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Embracing Life with Joe McCulloh – Self-Advocate Spotlight

By: Veronica Crowell, Family/Individual Advocate at The Arc Arapahoe & Douglas Counties

Joe McCulloh is probably one of the nicest people you will ever meet. He is always quick with a smile and a compliment.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let’s back up a little.  Joe was born in Los Angles California in June of 1967 (I pointed out to Joe that was the Summer of Love – he said that made a lot of sense – – that he was born during that time and I agreed wholeheartedly).

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Joe McCulloh pictured with Veronica Crowell

When Joe was five his family moved to Colorado where he spent most of his school career attending Littleton public schools.  Joe was identified with a developmental disability and began special education classes when he was in the third grade.  He attended Ken Caryl Jr. High School then graduated from Columbine High School in 1987.  After graduation, Joe attended The Light Program in Golden for one year to work on life skills and while he was there he honed cooking and baking skills.

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Joe showing off his cooking skills!

Joe began working shortly after high school at Daniels Associates.  He worked in the mail room for fifteen years before moving into a data entry position.  Also, during this time Joe made the move to live out on his own.  He lived in a few different apartments before he and his family decided he should buy a house of his own.  He bought a small condo not far from his family home.  He said he really enjoys living on his own but likes having his family nearby.

Joe has a lot of interests and hobbies that keep him busy as well as his current job at Dad & Dudes Breweria in Aurora.  He works out twice a week with a trainer and recently lost quite a bit of weight.   He volunteers at the Humane Society feeding cats and walking dogs.

He also sits on the board of directors for The Arc of Arapahoe & Douglas Counties as a self-advocate. He recently started his second three year term.  He told me he really enjoys being a part of the board and feels like a valued member.

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Joe participating in the ribbon cutting ceremony of The Arc Arapahoe & Douglas Counties’ new building in 2013.

I asked Joe what was the secret to his happiness.  What is it that keeps him so positive all of the time?  Joe said that he “surrounds himself with people who love and support him – or maybe he’s just one of those people who loves life”.   Or maybe it goes all the way back to June 1967 – the Summer of Love, because if I know anyone who encompasses love it’s Joe McCulloh.

Photo Credit: Veronica Crowell

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