Center For Autism 


This summer was nothing short of fun for all the students. Their learning, laughable moments, and their learning to socialize in groups is what made this summer’s program memorable for students and staff.

These are just some of the 18 activities students could choose from:

Waterplay, slip and slide and squirt gun battles.
Ball games: basketball, football ball toss

Art projects

Gardening including planning and picking the produce

Therapy horse backing riding with (Taxi, Clown and Gracie)


Chalk Drawings


Two Ball Toss

Rock Painting

Finger Painting

Parachute Games

Two by Two

Harvesting the Produce

The staff enjoyed the summer program too, and several share their comments:

“My group loved the games we played together, socializing and learning to take turns.” Bethany

“Our medically fragile students had a wonderful opportunity to “stroll” in the sun and do sensory activities. The students enjoyed lots of laughter and dancing to music.” Laura

“I loved the way that our group interacted with each other during different activities.” Adrianna “This summer was the best ever noted.” Lynzee, Connie


by Maryalicia Verdecchia

Katie knows how to keep us on our toes, always guessing and yet making it a joy.

At three weeks of age, we started noticing some unusual movements, we would find out later they were seizures Infantile Spams, the worst kind. She was diagnosed at five weeks with Aicardi’s Syndrome, the first of several labels she would get in life including Asthma, Aprzxia, Autism, among them. 

Statistically, only 20 percent walk, eight percent talk with some words and the average lifespan is about eight years.

At age two Katie started going downhill quickly and regressing; we found out in September 2010, she was seizing 24 hours a day on the right side of her brain. A whirlwind of tests ensued and in November 2010 she was on the operating table for a Hemispherectomy. You may see this boisterous child in the waiting room not knowing she is living with half of a brain.

They removed it so that she could live, thrive even. Katie is a joy to be around, she laughs loudly and lives life fully. She is doing many things she was never suppose to be able to do; she has grown with, the help of others, into a beautiful young tween.

We waited 18 months to get into Soaring Eagles; Katie was eight then. She is now 11 and has learned so many skills. With Soaring Eagles and Community Connector she is sharing, taking turns, and learning to express herself without anger.


I can take her to a restaurant where she will eat without any issues, or to Sam’s Club where she is well behaved as we go through the aisles. She will never be typical; however, her meltdowns are minimal. And we are learning to help her grow, and still experience a joyful life. Soaring Eagles has made the experience a wondrous one. They are so good about taking care of their families; making paperwork and life easier. I could go on and on, needless to say, I am really grateful for SECA’s help.


Maria Cicerello
Maria Cicerello

Prior to Maria Cicerello’s employment with SECA in 2016, she has led a varied personal and professional life. Her professional life was enhanced by her legal and business education.

Before her marriage, she worked for the judiciary for five years. Since her husband was in the U.S. Army at the time of their marriage, and was continually transferred during his 24 years of active service, Maria has worked in different countries and held a variety of positions.

In Germany, she held several jobs including five years in Military Banking; two of their three children were born in Germany. After the first two children were born, she choose to work for the Department of Defense Schools so that she could spend summers home with the children.

After nine years overseas, the Cicrerello’s returned to the United States from their last duty station in Korea; Maria was pregnant with her third child at the time. After his birth, she went back to work for the State of Colorado as a Library Tech for the Department of Corrections, and then transferred back to the Judicial System as a Division Clerk for Judge Anderson until 2007.

Marie began working as a CNA in 2008 providing care for their son. Her decision to work as an off-site provider for SECA was based on the fact that they do everything with him and who knows him better and can document his behaviors better than Mom. Other reasons were SECA’s one-on-one care, their training and knowledge, which she wanted to be part of, and the family has been with SECA since 2002.

This year Maria and Andy will celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary. They have three children, two grandchildren and two step-grandchildren. She enjoys sewing, scrapbooking beading, travel and camping.

Maria says of SECA: “As SECA continues to grow, I am glad that more children will continue to benefit from their services...our son has truly benefited from SECA as has our entire family.”


Steven Scott is a comedian, actor and host whose unique and tasteful brand of comedy combines clever observations of his everyday life with his amazing vocal talents, which include an array of characters, voices and sounds ranging from celebrities to musical instruments.

Described as a perfect mix between Jerry Seinfeld and Jim Carrey. Steven loves getting paid now to do exactly what used to get him in trouble as a kid.

He has traveled to all seven continents performing comedy clubs, conventions, cruises, colleges, festivals, roasts, military bases and major stages from Broadway to the Las Vegas Strip.

He has performed with some of the biggest names in show business, both on stage as well as on screen where he has made numerous television appearances on shows for NBC, CBS, FOX, VH1, MTV, Comedy Central, Gotham Comedy Live and most recently, NBC’s America’s Got Talent.


Dr. Karen W. Colvin

As the years have gone by, we have seen many things develop of Soaring Eagles Center for Autism (SECA). We have seen the growth of our clients, growth in the size of out facility, and growth in our areas of services.

One of the most awesome things, which was inadvertently birthed at SECA, has been our “Teen Mentorship Program.”

The Teen Mentorship Program began with the teenagers of our SECA staff and the siblings of our clients. Some of these teens were “compelled” to volunteer to help with the overwhelming needs at SECA in the early days. As we continued having teens come in year-after-year, usually in the SECA summer program, we saw something amazing taking place. We found that these teens were maturing into adults with a sense of compassion for the disabled.

At this point in time some of our teens have grown into adults that are capable and responsible members of our regular staff and community at large. Some have gone on to other work and fields of study, but not before being impacted by SECA on their decisions for the future. Some have elected to go on to college to study the behavioral and medical sciences.

Here at SECA we are proud that our work in this community has reached beyond the direct services to our clients and into the lives of the teens in our community. With each passing year it has become more evident that we are part of a greater community.

It is our hope that as SECA continues to grow we will continue having a positive impact on this community. You, our supporters, are an important part of our impact and we Thank-you for joining us in our continued mission.

When you shop at AmazonSmile ( Amazon will donate to Soaring Eagles Center for Autism. AmazonSmile is the same where you buy books and other products; except they will donate 0.5% of your purchase price to the charity of your choosing.

As we continue to build services for our clients, “Amazon Smile” is another way to help us reach our goals. We continue to work to build our Adult Community Center and to expand service for our children on the autism spectrum. Please help us by choosing “Soaring Eagles Center for Autism” when you shop at AmazonSmile.

Thank you,

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

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

Monique Maes - Receptionist


Terry Zupan
Karen W. Colvin, M.D.
Betty Nufer

Shelly Harwood-Even
Mona Ortega-Medina, B.A., M.S. 

Martha Drake, M.S., CCC-SLP

Andrea Aragon        

Judy Leonard, A.A.S.
Reggie Garcia – Vice President

Elizabeth Riffle - President

J.R. Chavez

Linda Thompson

Mitch Brown


John Hardy, M.D.

Michael Jordan