About

Disabling Barriers (DB) is a tax-exempt nonprofit corporation formed to support Nursing and Therapy Services of Colorado (NTSOC) in the fulfillment of its charitable mission. As such, Disabling Barriers will provide financial and other support to NTSOC and to other organizations that provide services, resources, and support to individuals with disabilities with a particular focus on pediatric and young adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD) across Southern Colorado.

Standing from left to right: Lara Stern, Deana Allen, Rachel Lake, James Dougherty, and Jeanne Conder. Seated from left to right: Steve Sauer, Cory Arcarese, and Christopher Robinson

Our Mission Statement:

Disabling Barriers serves the physical and behavioral health of children and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in Southern Colorado by providing grants to fill unmet needs, overcome barriers, and support caregivers through improved access to opportunities, programs, and resources so individuals with disabilities can reach their highest level of independence and potential.

Dr. Christopher Robinson -DB President

Dr. Christopher Robinson -DB President/CEO

Dr. Christopher Robinson is the President of Disabling Barriers and serves on the Nursing and Therapy Services of Colorado Board of Directors.  He is also the Vice President of Challenger Baseball, an adaptive baseball program for individuals with physical and intellectual challenges, a division within the Colorado Springs Little League organization.   After retiring from the Air Force in 2007, Chris joined the Missile Defense Agency where he currently works as a Program Manager for the Warfighter Operational Integration Directorate.      

As a father of a child with Cerebral Palsy, Chris’ passion for serving the physically and intellectually challenged community within Colorado Springs has continued to grow.  For over a decade, Chris and his wife Liz have brought their love of baseball to the local community by providing an opportunity for children with disabilities to participate in America’s Pastime.  Chris brings a Doctor of Management in Organizational Development and Change to Disabling Barriers enhancing his ability reach past the Springs to serve the greater Southern Colorado disabled community.  Chris and Liz have three children and one grandchild. 

Deana A. Allen, MBA, JD -DB Board Chair

Deana A. Allen, MBA, JD -DB Board Chair

Deana A. Allen currently serves as board chair for Disabling Barriers and the vice chair of the board for NTSOC, a non-profit organization employing over 300 people providing services to special needs kids and their families.  As the mother of a young adult with special needs, Deana is passionate about issues facing the special needs community and recognizes the social, educational, financial, and medical challenges faced by those individuals and their families.  She has also been actively involved in fundraising efforts for the arts and, most recently, established a non-profit organization that provides clean drinking water solutions to the people of Nepal and Ecuador. Deana is a shareholder with Beatty & Wozniak, P.C., a law firm specializing in representing the energy industry.  She was named a 2019 “Top Women in Energy” honoree by the Denver Business Journal, an award recognizing women whose position, knowledge, or expertise helps guide the sector. Deana holds a Master of Business Administration and a Juris Doctor from the University of Kansas.
Steven W. Sauer, CPA -DB Secretary & Treasurer

Steven W. Sauer, CPA -DB Secretary & Treasurer

Steve has a heart for non-profits.  He serves as Treasurer and Secretary for Disabling Barriers, Treasurer for Village Seven Presbyterian Church and member of University of Northern Colorado’s Accounting Program Advisory Council.  As his day job, Steve is a Director for BKD, LLP, a national CPA firm, and leads the Not-for-Profit Attestation and Advisory Group in the Colorado and Utah practice working with a variety of domestic and international not-for-profits, foundations, membership and faith-based organizations.

Steve and his wife, Christine, have two middle school children.  He is a 2007 graduate of University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, with a B.S. degree in business administration and is a 2013 graduate of the Leadership Pikes Peak Leadership NOW! Program.  Steve is humbled and honored to serve on the Disabling Barriers board.

Rachel Lake MSW, LCSW -DB Board Member

Rachel Lake MSW, LCSW -DB Board Member

Rachel Lake is the Assistant Director of Special Education in Widefield District 3 starting in the 2021-22 school year. Prior to her current role, Rachel was the Special Populations Specialist at Academy District 20 Schools serving students who were homeless and in foster care and she spent 9 years working in Special Education in District 20 as a school Social Worker and Special Education Coordinator. She has a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Denver and a master’s degree in Special Education from UCCS. Rachel is married with four adult children, two of whom are diagnosed with connective tissue disorders that impact their daily lives.

Rachel has served on the Board of Directors at Nursing and Therapy Services of Colorado since 2019.  She is committed to recognizing the inherent worth and value of individuals with disabilities and being a part of organizations that promote their interests and well-being.  She is honored to serve on the Disabling Barriers board, an organization that upholds these values.

Lara Stern, RN BSN -DB Board Member

Lara Stern, RN BSN -DB Board Member

Lara Stern is a registered nurse with a passion for supporting children with special healthcare needs and their families. She currently works for El Paso County Public Health as a Nurse Care Coordinator. Lara brings experience, enthusiasm and an understanding of the special needs community. She recognizes the obstacles and challenges that these children face on a daily basis. She currently works directly alongside families to connect them with therapists, community resources, supports and physicians to improve health and developmental outcomes.

Lara is honored to serve on the Disabling Barriers Board. She is excited for the wonderful opportunities that will come from supporting agencies that help these children to attain their fullest potential and embrace the qualities that make them unique. She is excited to help ensure all children with special needs in Southern Colorado have access to fun and rewarding experiences, where they will be challenged and gain a sense of accomplishment. In her free time, Lara enjoys spending time with her husband and four children. She enjoys hiking, camping, playing games, gardening, reading and traveling.

Jeanne Conder -DB Board Member

Jeanne Conder, CFRE/CSPG -DB Board Member

Philanthropy is Jeanne Conder’s professional and personal passion. During her 35 years in Colorado Springs, she has fundraised with The Navigators, Junior Achievement International, and as chief development officer and vice president for Pikes Peak Hospice Foundation and Discover Goodwill Foundation.

Jeanne now runs her own consulting business, Evergreen Philanthropy, to help connect donors and nonprofits in strategic, impactful and lasting giving. Jeanne and her husband Ron love entertaining in their home, mountain biking and leading a group of younger couples in building thriving marriages.

James Dougherty, MBA – DB Board Member

James is a Colorado Springs native with a heart for the people of Southern Colorado.  He grew up watching and working with his parents who run a small fine art business.  From a young age he learned to work hard, ask questions, negotiate smart, and serve clients well.

With over a decade of experience in grants management and procurement, James has awarded and managed hundreds of millions of dollars of grants and contracts to universities, large multinational corporations, small businesses, and non-profit organizations spread over at least 79 countries. He is delighted to bring his experience to Disabling Barriers.

James and his wife adore raising their two young children near the stunning Rocky Mountains.  They enjoy serving others through their church, providing hospitality, and leading courses like Alpha and Financial Peace University.

Cory Arcarese, MSA & BAM, CEO of NTSOC-DB Board Member

Cory is an award winning, bilingual healthcare executive with more than 25 years of progressive business experience and an expansive portfolio which includes having assisted over 1,000 companies with strategic planning, capital access and business startup.

Both a creative talent and a strategic thinker, with a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and a Master of Science in Accounting, Cory is among the rare breed of strategic healthcare executives who excel in creative thought, expert negotiating and high-level analysis. Cory has a reputation for delivering above average results by collaborating with other organizations to provide above average patient care. An accomplished speaker, fluent in Spanish, Cory and her team work tirelessly to advance an organization.