Officers (2019 – 2021)
The Executive Officers are listed by position
Joan LaBelle, Chair
Joan LaBelle is the Executive Director of Disabled Resource Services (DRS), one of nine Centers for Independent Living (CILs) in Colorado. DRS provides services to people with disabilities in Larimer and Jackson Counties. Joan has lived with her disability since the age of five. She credits her advocacy skills to her mother, who was an advocate extraordinaire… way before we knew what that was… okay, not way before. It was her mother that taught her to let nothing stand in the way of her dreams and to help others achieve their dreams. She has more than 35 years (both as a youth and an adult) within the disability movement. Joan has been involved with CILs across the country. In particular, she has focused on oversight and expansions of programs, which included ensuring quality assurance and meeting regulations for a CIL from a variety of funding sources. She has been active on SILCs across the country, serving on several committees. In Colorado she is active on SILC committees such as the SPIL Committee, the 501c3 Committee, and most recently, the Membership Committee. She has served on the Strategic Planning Committee and the Legislative Committee. Nationally, Joan has served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living. She has also served on a variety of committees for the National Council on Independent Living. Most recently she has been a reviewer for the Administration on Community Living.
Ty Smith is a Colorado native and long-time peer (person with a disability), advocate, specializing in the mental health system, quality of life measures, and trauma informed care. He created and implemented Youth Voice, a cross-disability coalition that focused on creating youth subject matter experts, providing training for effective policy and advocacy activities, and providing on-going supports to encourage community engagement. At age 36, Ty has thirteen years as a state and federal public health policymaker and eight years as a peer provider in the Colorado behavioral health system, and is Bachelor of Science Candidate, Administering Nonprofits for Youth. He is currently the Vise-Chair of Colorado Statewide Independent Living Council (CSILC) and Chair of the CSILC Policy Committee, a member of Securing Employment and Economic Keys to Stability (SEEKS) Chair of the Peer Subcommittee for SEEKS, member of Behavioral Health Planning and Advisory Council (BHPAC), member of Mental Health Disorders in the Criminal & Juvenile Justice System Task Force (MHDCJS), and member of Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) and sits on numerous committees.
Olivia Tonti, Secretary
A Colorado native, Olivia has completed her BS in Chemical and Biological Engineering and is now a Biomedical Engineering graduate student. During her tenure on the SILC, Olivia hopes to advocate for and develop meaningful public policy and contribute to the Statewide Plan for Independent Living (SPIL). In her spare time, Olivia enjoys reading, writing, and hiking with her service dog, VSEPR (‘Vesper’).
Council Members Listed in Alphabetical Order
Steve Heidenreich was a world class athlete setting many running records with aspirations to make the 1976 United States Olympic team when he had a near fatal hit-and-run accident while training. Following the accident, the neurosurgeon gave him a five percent chance of surviving with little hope of ever recovering beyond a vegetative state. In spite of these poor odds, he earned a Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Health Administration, and Master of Arts in Education specializing in Special Education. Currently Steve travels the country sharing his miraculous, inspirational story with future Olympians, college and high school students, athletes and businesses. He presents Yoga for Runners workshops and teaches yoga to traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress survivors. Steve is in his second term on SILC and currently serves on the Youth Committee, Chairs the Finance Committee, and Co-Chairs the Communications and Media Committee. In addition, Steve represents SILC on Colorado’s State Rehabilitation Council (SRC).
Charlotte is passionate about making a positive difference in other’s lives. She received a Bachelor’s in Rehabilitation Counseling and Psychology from the University of Northern Colorado. Her Master’s is in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Colorado at Denver. Professionally, she has been a counselor and educator for 35 years. Her career began at Red Rocks Community College in the Office of Disabilities Services. She also enjoyed employment in the Women’s Center, and as an instructional assistant in a remedial lab teaching English, Math, Spelling and pre-GED instruction. During this tenure, her biggest success was creating Empathy training for staff and faculty working with students with disabilities. She also created learning seminars such as: Learning Styles, Test Anxiety, and Test Taking Techniques. Stress management was another popular seminar she developed and taught. Her employment at Arapahoe Community College was as a Vocational Assessment Specialist helping students with learning disabilities create realistic career goals. In 2005, she was hired at Connections for Independent Living as a coordinator of Multiple Sclerosis Services and also an Independent Living Specialist. This employment began her involvement in the independent living movement, an exciting change from the academic world. Another new beginning was teaching Psychology at Aims Junior College in Greeley. This was a big breakthrough as an adjunct faculty teaching in a classroom setting. It was very rewarding interacting and learning with the students. From 1985-1991, she was a member of the Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council’s (CDDC) planning group. She enjoyed this involvement and is grateful again for the exclusive appointment to another state board. She presently serves on the Public Policy and Executive Committees and Chairs the Membership Committee. Her special interests are: nature, music, sailing, and travel.
Jennifer Scilacci – (Non-voting Member)
Jennifer is most fulfilled when helping people to grow professionally. Having worked in a full variety of roles in the disability employment field since 1996, she has the vision and ability to nurture relationships with both individuals, community partners and employers to lead to long term success.Jennifer is proud to work for CO DVR where she has been employed since 2000. Over the past years, she worked as a counselor in the Steamboat and surrounding mountain areas, a Supervisor for the Mountain District, and a Regional Manager. She currently manages the Self-Employment, Supported Employment and the Business Outreach Programs for DVR. She serves on the SILC and the Rural Consortium Workforce Boards. She is lucky enough to live in Steamboat Springs with her husband and dog, thoroughly enjoying this mountain environment with regular hiking, camping, paddle boarding and anything else that the day may bring.
Bill Wood moved to Colorado in the fall of 2015, after living in Alaska for over 40 years. While in Alaska, Bill owned a management consultant firm that provided human resource, strategic planning, and organizational development consulting and training services to clients throughout Alaska & the Pacific Northwest. Many of his clients were organizations that provided services to people with disabilities.Following a 2001 automobile accident, Bill had to close his consulting practice. Shortly thereafter he was hired as Director of Human Resources by Access Alaska, a very large Center for Independent Living based in Anchorage.“Although I had relatives with various disabilities, and a mom who for years worked with children who had developmental disabilities, until my accident I never really knew or understood the emotional, physical, and mental challenges people with disabilities had to deal with. Now I both know AND understand we must individually and collectively find the courage, patience, and commitment to deal with personal and political prejudice while trying to handle basic activities of daily living.” Bill is currently the SILC Chairman of the Youth Committee. He and his wife Kathy live in New Castle.
Peter J. Pike, Program Manager
Office of Independent Living Services, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Peter Pike serves as the Program Manager of the Office of Independent Living Services. The Office of Independent Living Services was established as a new unit within Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation enacted by SB16-093. The Office of Independent Living Services (Office) oversees and manages the State’s contracts with the nine Centers for Independent Living (CILs) also called Independent Living Centers. The Office of Independent Living Services provides staff to the Colorado SILC, partners in the State Plan for Independent Living, and serves as the fiscal sponsor. Additionally, the Office works to
- Increase the visibility and understanding of the core services delivered by the Centers for Independent Living and Colorado SILC;
- Increase partnerships among Federal agencies; State agencies; Advisory Councils; community-based service system networks; and, Centers for Independent Living;
- Collaboratively partner with the Centers for Independent Living and Colorado SILC to build capacities.