– Executive Director
Heidi Haines joined RMDSA as the Executive Director in 2023. Heidi came to RMDSA from The Arc, where she previously served as the Executive Director of The Arc Tennessee and Director of Advocacy at The Arc of Colorado. Heidi also serves as an advisor to Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE), the National self-advocacy organization for people with developmental disabilities, where she advises the legislative committee.
Heidi holds a B.S. in Human Services from Colorado State University and has completed graduate coursework toward a Master of Arts in Disability Studies from CUNY. Heidi is a graduate of the National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities at the University of Delaware Advanced Leadership Institute, the William & Mary Law Institute of Special Education Advocacy, and the Leadership Institute for Cultural Diversity and Cultural and Linguistic Competence at Georgetown University. She has also been a technology navigation fellow for The Arc of The United States.
Heidi is overjoyed to be on the team at RMDSA. She is eager to work towards strengthening and expanding programs that benefit people with Down syndrome, their families, friends, and communities in Colorado.
– Family Programs Manager & Sexuality Educator
Meg was Secretary for the RMDSA Board of Directors until she came onboard with RMDSA as staff in February of 2016. She has a business degree from Western International University, and before signing on as our Family Programs Manager, she ran her own insurance agency for seven years. Meg has two children: Madison and Austin. When Meg and her husband first learned that Austin has Down syndrome, she immediately signed on as a First Call and office volunteer for RMDSA.
As Family Program Manager, Meg oversees our First Call program; serving as the primary point of contact for new and expecting families.
She provides support and resources for families from the initial diagnosis, well through adulthood. Meg trains our First Call volunteers to be another resource and outlet for new parents.
Meg joins families at the hospital, whether it is for children undergoing open-heart surgery or those enduring extended stays. In 2018 Meg became a trained Disability Sexuality Educator to expand the support and resources RMDSA offers for adolescents and adults with Down syndrome
– Spanish Family Coordinator
Laura is a mother of two children: Jorge and Guadalupe. When Laura and her husband first learned that Jorge has Down syndrome at-birth, they were grateful for how the hospital responded and for the RMDSA New Parent Packet. She has seen the need for fluent Spanish speakers and is ready to continue the work Belen has started. Laura and her family have been part of our community group Cromosoma del Amor for the last decade.
Laura is the primary point of contact for new and expectant families that are Spanish-speaking. She also helps connect families who are new to the area to Spanish resources and meets with families whose children have extended stays in metro area hospitals. Laura also serves as the group leader for Cromosoma del Amor, a group she holds near and dear to her heart. Laura understands the importance of bringing together the Spanish-speaking Down syndrome community.
– Education Program Manager
Ben is joining RMDSA as the new Education Program Manager. He will be the primary point of contact for all of our education services including IEP consultations, Higher Visions for Education programs, as well as expanding education outcomes for families with Down Syndrome.
Ben has worked in the disability community for over four years and is passionate about providing students, families and schools with the right tools to make sure students with Down Syndrome thrive in their educational environment. Before joining RMDSA, Ben worked as Project Manager for the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association (USA) and as Field Coordinator for All Hands & Hearts. Ben holds a B.S. in Marketing and Multinational Business from Florida State University and a Master’s of Public Health from the University of Edinburgh.
– Office Manager
Alli Gelwick joined RMDSA in February 2021 on a temporary basis, doing work as the office manager, events and volunteers coordinator, as well as providing educational support. She transitioned to the full time office manager position in March 2022. Alli earned her B.A. in History and Business Administration at Colorado State University in the Fall of 2019.
Throughout her time at RMDSA, she has seen the positive impact made in the lives of those who have reached out to RMDSA, and is looking forward to continuing working with RMDSA staff and families.
– Office Assistant
Jason Sulewski is the self-advocate office assistant at Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Association, and started working in the office in May 2022. He is originally from Michigan, and graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in Detroit, MI, and earned his Outstanding Accomplishment Award through AFJROTC at Churchill High School in Livonia, MI.
Jason is a hardworking member of the staff at RMDSA and assists in daily tasks around the office, works RMDSA events, and is even a member of the RMDSA Young Professionals Board outside of working hours! He has many hobbies in his free time, including skiing, bowling, weight lifting, watching all his favorite sports teams, DJing, and attending day program activities.
Western Slope Office
– Western Slope Program Coordinator
Alicia Shideler is a Colorado Western Slope Native and is the RMDSA Western Slope Program Coordinator. She graduated from Brigham Young University in Linguistics. Before RMDSA Alicia has experience as an office manager, running a home business, and volunteering in her local church and community.
Alicia believes her greatest achievement is her family complete with four kids; Roman, Madden, Sydney and Hazen. Having an aunt with special needs and a son, Hazen, with Down syndrome her life easily led to helping self-advocates and their families with a heartfelt desire to make their lives better.
Alicia helps with the First Call program, provides support and resources to families, and helps with local group organization. She looks forward to helping the Western Slope community improve their sense of community and friendship.
– Western Slope Program Coordinator
Stephanie started with RMDSA as a community group leader on the Western Slope in 2015, when her youngest son with Down syndrome was born. Stephanie started looking for a community of others who had children with Down syndrome, as well as support and services in the area, and started volunteering her time for RMDSA. With the growth of families in need on the Western Slope, Stephanie officially joined the RMDSA staff and became a Western Slope Coordinator in 2017. She organizes community group events, plans the Holiday party, and the annual Western Slope Step Up for Down Syndrome walk every year.
Stephanie enjoys being a part of the RMDSA staff in providing needed support and information on the Western Slope. She loves being able to help in the journey that each family is lucky enough to embark on, and wants them to feel that there is always someone there to listen and help.
– HVE Instructor
Stephanie Lauchmen (previously Levine) serves as the Athlete Leadership and Family Services Manager for Special Olympics Colorado and has been with them for more than two years now. She is very excited to join the Higher Visions family officially as she has been a long time sub and volunteer since 2014 when she served as RMDSA’s YPB president.
Stephanie has worked with the IDD community for the majority of her life and was previously a high school special education teacher in Commerce City, Colorado and reading and math interventionist at the Down Syndrome Resource Foundation in BC, Canada. In her spare time she enjoys all of the outdoor perks of living in Colorado; camping, hiking, snowboarding, cooking, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
– HVE Instructor – MA, LPC.
Scott specializes in education and cognitive behavioral therapy for people with intellectual disabilities through an active psychotherapy practice. Scott leads groups and classes on a variety of topics including social skills, relationships and sexuality, and anger management. He also facilitates staff trainings related to mental health issues in people with intellectual disabilities.
Scott co-leads the Higher Visions for Education program. He has a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Northern Colorado and he is on the Human Rights Committee for Adams County.
– HVE Instructor – M.Ed
Linda has been working in the education field for nearly 30 years. She worked as an Early Intervention Coordinator and Playgroup Director at The Resource Exchange as well as a Vocational Instructor for adults with disabilities with the UCCS Self-Determination Project while completing her graduate work. Linda has worked as a preschool teacher, special education teacher for students 5-21 years, and transition coordinator in Colorado Springs school districts. Later, Linda joined the Colorado Department of Education as a Secondary Transition Specialist then Supervisor for the Secondary Transition and Results Driven Accountability Team.
Her work encompassed statewide IEP monitoring and special education training in addition to working with national partners to lead federal efforts in special education practices and policies. Linda has an undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Great Falls, Montana, as well as a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Masters in Special Education from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Linda and her husband Robert reside in Black Forest, Colorado and have two sons and two granddaughters.
– HVE Instructor
Sara has a background in elementary education and disability services for higher education. Sara received her Bachelors in Sociology and Elementary Education from the University of Northern Colorado and her Masters in Higher Education from Saint Louis University. She has a passion for teaching, working with students, and the outdoors. Sara currently serves as the Director for Accessibility Resources at Colorado College. She began teaching the Higher Visions for Education course at Colorado College in Colorado Springs in the fall of 2019. She loves connecting with the students and building relationships between current CC students and HVE students.