Horizons to celebrate 30 years | CraigDailyPress.com

Horizons to celebrate 30 years

Brandon Johnson

When Maxine Turner moved her family to Craig in 1972, there weren’t many options for her disabled son, Bruce.

Bruce, who was 11 at the time, has Down syndrome.

“They said they didn’t have ‘that kind of people’ in Craig,” Turner said.

After attending school full time in Kansas, Bruce’s only option for schooling in Craig was a tutor from Steamboat Springs who visited him a few times a week.

Turner did some research and found 40 families that either moved from Craig or put their children in an institution because Craig didn’t have any options for disabled children.

“We had a real hard time,” Turner said. “I didn’t know what I was going to do with him.”

Turner teamed with a few other parents of children with disabilities to form the Moffat County Council for the Handicapped in 1973.

The council raised money to help children with disabilities in the area but relied heavily on funding from counties on the Front Range.

In 1975, with money from local organizations and the federal and state government, Turner helped to form Horizons Specialized Services.

Horizons was designed to help people with developmental disabilities in Northwest Colorado without sending them to other areas to receive help.

The organization now serves five counties in the region.

Horizons, which is seeking approval of a 1-mill property tax in the November election, will celebrate its 30th anniversary Friday with an ice cream social at the Luttrell Barn. The social starts at 2 p.m. and is open to the public.

Turner’s son is now 43 and living on his own.

“He has a life of his own,” Turner said.

Without Horizons, Bruce would never have the kind of independence he has, Turner said.

Bruce is one of 30 people in Horizons’ adult services program in Moffat County. The group also serves about 20 people in their children and family services program.

Horizons has helped Bruce get jobs and housing over the years, but Turner said the organization also changed people’s outlook on disabled people.

“People were just turned off by (disabled people) and wouldn’t accept them,” Turner said. “Now, there is acceptance in Craig.”

Horizons executive director Susan Mizen has been with Horizons for 25 of the organization’s 30 years.

She said one of Horizons’ strengths always has been its ability to help people on their own terms.

“We’ve always been able to meet people where they are,” Mizen said. “One thing that has remained constant over the years is our efforts and, I think, our success in providing help to people that really meets their needs. We’re able to work with each person as an individual, as a unique human being.”

Mizen invites the community to come to the social “and have some ice cream with us.”

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031 or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com.

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