This month’s Client Cameo features writer and artist Debbie Noel. Born and raised in small-town Pennsylvania, Debbie worked in child care and then ran inner city after-school programs and summer camps. She counseled prisoners and worked with female inmates as they transitioned back into the community. Then, 30 years ago, a bizarre incident occurred with a gun. She was visiting a friend who carelessly left a gun lying on the sofa, which then fell down the cracks of the sofa cushion. During a get-together with a lot of guests, a three-year-old child found the gun in the cushions, picked it up and pulled the trigger. The bullet hit Debbie’s shoulder and severed her spinal column. Debbie lives permanently paralyzed from the breast-line down.

Debbie’s incredible fortitude and tenacity led her to continue her career path as a reporter and editor for a Pennsylvania newspaper with a unique beat that focused on community issues and solutions. She continued on as the marketing director, grant writer and, eventually, president of a company that served people with disabilities. She wrapped up her career years in Pennsylvania government as project manager that worked on changing policy, procedures and laws for those who were aging or for people with disabilities.

Now retired and living in Longmont, Debbie’s days remain full of love, laughter and connections. Her tiny home is located next door to her daughter, son-in-law and grandkids. Debbie beams with pride when she talks about her family - her daughter is a nurse and her grandkids fill her with joy. Her home provides her everything she needs to flourish, and it also doubles as her art studio where she creates visual art, fosters conversation and publishes inspiring stories through the monthly Drop in with Debbie blog for the Longmont Senior Center.

Through her work, Debbie’s quilt of interconnected people, causes and organizations gets bigger and bigger each day. Cultivate is thrilled to be the recipient of Debbie’s latest venture. Debbie excitedly shares that, “I am going to donate my one-of-a kind artwork to Joy House. When purchased, all proceeds from my creations will be given through the Estes Park store Joy House to several charities. At the end of each year, Joy House will make a donation to five nonprofits in honor of me. It is my way of being able to say thank you and to support these five organizations; each has touched my life deeply since my move to Colorado.” Cultivate is privileged to be on that list.


We are so honored to have Debbie as a valued member, supporter and advocate of our Carry-Out Caravan and SnowBusters programs.

Learn more about Debbie, her work with Joy House and sign up for her blog by sending your email to droppinginwithdebbie@gmail.com 




About Cam Low:

Cam Low, a Boulder Native, enjoys the outdoors, practicing yoga, listening to live music, and spending time with her friends and family.  As an avid Buffs fan, she is a devoted volunteer with the CU Boulder Alumni Chapter and Buffs4Life. She joined the Cultivate family in March 2020 as a Business Development and Program Specialist. Cam is passionate about helping seniors and eager to introduce Cultivate clients to other people within the Cultivate Community, further encouraging the connection and relationship between clients, volunteers, donors, and staff. 

Our wonderful clients are integral members of the Cultivate family! Each month we will feature their stories in Client Cameo. If you are interested or know anyone else who would like to be featured, please contact Cam Low at clow@cultivate.ngo