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Center for Autism

The Equicizer - Empowering Riders, Transforming Lives 

A remarkable addition at Bits of Freedom therapeutic riding services is the Equicizer, affectionately called “Ray.” “Ray” does not replace out stabled horses: Taxi, Clown or Gracie, but enhances our therapies. The Equicizer has captured our imagination and ignited our mission

with renewed fervor.

Ray is a masterpiece of craftsmanship: a spring-load marvel that recreates the sensation of riding a real horse. The mechanism, ingeniously balanced, mimics the movements of a galloping horse, offering riders an authentic experience.

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“Ray” steps in when inclement weather stalls outdoor activities or horse availability becomes a hurdle. It’s more than an exercise device; it’s a bridge that allows riders to maintain and enhance their motor skills year-round. It also enhances our clients control during instructional activities. For newcomers, Ray offers a gentle introduction to the art of riding, fostering confidence and familiarity before they take the reins of a real horse.

Ray’s temporary home is with Bits of Freedom. However, it’s important to acknowledge that Ray’s “heart” usually resides at Soaring Eagles Center for Autism.

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(P.S. All riders welcome.)


by Katrina Dubbel

   Where do I begin to describe this incredible seven-year-old of mine. Aiden is one of the happiest kids you will ever meet. He wakes up with a smile and has a laugh that is contagious. He is our

boy genius.

   He never ceases to amaze us on how quickly he picks up new things. He learned the ABC’s when he was three and has since taught himself addition and subtraction. Aiden enjoys

cooking, taking pictures, mystery packs and spending time with family.

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    Aidan was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Developmental disorder of Speech and Language in 2020.

    We are so proud of Aidan and how far he has come with his communication and social skills. He enjoys going to school. He has friended many classmates and staff. He does half days at school and spends his afternoons at Soaring Eagles, which he looks forward to during the week. He has made real connections with some of the kids and it’s so good to see him socialize with his peers.

   We are so thankful to Soaring Eagles for helping Aidan come out of his shell. He always arrives with a smile on his face and leaves with the same big smile. The staff goes above and beyond for

their clients, and I knew from the day I walked in to tour that we were in the right place.


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Vinnie Montez

Vinnie Montez, a nationally touring stand-up comedian, hails from Colorado, where he spent his

formative years in Boulder. Growing up, Vinnie nurtured a childhood dream of becoming a

police officer.  Fast forward to today, he boasts over two decades of experience in law enforcement. His unique blend of cop stories and his

Mexican heritage serve as the bedrock of his comedic repertoire. In 2007, Vinnie found solace and catharsis in comedy,

using it as a means to tackle the stress and

trauma that accompanied his encounter with harrowing situations. Since then, he has graced the stages of esteemed venues like Denver’s Comedy Works and various other national comedy spots. Vinnie’s comedic prowess extends beyond the stage, as he has amassed millions of views on his social media platforms. His viral videos, related to his hilarious brand of comedy, have captivated audiences, and further solidified his presence in the comedy scene.

Thanks to his relatable humor, universal appeal, and online success, Vinnie Montez has carved out a special place in the hearts of audiences all across the country.




So here we are almost at the end of another year at Soring Eagles Center for Autism. We have made great strides as well as seen our share of challenges, but through it all we continue to emerge strong, We continue to see our clients make progress and be an overall support to this community. We continue to see SECA grow as both a behavioral clinic and training center for this region. We have learned that the way forward is not always easy, but it is worth the journey every time. We have emerged from the pandemic stronger, more 

resourceful, and more enlighten. I must commend the SECA staff for their strong constitution and determination to carry out good services in the middle of these trying times. As difficult as times are autism does not take a break. Our families continue to need our support in helping their children thrive in the world.


I truly appreciate all of our community supporters. Although you are doing other types of businesses, you reach out to us with your encouragement and support. I would like to encourage you also, to hold to your constitution for living and continue your journey forward. Keep helping others, giving good services, living your families, and looking upward. 


Thank you again for your continued support. We are always better together.

Karen Colvin-Whitaker, M.S., M.D.

Executive Director SECA


While a senior in high school, Jazmine Norton, began researching various mental health fields with an eye towards a career in one of those fields. She was drawn to autism because she has a friend with autism as well as a family member

Marc Anthony’s famous quote, “If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.”

This is the philosophy she likes to live by and is exactly how she feels working with her clients

to become their best. 


Not only did the RBT certification help her to bring out the best in her clients but also the best in her. The certification has added a huge purpose to her life, as a result, she has grown into a better RBT and even a better person, thanks, in part, to all her co-workers/friends. 


When not at SECA, she enjoys shopping for crystals, playing animal crossing on the Nintendo switch, watching Disney movies, journaling, meditating, reading, and creating do-it-yourself



She began her career working with autistic individuals in 2021 at another ABA therapy facility. At that facility, she obtained her certificate for Registered Behavior Technician (RBT). Jazmine’s decision to apply for a position at Soaring Eagles Center for Autism (SECA) was inspired by a conversation she had with Charles Bonfidini, her former psychology professor and

advisor at Pueblo Community College. She has an associates degree in psychology.

Jazmine Norton

Our Leadership Team

Karen W. Colvin M.S.,M.D.-Exec. Dir. Lead Therapist
Mona Ortega-Medina, B.A., M.S., Asst. Director

Betty Nufer – Development Director

Lynzee Griggs B.C.B.A., M.S., Cert. Beh. Aut-Senior Therapist

Velvet Entz, B.A., M.Ed., Behavioral Consultant Assistant

Janet Baer, B.S., Administrative Asst., Editor

Monique Maes - Receptionist


Terry Zupan
Karen W. Colvin, M.D.
Betty Nufer
Mona Ortega-Medina, B.A., M.S. 

Martha Drake, M.S., CCC-SLP

Andrea Aragon        
Reggie Garcia – Vice President

Elizabeth Riffle

Vanessa VanEgmond

J.R. Chavez,

Shelly Harwood-Even, President

Vanessa VanEgmond


John Hardy, M.D.

Michael Jordan 



Daryl Hannah

Her starring role as the beautiful mermaid in Splash made her a star, but for her acting was a way to cope with her autism. Diagnosed as a child, she said doctors wanted to institutionalize her,

but her Mom refused. Still, she grew up feeling incredibly alone. She would rock back and forth to calm herself and watch old movies. "Acting for me was about going to the Land of Oz and meeting the Tin Man,"

she said. Despite finding success in Hollywood, she struggled with her autism, hiding it from directors and producers. She also refused to attend movie premieres or do press interviews saying that it

"terrified" her.

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