20 Under 40: Family is important theme for Lindsey Garey
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — From an early age, Lindsey Garey understood that people are much more than they appear, and one instance stands out her in her mind.
“I had a friend in fifth grade who was non-verbal and on the autism spectrum,” she explained. “I realized that you can connect with someone not just through words but through your presence and many other forms of communication.”
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She knew that if she sat with her classmate and was present with her in the moment, she could identify with her.
This knowledge has served her well throughout her life and career. A Colorado native, Garey graduated from St. Olaf College with a bachelor of arts degree in family studies. With her degree, she moved to Denver to volunteer for Urban Servant Corps where she served as a case manager in the Women’s AIDS project.
“Many of the women I worked with did not have any family connections, and so we became family for them in many different forms,” Garey said. “I think we truly underestimate the value of family and how interwoven our family structures are.”
Family became an important theme for Garey. She married her husband, Jason, and they moved to Grand Junction where she worked for Mesa Developmental Services which provides community-based services and support to individuals with disabilities and to their families.
After moving to Steamboat in 2008, Garey and her husband started their own family and are the proud parents of two girls, Lily and Nora. In 2017, Garey became the early intervention coordinator for Horizons.
In her current role, she conducts free screenings for children with possible developmental delays. Working closely with therapists and pediatric partners in the community, she creates an individualized plan for each child to meet the specific needs of the child and their family.
Garey currently manages a caseload of about 25 children in Routt County and 70 children in Horizons’ four-county service area.
“I love being able to see each kid as a whole as well as part of the family unit,” she said. “We don’t define kids by their limitations – in fact, they’re not limitations but catalysts for what they’ll accomplish someday.”
Outside of work, Garey continues to work with children; she owns and operates a Let’s Play Music studio, instructing preschool through elementary-aged students. The three-year music theory course emphasizes total musicianship through piano playing, signing, note reading, ear training and more.
“So many children communicate through music,” Garey explained, “and it’s been a wonderful form of communication for me personally as well. I love getting to plant the seeds of growth in children at a young age. Plus, they help teach me about living my own life and what’s important.”
Her own family is most important to her. Garey is an active volunteer in her daughter’s classrooms, and when she has time, she helps her husband at Steamboat Vision Clinic, which they own.
“I love Steamboat and the connections we have made here,” Garey said. “There are some wonderful families we all get to be a part of that make up this fantastic community we are lucky enough to call home.”
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