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Imagine! Voices provides a forum for folks in the Imagine! community to share what is going on in their lives and reflect on their experiences. Imagine!
Updated: 9 hours 35 min ago

Imagine!'s Early Intervention Rockstar: Laura Chatman

December 12, 2017 - 8:30am
Imagine!’s Early Intervention (EI) program has a terrific team working to create a world of opportunity for all abilities. To show their appreciation, this team chooses a “Rockstar” each month within their program. Team members submit nominations describing what the nominee has contributed, going above and beyond to support those we serve.

We would like to recognize Laura Chatman as this month’s Rockstar.

Healing Through Horses

December 11, 2017 - 8:05am
Gillian accepts services from Imagine!’s Out & About department, and last year, joined the Horsin’ Around class for the first time. Held at Medicine Horse in Boulder, participants learn how to build relationships with the horses, care for them, and ride them.
“I like hanging out with them. Getting to know each of their personalities is really rewarding to me,” said Gillian.
A few weeks before Gillian attended the class, she found out that her cousin had died. “I was out of sorts,” said Gillian. “I remember thinking ‘I need to find something to help me cope.’” After spending time in the stalls grooming and feeding the horses, Gillian realized how therapeutic this was for her, “Just being outside, grooming them, and being around them helped me cope.”
With over ten horses on the ranch, Gillian created a bond with one in particular: a white, starling blue-eyed, gypsy pony named Frankie. “It felt like he knew I lost somebody. Animals sense what’s wrong, and it seemed like he was there for me as much as I was there for him.” Gillian recalls a favorite memory in one of the arenas with Frankie. “He rolled around on the ground and got really dirty. I laughed so hard.”
After a few classes of learning how to groom and lead the horses, participants saddled up and furthered those relationships with riding. “My cousin used to ride horses, so every time I rode Frankie, I could feel my cousin’s spirit,” said Gillian. “I felt the spirit say ‘it’s okay, I’m fine.’ It helped lift me out of a fog.” 
“I’m still coming to grips with being okay (about cousin),” said Gillian. “I was glad to take the Horsin’ Around class again this year as it’s helped me get more closure.”
Gillian has found that this class also helps with work she does on the side. “I take care of my neighbor’s dog down the street. I’ve always had a love for animals,” said Gillian. “Horsin’ Around has taught me to be more patient and careful around all animals.” Gillian has worked with three different dogs over the past few years, deepening her passion and care for her four-legged friends :) 

Case Management Unsung Heroes - Gabbie Norton and Jeff Johnson

December 7, 2017 - 1:20pm
Imagine!’s Case Management department works with many great people. To show their appreciation, each month they choose an “Unsung Hero” within the department. Case Managers, support staff, and Case Management supervisors all put in nominations describing what the person has contributed to go above and beyond to support those we serve.

We would like to recognize Gabbie Norton and Jeff Johnson as this month’s Case Management Unsung Heroes!

Gabbie goes above and beyond to support members of her team, as well as the clients we service. Just minutes before a new case manager was supposed to run her first Continued Stay Review (CSR) independently, she learned, that for unexpected reasons, she did not have an experienced case manager to accompany her. Gabbie showed initiative and leadership by volunteering to support the new case manager and attended the CSR with her. 

Jeff has consistently been so helpful in resolving the many Medicaid issues that have come up since we started using the Bridge. Most recently, I had a mother of a client contact me about receiving a Medicaid denial letter for her son and she was extremely worried about this affecting his services and medical needs. I contacted Jeff about how to reach Adams County and he provided me with the contacts. When I continued to receive no responses from Adams County, Jeff contacted them and spoke to them directly about the case for a long time to determine the issue. Because of this phone call, my client’s Medicaid was reinstated! His mother was elated and sent an email with a huge thank you to Jeff and said that she “can’t tell me how much gratitude she has for Jeff.” I truly appreciate how willing Jeff is to help in these complicated situations. We couldn’t do it without him! 

Great work, Gabbie and Jeff, and thank you for your dedication!

Today Is Colorado Gives Day!

December 5, 2017 - 9:30am
Today is Colorado Gives Day! 

Below are four simple steps on how to support Imagine! on this day of giving (click on the image to make it larger), and make that support count extra! Thank you in advance for your help in creating a world of opportunity for all abilities. 

Click here to donate

Longmont High Wrestling Hosts Imagine! Night This Thursday

December 4, 2017 - 1:49pm
This Thursday evening, December 7, Longmont High School Wrestling hosts their home opener and tagging it "Imagine! Night." Three Imagine! CORE/Labor Source participants will be honorary coaches and featured during the game. Imagine! will have a booth in the lobby to promote its services. Come on out and support this fun event!

To The Rescue

November 29, 2017 - 2:44pm
Earlier this month, staff members at Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source (CLS) site in Longmont responded to an emergency situation that saved someone’s life. One of the participants, who accepts services at CLS, began to appear ill and a staff member immediately took notice and helped him. The situation escalated to the participant appearing uncomfortable and restless in his wheelchair and little to no breathing.
Five staff members in particular took immediate and careful action. After calling 911 and receiving their instructions, two staff members assisted him to the ground and initiated chest compressions. From giving CPR, to assisting with counting out loud each chest compression, to talking to the participant, to keeping the hallways clear and ready for the paramedics, all bases were covered.
“The paramedics arrived and we walked away with tears in our eyes, letting them take it from there,” said Taylor Smarsty, CLS Instructor. Paramedics helped him regain his breathing and transported him to the hospital. 
“I genuinely enjoy caring for others and being someone who is capable of responding to emergency situations like this. I feel like I have a purpose here,” said Taylor.
 “Everyone did a great job stepping in and knowing what role to play,” said Meagan Little, CLS Instructor. “Our motto is ‘teamwork makes the dream work,’ and it couldn’t be more accurate.”
Equipped with training to respond to all types of situations, the instructors responded to this situation with great poise and effective problem solving. After visiting their classes several times throughout the year, it was very clear to me that the instructors pour their heart and souls into their work. Careful planning goes into each class and activity, along with attention to detail with each participant, ensuring they are comfortable and all needs are met. “My favorite part about this job is working with the clients and seeing them grow and develop new skills,” said Meagan.

After spending six days at the hospital, the participant has made a full recovery and is back to attending services at CLS. We tip our hats to Drew, Taylor, Meagan, Nichole, and Marrisca for keeping this participant safe and healthy. Pictured below are the five instructors receiving awards from their supervisors to recognize their actions. 

Imagine! Customer Service Award Recipient - Jeff Near

November 28, 2017 - 2:45pm
Congratulations are in order for Jeff Near, who is part of Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source (CLS) team, and was selected as the December 2017 recipient of the Imagine! Excellence in Customer Service Award.

Jeff’s nomination included the following praise:

Jeff’s intimate knowledge of CLS, its staff, and clients, have not only enabled him to be extremely supportive, but it also has given him the knowledge to advocate for our program, our staff, and our clients. He has been able to advocate for our program with the rest of Imagine! throughout the process of adopting Evolve, receiving funding, and redirecting our program to fit new regulations and be an employment priority program. 

Great work, Jeff, and congratulations on this well-deserved honor!

Imagine! Leadership Development Group Update

November 17, 2017 - 2:43pm
The latest update from Imagine!’s Leadership Development Group (LDG), submitted by Jeff Rodarti. 

Self-improvement can sometimes seem to be a mysterious thing. To develop yourself, you need to know what to develop. And no matter how well you know yourself, how we conduct ourselves in our communities and interpersonal interactions defines our relationships with others. As such, receiving feedback is a vital element along the journey of personal and professional growth. This last month, the Leadership and Development Group went through a 360 Assessment, a process that can illuminate one's strengths as well as the qualities one can further develop within themselves.

The 360 Assessment involves receiving anonymous feedback from the individuals with whom they work. This is broken down into three orbits: one's managers, peer group, and direct reports. Feedback is provided through an online form that contains questions involving a wide range of professional attributes and skillsets. In the LDG's case, these questions were grouped into communication, delivering results, dependability, developing oneself and others, emotional control and stability, information management, innovation and openness, management functions, people skills, and task orientation. In addition, we were asked to evaluate ourselves using the same template.

Each member of the LDG met with one of their mentors (members of the executive team) to review the results of their 360 Assessment. To maintain the privacy of the respondents involved, individual feedback is combined with feedback from other individuals within the same group, such as one's peers or supervisors. This presentation has the added benefit of allowing one to see how their relationships function at different levels of their department or organization.

We each relate to feedback in our own way. Personally speaking, I tend to zero in on areas where I can improve. I can become deeply reflective to the detriment of my capacity to see the bigger picture, such as how my strengths and their shadows fit within the context of my team, and how I can use this self-awareness to move our common goals in a positive direction. In short, I sometimes miss the splendor of the forest for the trees. In order to integrate the feedback we have received into the way we understand ourselves, our mentors have given us homework: development planning. After going through our reports, we will be responding to the ratings we have received. For example, how did I react to the report? Do I agree with others' views? Why have I been rated the way that I have? How can I build on the strengths others see in me, and how can I improve in the areas that I haven't developed? What is progress, what do I need to get there, and how can I measure it?

While we are certainly so much more than the sum of our relationships, it is our relationships that define us to those around us. And the health of Imagine!, like any community, is defined by the strengths of those interpersonal connections. Ultimately, the 360 Assessment best serves as a development tool to help us gain an understanding into how others view our strengths and weaknesses. This presents an opportunity to develop skillfulness in how to adjust our work patterns and behaviors, and shines a light on the skillsets in which we should invest in order to continue to grow, not just at Imagine!, but in the course of our lives.

November Collage

November 15, 2017 - 12:27pm
Each month, participants and employees of Imagine! submit photos to create a monthly collage. Below are November's submissions!

Neil and Andrea play charades and act out carving a pumpkin (CLS Longmont).

Bill paints one of the horses at the "Horsin' Around" activity (Out & About).

Carsten cruises around the park on a Strider bike (Out & About).

Dan Fox's automatic trail cam captures this 8 point buck in Nebraska.

Emily Walsh and Brittany Siegel enjoy hot drinks from mugs they were gifted during Care Coordination Appreciation week.

Robin Phillips channeling Cruella de Vil at the Site Supervisor's meeting.

Wendy Breitenfeld sits down with Joel of Channel 4 News Denver to talk about WayToGoTober

Imagine!'s Early Intervention Rockstar: Chrissy Romatzke

November 13, 2017 - 8:30am
Imagine!’s Early Intervention (EI) program has a terrific team working to create a world of opportunity for all abilities. To show their appreciation, this team chooses a “Rockstar” each month within their program. Team members submit nominations describing what the nominee has contributed, going above and beyond to support those we serve.

We would like to recognize Chrissy Romatzke as this month’s Rockstar.

Miah and Bridget Dance Performance (part 2)

November 7, 2017 - 2:34pm

To read Part 1 of this series, please visit
Welcome back! Miah and Bridget performed their original piece titled, "The Starting of Reflection," this past Sunday at the Boulder Canyon Theater. I was honored to sit in the front row and capture their performance. Enjoy!

To introduce their piece, Bridget and Miah shared the following:

Bridget: Hello everyone, my name is Bridget Heddens. We wanted to share a little bit about ourselves before we perform. I'm originally from Iowa, I moved here about a year and a half ago. I went to school in Iowa for dance, then moved out here and am starting to create myself in the dance world here. Miah and I found out that we have a really great passion for dance and that we wanted to create something together. We have hopes of this coming more someday, maybe a group, or just performing more. But, this is our first time performing together.

Miah: Thank you so much. My name is Miah Yager. I really enjoy dancing a whole lot because it has been with me since I was two years old. I started at a young age and that helped me out a lot. It's quite hard to choose between dance and music, but I think that they are both connected and they are both connected to me in so many ways, and in so many different angles.

Imagine!'s Case Management Unsung Hero: Valerie Cordova

November 6, 2017 - 8:40am
Imagine!’s Case Management department works with many great people. To show their appreciation, each month they choose an “Unsung Hero” within the department. Case Managers, support staff, and Case Management supervisors all put in nominations describing what the person has contributed to go above and beyond to support those we serve.

We would like to recognize Valerie Cordova as this month’s Case Management Unsung Hero!

Valerie always has a smile on her face, even when she is getting ready to call a doctor’s office to request a late Professional Medical Information Plan (PMIP). She is so kind to her co-workers and the providers she speaks with over the phone. Recently, I was working on getting a PMIP for about three weeks. I was swamped with meetings and I asked her for additional support. Even though she doesn’t typically assist with intake/enrollment PMIPs, Valerie offered to help with obtaining the needed document. I came back one hour later and she had the PMIP in my box. She accomplished in one hour what I had been working on for three weeks! Valerie is a miracle worker! She recognized the need to move quickly and offered support above and beyond her current duties and helped to move someone forward with enrollment. 

In another instance, I needed support with redacting Personal Health Information (PHI) from a number of documents in order to scan them into Questys. Valerie offered her assistance and gave me tips on how to efficiently complete this task. She is always willing to take on new tasks/responsibilities and does so happily. Valerie is always working when you walk by her desk and my interactions with her leave me with a smile on my face! We are lucky to have her in Case Management!

Great work, Valerie, and thank you for your dedication!

Imagine! WayToGoTober Final Update

November 3, 2017 - 1:20pm
The third annual "Go-Tober Challenge" wrapped up Tuesday in the Denver metro area. Imagine! employees were awarded first place in the “Neighborhood Ninjas” competition, earning the title of 2017 Go-Tober champion.

“We learned a lot during the Go-Tober challenge and we had fun doing it,” said Karen Kalis, HR Director at Imagine!. “Many of our employees now realize there are other healthier, sustainable and more cost-effective ways to commute rather than driving alone.”

The ground rules were simple. Companies of all sizes were categorized by the Regional Transportation District’s (RTD) service level areas, with an effort index applied to equal the playing field between small and large companies. For a complete list of the 52 competing companies, and to see the final results, check out the Go-Tober leaderboard, located here.

A total of 1,719 participants in the Go-Tober challenge logged 36,924 commutes. Their efforts resulted in 440,137 smart commute miles traveled and a reduction of more than 125.12 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Walkers and bikers also burned an extra 2,732,019 calories and saved some $116,007.76 in travel costs.

Go-Tober is presented by Way to Go, a regional partnership between the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) and a group of seven Transportation Management Associations (TMAs) that are dedicated to transforming the way people get around. Go-Tober works directly with employers to introduce new commute options to those who normally drive alone. Ultimately, Go-Tober is designed to inspire lasting changes in commuting behavior to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality. Employees are encouraged to carpool, telework, vanpool, bike, walk, take the light rail or bus their way to prizes and annual bragging rights.

“This campaign offers employers a turn-key program to promote smart commute choices,” said Steve Erickson, director of communications and marketing for the Denver Regional Council of Governments. “Imagine! really went above and beyond by encouraging smarter and less stressful commutes. We hope this inspires employees to continue making those choices more often.”

Here’s Imagine!’s final WayToGoTober stats:

In recognition of the creative ways that employees found to avoid the SOV commute, the following employees are receiving special awards:


The Riding in Style Award goes to Michelle Conkey-Sajban and Hickory the horse from Case Management for obvious reasons.

The Stinky Sneaker Award goes to Scott Wendelberger in Public Relations for commuting 22 miles round trip on foot.

An It’s Better Together Award goes to Foothills Group Home employees for outstanding carpooling efforts.

An It’s Better Together Award also goes to Care Coordination employees for outstanding carpooling efforts.

The Imagine! Grand Prize, which was randomly picked from all employees who logged at least 8 one-way alternative Go-Tober trips, goes to Taylor Manuian. It’s worth noting that Taylor logged 34 alternative trips during Go-Tober! Taylor is the winner of a $125 gift certificate to REI as well as an Imagine! messenger bag!

Out & About Art Exhibit

November 1, 2017 - 8:00am

Miah and Bridget Dance Performance

October 31, 2017 - 9:39am
This coming Sunday, Boulder Canyon Theater presents their Annual “Dance is for Every Body” showcase. Members of Imagine!’s Out & About program, Miah and Bridget, decided to meet up on their own time and create a dance number for this occasion. Read more to learn their story and come watch them perform! 

1-4pm (Miah and Bridget at 1:50pm)
Boulder Canyon Theater 

“Dancing is a part of me. I feel like I need it in my life,” said Miah. “Performing my talents is something I look forward to a lot.”

Miah and Bridget met through Imagine!’s Out & About activities. Bridget is a Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist and facilitates lesson plans and activities for the participants. Miah often attends these activities and one day, they discovered their shared passion for dance.

“Dancing is a passion I really want in my life. It’s something I feel strong in my heart,” said Miah.

For two months, Miah and Bridget met weekly to create and rehearse a dance number for the showcase at Canyon Theater. “The best part is that it’s been really collaborative,” said Bridget. “We’ve done a lot of back and forth, creating movement together, which has been equally challenging and a great part of the process.”

Bridget studied dance and therapeutic recreation at University of Iowa. “I did a lot of duet dance numbers in college, but recently I’ve been involved in bigger ensemble projects, and sometimes in the back helping with logistics. It’s been fun to come back to the spotlight and work with Miah.”

The same goes for Miah, she has been doing mainly ensemble performances with either Out & About or other groups. “I feel refreshed doing this duet. I feel blessed to be able to do this,” said Miah.

With a twist of modern and ballet dance steps, their performance is completely original. “Ballet is hard. It takes patience. It takes time. If you feel refreshed and relaxed, then you can do ballet,” said Miah.

“Bridget taught me new moves and it was cool to see a new perspective,” said Miah. “She also taught me a lot about myself and we created a connection.” After hearing that, Bridget nodded her head and said “yes, we built a friendship, and hopefully a partnership that will continue.”

Thank you, Miah and Bridget, for sharing your talents with us. Hope to see everyone there!

Richard Lowe: Recipient of the November 2017 Imagine! Excellence in Customer Service Award

October 30, 2017 - 9:17am
Congratulations are in order for Richard Lowe, who works at Imagine!’s Santa Fe Group Home, and was selected as the November 2017 recipient of the Imagine! Excellence in Customer Service Award.

Richard’s nomination included the following praise:

Richard goes above and beyond and cares about every important and every little detail with the residents over at Santa Fe. He also goes above and beyond as a team player, and knows when his teammates are struggling and will go out of his way to lend a helping hand. 

Great work, Richard, and congratulations on this well-deserved honor!

Provider Fair Wrap Up

October 26, 2017 - 11:06am
Last week’s Imagine! Provider Fair was a huge success!

More than 50 providers were there to share information about their services, including:

More Maitri, Inc Sample Supports City of Boulder Parks & Recreation EXPAND Consultants for Children Inc. Loose Ends or Legacy Quality Life Services  The Roost Training Center Team Select Home Care Hearts 'n' Hands Work Enrichment Colorado Choice Care Services Belk Model LLC Think Outside the Box Coaching The Developmental Disabilities Resource Center Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Association The Child and Family Therapy Center of Denver Out & About SPECTRA Centers, Inc. Megan's Place, LLC GoldStar Learning Options Innovations Life Skills & Support Association for Community Living Colorado Community Health Alliance Dungarvin Colorado Divine Royal Care, LLC Ascent Mobility Parker Personal Care Homes Firefly Autism PASCO Overture Ignite Adaptive Sports Rocky Mountain Pathfinders Devereux Colorado The Wayfaring Band Aspire Autism
Community LinkTanner Autism Services of Colorado Elevated Supports CAREPROX LLC Community Advantage P.A.L.S. Easter Seals Colorado Boulder Analysts Support, Inc Behavior Services of the Rockies Boulder County Department of Housing and Human Services Continuum Autism Spectrum Alliance Denver Metro Respite Coalition Apex Caring Services Colorado Music Therapy Services Boulder Project SEARCH Evergreen Service Providers Angels Service LLC CORE/Labor Source Imagine! Behavioral Health Services 
More than 100 individuals and families attended to learn more about the service options available to them. Families told us:

“Got to get lots of info and meet folks.” 
“Very supportive staff, resourceful handout.” 
“Lots of vendors” 
“This was my first time attending and it was very worthwhile. Thank You!” 

Providers shared positive feedback as well:

“Organized, you fed us! Great facility.” 
“Nice to learn about other organizations in the community.” 
“Nice turnout! Nice having Imagine! staff stop by our table.” 
“The variety of services represented, good space.” 
“Very information focused, seemed collaborative.” 
“So many great companies helping the community!” 
“Great atmosphere. Thank You!” 

Thanks to all who attended, and special thanks to the many Imagine! staff members who worked so hard to make this an exceptional event.

October Collage

October 24, 2017 - 9:30am
Each month, participants and employees of Imagine! submit photos to create a monthly collage. Below are October's submissions!

Christina, employee, takes a lunch break with her puppy on a sunny day in Colorado!

Despite the cloudy and cold weather, Atonement Lutheran Church (Boulder) volunteers to wash and clean vehicles in our Imagine! fleet. Thank you!

Jay, who lives at the Santa Fe Group Home in Broomfield, shows off a drawing he made using his iPad.

Kenny, who lives at the Manhattan Group home in Boulder, goes on an adventure to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Two of our very own employees are expecting this year. Their co-workers threw them a surprise baby shower!

Sandy, who accept services from Imagine!, earned 3rd place in a Horse Show at Colorado Therapeutic Riding Center (CTRC).

Stefanie, who accepts services from Imagine!, and her host home provider, Clint, stretch the legs and go for a weekend hike.

Imagine!’s Early Intervention Rockstar: Carol Chesser

October 23, 2017 - 2:20pm
Imagine!’s Early Intervention (EI) program has a terrific team working to create a world of opportunity for all abilities. To show how much they’re appreciated, each month this team chooses a “Rockstar” within their program. Team members submit nominations describing what each nominee has contributed, going above and beyond to support those we serve.

We would like to recognize Carol Chesser as this month’s Rockstar.

Imagine! WayToGoTober Week 3 Update

October 20, 2017 - 8:22am
Today marks the end of week three of WayToGoTober, and Imagine! is clearly committed to commuting smarter.

WayToGoTober is a whole month (10/1/2017–10/31/2017) dedicated to experiencing new, smarter ways to get around. Companies like Imagine!, with 100+ employees, have been challenged to get as many of their employees as possible to commute smarter at least once a week throughout October. Carpool, telework, vanpool, bike, walk, take the bus or transit – any way is a smart commute. Employees earn points for each one-way trip they take and track during October. The company with the most points wins!

Here’s some stats from Imagine!’s participation so far:

136 employees have signed up to participate.

1,014 alternative commute trips have been logged, totaling a distance of 10,273 miles.

46, 327 calories have been burned.

$3,468.84 has been saved.

2.9 tons of CO2 has been reduced.

Way to go Imagine! employees!

PS - Check out why Imagine! employee Scott has loved taking the bus this month.

    Can’t see the video? Click here
PPS - CBS4 in Denver interviewed Imagine! employees Wendy, Dawn, and Karen about Imagine!’s participation in WayToGoTober yesterday. We’ll let you know when the piece airs, but here’s some pics from the interview!