disabilities start with a dream... then turn it into reality.
Charlotte Higdon, C.E.O. of Achieve Inc., brings 36 years of experience to the table working with individuals with disabilities. As the Chief Executive Officer, she holds the title of Founder & Executive Director all launching from her Bachelors degree of Science in Recreation Therapy for Special Needs from Northern Arizona University. Charlotte opens her heart everyday since Achieve opened its doors in 1997. As Charlotte recaps how Achieve came to fruition she states, “It is important to me that every person has somewhere they can belong. That they are treated respectfully and provided opportunities to achieve their dreams every day.” Achieve still carries this message today in its motto: Dream. Believe. Achieve.
Some fun fascinating facts from fanciful Charlotte will reveal that she was a NJCAA 440 yard record holder & 4X100 All American at Arizona State during her collegiate career as a track athlete. For current day enjoyment, Charlotte can be found in the stadiums or dugouts as a fan and Team Mom, supporting her children in their sports of choice. Her most cherished opportunities are spending time with the family, camping, boating and fishing.
Tim Higdon, joined forces with Charlotte in 2006 becoming Achieve Inc’s. President & Chief Financial Officer. Tim is a native Tucsonan who graduated from Catalina High School and obtained his Masters in Business Administration at University of Phoenix. Reigning from a family of business owners since 1927, it’s only natural that Tim’s blood boils with leadership and exudes entrepreneur abilities. Tim ran and operated Jo Higdon & Sons from 1980 to 1997. He went on to become the Assistant Business Manager for the Wilmot prison and worked for Raytheon in the Missile Defense division for five years.
Tim’s expertise carries over into his personal life as well. He is very savvy in and enjoys almost all outdoor activities including hunting, fishing and boating. He is very involved in the community and with his family, he coached numerous youth sports such as baseball, soccer, and football.
PROGRAM AND TRAINING SPECIALIST
Melanie Blackmer, one of Achieve’s prized jewels, has been with Achieve as the Program and Training Specialist for 11 years. She holds a Social Work degree obtained from Arizona State University and has been working in the field of developmental disabilities for over 25 years. In a nutshell, Melanie explains, “I worked amongst young children with disabilities and their families for many years. Life would have it, that I then went to work for the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) in the areas of intake, casework, training and residential/Day Time and Training monitoring. I have also taught curriculum for individuals in the area of: self-esteem, drug prevention, nutrition, simple cooking and home self-help skills.”
Melanie lets the good times roll while gardening and taking on home projects and crafts. Spending time with her family and friends top the list.
Shelley Colwell, Achieve’s backbone, has been dedicated to Achieve nearly nine years. An important piece to Achieve’s foundation, Shelley oversees multiple sites and supervisors as a Site Director. She obtained degrees in Teaching and Anthropology from the University of Arizona. In Shelley’s list of awesomeness and credentials she states, “I started working the Summer Program at Achieve, took a full time position with the Adult Program and moved to Community 301. I quickly became the back-up supervisor, and in September 2007 took another promotion to become the Supervisor at Northern. I continued to grow with Achieve to become the Site Coordinator and now a Site Director. I manage and support the supervisors of Northern, Northwest and Colinas, although as part of this team, I provide support to all sites at various times. Additionally I do respite and habilitation work with Achieve. Prior to landing at Achieve I worked with several middle schools in Tucson Unified School District teaching students with emotional and behavioral disabilities as well as learning disabilities. I have also taught pre-school and have done extensive hours of graduate level work in young adult literacy.”
You can find Shelley on Sundays teaching Sunday School and being active in her church. In what little free time she can rally up Shelley enjoys watching cycling and other Olympic sports as well as reading, cooking, and collecting autographed Dodger baseball pictures and balls.
Supporting her community in the best way possible, Vianey Rocha started her journey in the Social Services field while helping her brother overcome challenges he faced. After working with her brother, Vianey’s eyes were opened and naturally drawn to serving people with developmental disabilities. She gathered experience working with other companies providing HCBS services and later became an HCBS Assistant Coordinator. As Achieve’s HCBS Coordinator and Summer Program Director, Vianey enjoys helping people, loves to see our members happy and fulfilled while connecting them and their families with community supports. She is inspired by the people she serves and their unique abilities and desire to do things their own way. “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”. – RWE
In her spare time, you can find Vianey continuing her education, binge watching Netflix, and spending time with family.