Despite thunder and rain, the giant, heaped shrimp-boil pans arrived as planned from the kitchen for the 10th annual Cheyenne Village fundraiser.

It was moved last minute away from the beach and lake, up to the interior of Cheyenne Mountain Resort on Aug. 2, and the traditional dessert s’mores were toasted around the deck fire pits when skies cleared.

The shrimp boil is a time for fun, Colorado Springs Conservatory jazz music and plentiful food as Cheyenne Village updates families and supporters of those adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. For executive director Ann Turner there was an exciting positive about three longtime residents, Larry, Jamey and John, who were in the midst of moving to Turnberry, their own shared home. They are among the 29% served who have been with Cheyenne Village for approximately 20 years or even longer.

New homes and apartments like theirs will be in four neighborhoods and allow residents to live independently with support from staff. There is an unmet need, said Turner, because 2,900 in Colorado are waiting for services, approximately 500 in the Colorado Springs area.

Sara Qualls, known for her work training caregivers, touched hearts as she described her son, who she adopted out of foster care in 2000. At age 4 he was funny and loved sports, she said. By middle and high school he was having problems remembering and understanding the plays in sports. He had problems learning, was self medicating and paranoia was taking over. “I was a team of one dealing with this,” she said. “It was one of the loneliest times in my life.”

Her son was arrested after neighbors turned him in for throwing rocks at their car. In court, he was “in front of a judge he could not understand with a lawyer he could not understand.” Qualls was tearful describing that she reached out for help and people from The Resource Exchange and two staff from Cheyenne Village were in court with them. Now he’s a resident and, says his mother, “a challenging client.” Her fear had been that when she is older and gone his best advocate would be gone, but now he has a team.

“Our best work is done in partnership with our families,” Turner said.

Contact the writer: 636-0374

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