Emily Waldo Ambassador Spotlight Blog

Emily is an Ambassador currently working at the Green Mountain location in Lakewood. She recently moved to this new store from the Jewell location, where she worked for about two years. At arc Emily takes care of ragouts and putting items away that have been taken off the shelves.

Emily loves to be a part of arc, not only for the mission and good work she does but also because of all her fellow workmates. She loves being at this new location because she gets to meet new coworkers and customers, and it’s a chance for her to get closer to a whole new group of people.

When Emily isn’t at work she is either taking arc University classes and trips, hanging with her mom, or spending times with animals. Her favorite activity is to go to the zoo and see the animals, especially the giraffes. On a lucky day she might actually be able to feed one right out of her hand! Her passion for the zoo began when she went there with an arc University group. But she has made sure to steer clear of snakes and roly polies because they are the only animals she is not a fan of (and who can blame her!).

Emily also loves to ride horses or to have spa days with her mom.

On reflecting on being a featured Ambassador on Denver7, Emily said: “It was truly amazing; I still feel so special.”


arc Ambassador Civitan Club Raise Awareness for Those People Living with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Ribbons have long been used as a way to raise public consciousness for a cause. This is true for those working for our community. Over the years, disability awareness has evolved from simply bringing knowledge to also include a focus on advocacy for inclusion and on making people aware of local and national resources and activities.


At the last get-together, the arc Ambassador Civitan Club made over 200 maroon ribbons to help raise awareness for those people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Ambassadors will hand them out to family, friends, and coworkers whenever they have the opportunity.

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arc Ambassador and club artist, Jeff Alexander, made a very special banner for our Civitan Club. He did a terrific job and we are proud and grateful for the time Jeff took to create something so wonderful.

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After President Michelle Knight opened up the meeting and we recited the Civitan Creed, club secretary Elnaz Sobhi, reviewed the minutes from our last meeting. We learned that our club was featured in the Civitan International magazine. What a proud moment for us and a reminder of our mission to build good citizenship and to reach out in service to others.

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Ambassador Spotlight: Kingahnah

Kingahnah has been working at the arc Centennial store ever since the doors opened. He has been a valued part of the arc team doing whatever task is asked of him throughout a shift. He often works stocking shoes, running racks, and stocking shelves on the floor. Like many other Ambassadors, Kingahnah’s favorite part of the job is the customers that he gets to meet and help on a daily basis. He also enjoys the company of his coworkers and having the pleasure to work with such motivated and kind people.

Kingahnah and his coworker Elnaz were both just interviewed by a local TV station where they were recognized for all of the hard work they have done for arc and their community. Although Kingahnah works hard for arc, he also spends much of his spare time working on his writing and listening and creating music.

Kingahnah is currently working on a book called, The Box, a story about a young female lead rescuing a gentleman from a cult that is trying to recruit him. He enjoys writing suspenseful stories and poetry that take his imagination to crazy new places. While he isn’t writing, Kingahnah is practicing his DJ skills with his turntables. His passion for music started with hip-hop, jazz, and rock, but he has grown to love all different kinds of music.

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Ambassador Spotlight: Elnaz

Elnaz works closely with fellow Ambassador, Kingahnah, at the Centennial arc store. She has also been working at arc since the store opened in 2015. Elnaz was recently interviewed by the local TV station in a special segment for Mothers’ Day.

Elnaz works in the store stocking and organizing shelves, particularly in the kids’ section, but she will always help out wherever she is needed. Elnaz believes that work and life are both great adventures that have opened up wonderful opportunities and allowed her to meet great coworkers and customers.

Elnaz is a very kind-hearted and caring person who wants to make sure everyone is happy and she will do her part to make that happen.

Customer service is the #1 goal and priority for me.”

 When she is not spreading happiness throughout the Centennial store, Elnaz is often found in the bowling alley. She has won two awards in Colorado for Special Olympics bowling. Her highest competing score was 1,699 points in three games to earn her a first place medal. Although they have taken bowling out of the Special Olympics in Colorado, she still enjoys playing with her friends and family whenever she can.

“The things that arc gives us make us smile. They have given us many great opportunities.”- Elnaz

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Golfing with a Purpose 2014 Recap

arc Thrift


On August 11th, arc Thrift Stores held it’s 4th annual “Golfing with a Purpose” Charity Tournament Fundraiser at the beautiful, scenic, and well-manicured Red Rocks Country Club in Morrison, Colorado.  In attendance, were over 150 supporters of arc and its mission to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Among them were 120 golfers participating in the tournament, 25 corporate sponsors supporting the event, and dozens of volunteers.

It was a perfect day for golf, and our players enjoyed on-course contests like a Long Marshmallow Drive, a Buy a Drive from a Champion Long-Driver who hit the ball 450+ yards for the teams, and Hole-in-One challenges worth cash and prizes.  Arc Ambassadors Garnons and Ryan showed off their stellar putting skills on the 9th green.  We had a wide variety of raffle and auction prizes, uniquely peppered with those one-of-a-kind finds we discover at our stores.

Special thanks to everyone who participated in this great event, and extra special thanks to our Platinum level sponsors:  Prime Trailer Leasing, and Colorado Storage Systems, and our Title Sponsor OrthoColorado Hospital.  This event grows in support and FUN every year, and we can’t wait to out-do ourselves again next year!


Written by Ethan “The Razz” Raczka.

A Visit Down Home

Sometimes this life is unpredictable and presents us with unexpected challenges. We believe that we are headed in one direction and, before we know it, something or, in the case of Judy and Jerry Horton someone arrives on the scene and our lives are changed forever. Judy and Jerry were reflecting on the onset of their “empty nest” years when Judy found out she was pregnant. Several months later Kelly Page Horton arrived. She was a healthy, beautiful baby with Down Syndrome.

Since Judy and Jerry spent most of their working years at colleges and universities, they were very adept at research. So the search began for answers. The same questions that all parents of children with Down Syndrome face: she’ll be safe and secure at home, but what will she do when she grows up? What about friends? Education? Work? How can we meet all of her needs? Who will pay for her care?
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This was the beginning of a remarkable journey for the Horton’s and the birth of the Down Home Ranch. They decided, with the help of friends, clergy and the community, to build a working farm and ranch for people with disabilities. This would be a place of love and opportunity, the best hope for Kelly’s future life. They envisioned a place where residents could enjoy
freedom to study, visit friends, learn, train and join in a variety of activities.

Down Home Ranch is a residential facility and working farm and ranch. Forty adults and children live year round on the ranch caring for 330 beautiful forested acres of Post Oak Savannah in Central Texas.  The 32 Ranchers and 30 staff and family members tend animals, raise food and celebrate the seasons of life together. Although the ranch has become the old-fashioned community that was always envisioned since the very beginning, it is not an isolated community. Residents are welcomed into the surrounding communities and cultures.

There is room for more! Residency is open to persons who: are at least 18 or older and have finished high school; desire to live on a real working Texas ranch; are able to benefit from the residential social, educational and vocational programs offered by Down Home Ranch; and wish to live in close proximity to friends and co-workers on the Ranch. If you are interested in finding out more about residency options and opportunities, check out the web site at www.downhomeranch.org.
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When I visited Down Home Ranch, I found the friendships and camaraderie to be overwhelming. The spirit of harmony is amazing. Each camper or resident is a precious individual. Their life choices are respected and honored. There is a remarkable sense of belonging and succeeding. Ranchers may, at some point, decide to move from the ranch and strike out on their own in a nearby community. Perhaps they’ll marry or receive more training and education. With the strong friendships that have been established at Down Home Ranch, horizons are expanded through shared work, play and worship. I found myself bonding immediately with residents and family members. Down Home Ranch was started in a tent and is now a thriving community that has been created for people with Down Syndrome and other developmental disabilities. It is a place where lives are changed. It is a place of complete acceptance where our precious children can develop into valued independent adults. It is Down Home Ranch.

By, Lloyd Lewis
President/CEO, Arc Thrift Stores

arc University Awards 94 Graduates with Diplomas


In grand style before an audience of cheering families and friends, 94 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities proudly accepted their college diplomas Wednesday evening from Arc University. Arc University, formed in 2012, is the vision of the management team at Arc Thrift Stores of Colorado. Through a $100,000.00 grant from The Daniel’s Fund, Arc developed “Arc U” to provide an education in life skills for team members with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  The 94 graduates received a variety of degrees including Certificates of Participation and Doctorate Degrees.

Arc University is a 12-month program, which consists of monthly sessions covering various topics from financial literacy, music appreciation, pet care, transportation mobility and food preparation. The program is managed much like a university including lecturers, course work, study guides and exams.  “The Arc University program allows individuals in the developmental disability community to achieve what so many of us take for granted,” stated Lloyd Lewis President/CEO, Arc Thrift Stores. “They achieve a sense of independence and accomplishment. With the skills learned, they increase their self esteem allowing them to effectively and actively participate in the Colorado community.”

At age 60, class Valedictorian, Dennis Schwed, addressed his graduating class with the following advice, “Do the best you can with what you have and enjoy life to the fullest.”

Radio talk show host Angie Austin delivered the commencement speech. Former First Lady of Colorado and Arc Thrift Stores Community Relations Director Frances Owens, along with Penfield Tate, Faye Tate, Cleo Parker Robinson, Tamra Ward,Stephen Burg, Lynne Valencia and Patti Dennis were also in attendance.