through his work with the commission. He offers a unique experience and knowledge and although it may sound cheesy he believes things might take a surprising turn when new views are being for the betterment of society.
Shannon enjoys the outdoors, playing with his dog, trying new things, reading too many books, and enjoying food.
Natasha Gardner is an award-winning writer and editor. She has more than a decade of experience covering civic journalism topics, including disability rights. Gardner joined the commission in 2020 because she is passionate about advocating for people with disabilities.
For the last 28 years Oliver has lived with a C4 spinal cord injury. During these nearly three decades, he has continued to educate himself and others, sharing his experiences and knowledge with the Denver community and beyond in the service of disability awareness and advocacy.
Oliver earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Southern Colorado. He now serves on the Board of Directors for the Chanda Plan Foundation, a non-profit that provides integrative therapies for persons with neurological disorders. Oliver is also a patient advocate for Denver Health’s new Mobility Disability Clinic.
Oliver enjoys spending time walking his dog, practicing yoga, and being a member of the Rolling Rapids power wheelchair soccer team.
Lacey is a Denver native, a small business owner, a 2016 Paralympian and American Record Holder. She has a passion for sports after being an athlete at the University of Denver and being on the USA National Paralympic Track and Field Team. She is a national public speaker, hosts podcasts and videos web series including Microsoft's In Culture, and her own show called Picked Last in Gym Class. Her life through athletics has paved the way of disability advocacy on an international level and she believes making change should start in our own backyards.
Nancy Palomares has a B.A. in Psychology from CU Denver. Her work experience includes over 15 years in counseling, therapy, advocacy, case management, and family support services. She has worked in domestic violence, mental health, and human service fields.
Palomares joined the commission to provide support and resources to monolingual Spanish speaking persons with disabilities and/or their family members in hopes to improve their quality of life. She hopes to offer her experience as a bicultural and bilingual Spanish speaking person with work experience in advocacy, counseling and case management to the commission and the community.
To satisfy her creative side, Nancy does a variety of arts and crafts including drawing. She also enjoys spending time with family, attending museum exhibitions, shopping, and watching science fiction and horror movies.
Michael Pearl, a person living with disabilities, is a full-time volunteer working independent of agencies to assist individuals who require assistance with medical care navigation. In addition, Michael is a board member of the Colorado HIV Alliance for Prevention, Treatment and Care as well as a board member of the Colorado HIV and AIDS Prevention Grant Program.
Michael has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Loyola Marymount University. In addition, he has a Master of Business Administration and a Masters of Telecommunication from the University of Denver
Carol was officially appointed to the Commission in January 2018. Carol is a native of Denver and she currently works as the ADA Compliance Specialist for the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, CO.
Carol has a master’s degree in Health Services Administration. Her background consists of working in various sectors of health/health care. Her professional and volunteer work has been driven by her interest to improve health and educational equity in underserved communities.
When Carol is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, international travel, going to the movies, playing board games, and listening to audio books.
Brandon M. Selinsky is an attorney and director with Whitcomb, Selinsky, McAuliffe, PC. His areas of focus include Social Security disability, veterans law, and trademark/copyright law.
Selinsky joined the commission in January of 2018 in the hopes of helping the commission to improve the city for people with disabilities in new and impactful ways and, more than anything else, to leave the city much better than we found it.
Outside of work and the commission, Brandon enjoys playing with his funny, happy kids and if they aren’t around, brewing beer.
Joanne Stranahan was officially appointed to the Commission in January 2020. Joanne is a St. Louis native and has lived in Denver for the past 15 yrs. She currently works for Comcast in the DTC area.
Joanne has a master’s degree in Business Management with a minor in HR. She is a board member of an employee resource group called MyAbilities.
During her spare time she enjoys listening to audio books, gardening, spending time with family and trying new recipes.
Tara Wolfe is a disabled theater artist, advocate, and writer from Colorado. She is the Producing Artistic Director of Kinship Theater in Denver, and is devoted to increasing visibility and access for folx with disabilities, especially in artistic spaces. A certified advocate with the Colorado-Cross Disability Coalition, Tara's primary focus is individuals with invisible disabilities. When not fighting the good fight, she can be found having fabulous misadventures with her service dog Bitta and beloved partner Sebastian.
This resource guide provides the community with a list of agencies, a summary of the services provided by the agency, and their contact information. The resources are sorted by categories for ease of use.
For questions, comments, or more information please contact:
Dr. Aisha Rousseau, DCPD Liaison
Are you interested in joining the Commission For People With Disabilities?
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Outside Denver Call 720-913-1311
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