Imagine! Voices Blog

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Imagine! Voices is a blog that provides a forum for people with developmental disabilities served by Imagine! to share what is going on in their lives, to sharpen their writing skills, and to increase their interactions with other people throughout our local community and beyond. We will also post photos of people we serve and submissions from other people affiliated with Imagine!.Imagine!
Updated: 5 hours 43 min ago

SPARK - Igniting Autism Research to Improve Lives

February 16, 2017 - 7:30am

Spark Logos.jpg
If you or your child has a professional diagnosis of autism, JFK Partners and Children’s Hospital Colorado invite you to learn more about SPARK, a new online research study sponsored by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative.

The mission of SPARK is clear: speed up research and advance understanding of autism by creating the nation’s largest autism study.

Joining SPARK is simple – register online and provide a DNA sample via a saliva collection kit in the comfort of your own home.

Register online by visiting, or by contacting us at 303-724-7366 or emailing

Nicole Jackson: 2017 Alliance Direct Support Professional Nominee from Imagine!

February 15, 2017 - 7:30am
Today, we’d like to take moment to congratulate Nicole Jackson, who works for Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source (CLS) department.

Nicole was recently nominated for the Alliance (a nonprofit, Colorado-wide association of Community Centered Boards (CCBs) and Program Approved Service Agencies (PASAs) that is dedicated to strengthening services and supports for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities) Direct Support Professional (DSP) of the Year Award.

Nicole’s supervisor shared the following information for her nomination:

My main reason for nominating Nicole is because of a recent project she undertook that has been wildly successful. She is currently rejuvenating our Photography and Scrapbooking class and turning it into more of an internal newsletter class. The class focuses on teaching individuals to conduct interviews and to practice interviews. 

People accepting services from Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source (CLS) program have applied these skills to real life interviews; one person specifically thanked Nicole for helping teach her how to interview, as it helped her achieve an independent job! 

The newsletter focuses on one specific person in Supported Employment each month. The community-based class will go to a CLS job site and the participants will interview the managers of the facility, as well as one person who CORE/Labor Source supports and is employed at the business. Participants in the course then work together to create an article that highlights the individual accepting services and their job, which they share with the people at CLS. 

After receiving a copy of the newsletter that focused on their family member, one guardian sent us an email in response saying: "It is incredible to see her progress the past 2+ years... Thank you for everything you do with her and her housemates. Imagine! has made her world a much better place. If you speak with her employer, please thank them from the bottom of my heart for giving her the opportunity to come out of her shell and shine." 
The winners of the Alliance DSP of the Year Awards will be announced later today at their annual I/DD Awareness Day at the State Capitol. We don’t know yet if she’ll be selected, but we know that Imagine! has already won by having her on our team!

Colorado ALPS Training

February 14, 2017 - 7:30am
For more information contact or

Imagine! Celebration 2017 Highlights

February 9, 2017 - 7:30am
The Imagine! Celebration, held Friday, January 27, 2017, was a huge success. Although the numbers aren’t official yet, the preliminary total of what we brought in was more than $350,000! We are so thankful for the support from the generous community that we serve!

The highlight of the evening was the debut of a video telling the story of Miah, a remarkable young woman who accepts services from Imagine!. Check it out below.

Can’t see the video? Click here
Here are some other highlights.

Some of the audience members were first timers, and not very familiar with Imagine!, so we shared the short video below, which provides an overview of our services.

Can’t see the video? Click here
Continuing our efforts to explore how we can use social media to share our story and the stories of the people we serve, we took our first dip into the Facebook Live pool. Below is video from that Facebook Live feed of Imagine! Foundation Board of Directors Charles Holmes starting the evening out right.

And here’s a Facebook Live video of Miah speaking after the audience was introduced to her touching story via the video above.

We’d like to thank: our Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Table event sponsors; the 480+ attendees who bid on silent and live auction items so generously; the volunteers on the Imagine! Celebration committee who worked so hard to create a magical evening; and the many Imagine! employees who volunteered to help out in so many ways.

The Imagine! Celebration is a reminder of how fortunate we are to live in a community that is so supportive of our work. This event also serves as a reminder that all of us at Imagine! must remain ever vigilant in ensuring that we continue to meet their high expectations as we work to create a world of opportunity for all abilities.

Lucky's Bags for Change

February 7, 2017 - 7:30am
Today, we’d like to offer a big shout out to the South Boulder Lucky’s Market. As we mentioned before, thanks to many of you voting online, Imagine! was selected as one of this quarter’s Lucky’s Bags For Change partners!

For our readers who live in the area, we’d sure appreciate it if you were to make a shopping trip or two to Lucky’s (located at 695 S Broadway St. in Boulder) over the next couple of months so you can participate in this fun and environmentally way to support our mission of creating a world of opportunity for all abilities.

Here’s how it works: when shoppers bring in their reusable bags, they can choose to receive $.10 back per bag credit or donate that amount to one of the three Bags For Change partners, including Imagine!. Even better: when a shopper donates, Lucky’s Market will match the donation and double the giving to the nonprofits! Make sure you bring in your reusable bag so you can start dropping dimes to support the three partners.

Thanks Lucky’s for your demonstrated commitment to your community, and thanks in advance to all of you who help out by shopping at Lucky’s South Boulder!,+Boulder,+CO+80305/@39.9828972,-105.2505488,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x876bed0a2ea150b1:0x658c2fd62f2cea3e!8m2!3d39.9828972!4d-105.2483601

February 2017 ImagiNe!ws Employee Newsletter

February 2, 2017 - 10:42am
The February 2017 ImagiNe!ws Employee Newsletter is now live on the web.
To view the newsletter, please click on the following link:

Earlier Is Easier: Making the Most of the First Three Years

February 1, 2017 - 7:30am

Earlier Is Easier, a collaborative of 27 Denver-area organizations working collectively to promote the value of interacting with children from birth to age three, recently updated and redesigned their website.

Website features include:
  • Tips on Reading, Talking, Singing, Playing, Writing and Laughing - organized by age
  • Activities You Can Do Today - simple, fun and free ideas for learning and connecting
  • Building Healthy Brains - facts about brain development and early learning
  • In Your Community - information about local programs, health, behavior, nutrition and more
Check it out here: www.EarlierIsEasier.orgSpanish:

Innovations Super Hero: January 2017

January 26, 2017 - 7:30am
One of Imagine!’s Innovations department’s recognition programs is to name staff members each month who have gone above and beyond in providing services. This program was designed to recognize and thank employees and providers in the categories of:
  • Health, Safety, and Wellbeing
  • Effectiveness and Efficiency
  • Respect and Dignity
  • Opportunities
  • Integrity
  • Care
All employees who are given a Heroic Award within a month time period become eligible for being named the “Super Hero of the Month."

We are very proud to announce that this month’s Innovations “Super Hero of the Month” is Fran Batts, who works as a Coordinator with the Innovations Host Home program.

Below is some information from Fran’s nomination, which shows why she was selected as this month’s recipient by her colleagues:

Fran spends a lot of time meeting with the people accepting services through Imagine!’s Host Home program and with the network of providers, which she supports as a Coordinator. I have been a Host Home provider for more than seven years. Fran works tirelessly to share her knowledge so that my home is a nurturing and supportive home for the people who I directly support. Fran is an incredible resource, and the results of her efforts are that I feel supported, and that together our efforts are focused upon creating a world of opportunity for all abilities.

When you see Fran, please congratulate her for her hard work and dedication.

It's Imagine! Celebration Time

January 24, 2017 - 7:30am
The Imagine! Celebration is less than four days away! 

Here are three tidbits to help get everyone excited for our annual fundraising event this coming Friday, on January 27!

First, the Imagine! Celebration is sold out again this year!

Secondly, check out this short video highlighting the Celebration’s Live Auction items.

Can’t see the video? Click here.
Finally, earlier this month, Longmont Magazine published a story about Imagine! and our Celebration, which you can see below. Click on the images for a larger view.

You can also view the January 2017 edition of the Longmont Magazine by clicking Here.

Imagine! That - The Imagine! Blog

January 20, 2017 - 7:30am
When was the last time that you visited Imagine! That - The Imagine! blog at

Not sure what it is?

Well, it is an aggregate blog where you can stay up to date on all things Imagine!. So stop on by, and visit us every now and again, so that you can stay in the know by reading updates from Imagine!’s CEO, Mark Emery at, or The Imagine! Foundation at, Imagine! Voices, Imagine! SmartHomes, and The Innovations Bulletin blogs.

Facebook Friends Support Imagine!

January 18, 2017 - 7:30am
Earlier this month, we asked you to help support Imagine! via Facebook. And wow, did you come through!

Thanks to your "Likes," Imagine! has been selected as one of three local organizations which will be receiving Lucky’s Market South Boulder’s reusable bag credits for several months, starting January 29.

Thanks to all who voted, and special thanks to Lucky’s for its support of some really impressive organizations doing great things in the community. In addition to Imagine!, Blue Sky Bridge and Paradox Sports will also be receiving donations.

Imagine!’s Leadership Development Group Update: January 2017

January 12, 2017 - 7:30am
Imagine!’s 2016 / 2017
Leadership Development Group Update
Submitted by Cameron NavisFor those who have been following the various Leadership Development Group (LDG) over the years, you are likely already aware that part of our curriculum involves reading a set of books (usually no more than three) on the topics of Leadership, Professional Development, and Organizational/Corporate Development. For those that are newer to Imagine! or just haven’t been following the LDG for very long, now you’re in the loop!

Pictured above (left to right) are Kathryn Craig, Jessica Gaylord,
Cameron Navis, Alicia Burdick, and MacKenzie HaeringThe first book your 2016/17 LDG read this year was: A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, by Daniel Pink (for those select few with exceptionally good memories, recall that last year’s LDG also read a book by Pink titled simply: Drive).

On December 14, we were joined by Executive Team Member and prestigious Head-of-Innovations Laurel Rochester to discuss the bulk of the book and share our various thoughts, feelings, impressions, takeaways, etc. Pink’s book is bright orange and 247 pages and it begins with a statement:

“The last few decades have belonged to a certain kind of person with a certain kind of mind – computer programmers who could crank code, lawyers who could craft contracts, MBAs who could crunch numbers. But the … future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind – creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers.”

He goes on to present evidence and argue that this shift from a society built on “logical, linear, computerlike capabilities” to “a society built on inventive, empathic, big-picture capabilities” is actually the case, as in happening right now, for real. Whether because the book itself was published more than a decade ago (in 2005), or because of the specific nature of our work at Imagine!, Pink’s statement did not strike any of us LDGers as the controversial, needs-to-be-justified-and-have-evidence-marshalled claim he seems to think.

A majority (a full 180 pages) and most interesting part of the book is given over to examining and explaining the key attributes of “right-brained thinking.” Pink dubs these attributes “The Six Senses” and argues that they are important/necessary for people either to have (inherently) or to develop in order to be successful in the present age. If you’re a left-brainer like me and the news that you’ll need to work on your artistic side in order to stay professionally competitive is less than happy, be advised that Pink is big on development. Each subsequent chapter about one of the Senses ends with a not-too-short “Portfolio” section which provides ideas and exercises for building the discussed Sense.

Our cohort sat down the other week and shared what we thought our own relative areas of strength and weakness were in regard to the Six Senses, as well as the areas of strength/weakness for the different departments we represent (represented departments this year include: Innovations, CORE/Labor Source (CLS), IBHS, and Case Management). What follows below is the full list of Pink’s “Six Senses,” but I won’t be commenting on all of them. There were a select few that generated a lot of discussion at our big meeting with Laurel and I want to confine my thoughts just to those areas of strength/weakness we saw in Imagine! as a whole. For the sake of your time and the length of this article, those fretting left-brainers will have to look up Pink’s book and the “Portfolio” stuff on their own. My own personal copy is available for borrowing if anyone wants it. I’d also encourage you to look up and contact ANY of us on LDG for further discussion if you’re curious. There is only so much that can go into a newsletter article.

Actually, before we begin (and to back WAY up), let’s recognize that the left-brain/right-brain thing could maybe use some unpacking. Refer to your nearest psychology textbook to confirm what I’m about to say: it is generally recognized in pop psych and neuroscience that the left portion of our brains and the right portion are responsible for different things, house different skills, and are in general just way WAY different. The left portion is strong and instrumental in things like mathematics, logical thinking, analysis, etc. It’s the “cold reason” side. Whereas the right portion, and Pink’s point is made here, is traditionally thought to be strong in the softer stuff, things like drawing, music, design, etc. It’s the “intuitive” side. There is a popular image you may have seen (and if not, use your right-brain to imagine) which captures the essence of the difference of the two sides: imagine the left side of your brain covered in a black and white chessboard, with scary-looking towering pieces moving at slow, methodical rates, and the right side of your brain as an explosion of color and lightning without form. That’s more or less the stereotypical difference, with all the stereotypical personality traits that come with being strong on one side versus the other (lazy artist, unfeeling thinker). And the book’s provocative sub-title (“Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future”) aside, Pink’s actual argument is that the most successful people, and indeed what’s necessary for success, is to be strong on both sides. “A Whole New Mind.” Get it?

OK, the Six Senses according to Pink are: Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play, and Meaning. Design, Story, and Play all made for large topics of conversation, so I’ll share the snippets of those:
  1. Design: Design is variously defined in the book as: “the human nature to shape and make our environment in ways without precedent in nature,” and: “a combination of utility and significance [emphasis original],” and: “in its simplest form is the activity of creating solutions.” Jessica Gaylord with CLS was the only LDGer this year who claimed Design as one of her strengths. The rest of us felt that we could improve in this area and we felt that Imagine!’s relationship with Design is complicated. Imagine! places a high premium on Design as innovation (if we’re thinking of design in terms of the “activity of creating solutions” definition listed above), but lacks the more aesthetic side of Design and also sometimes function. So while it’s encouraging that Imagine! values good Design and wants to grow this Sense in its employees (hello LDG!), our group also thought that we weren’t seeing this as a strength in practice.
  2. Story: The section on story was very interesting and all of us had some takeaway from it. Story is bolstered in the book as an ability to place facts “in context and to deliver them with emotional impact” [emphasis original]. We saw the Gerald’s Story video, which gets shown to new employee during orientation, as a positive example of Imagine! doing Story well. But those of us in Case Management and Innovations felt that we could be better at Story. So often when training a new hire there seems to be an emphasis on speed. Rushing. You just want to get them through the training quickly so they can start working shifts. And needing to rush means boiling things down to just the facts; there isn’t a lot of time to tell stories. One suggestion we discussed was to start making or building consumer historical narratives. Overall, we think that Imagine! has a great and cool story, the people we serve also have great and cool stories, and so again the resource and value is there, but we could be better at putting this Sense into practice.
  3. Play: This is pretty self-explanatory and unfortunately it’s an area of improvement probably for everyone (although Laurel identified this as one of her strengths, so you never know). We work with some of the freest, funniest, most playful people in the world and yet a lot of us are either too overworked or too stressed to have fun ourselves. I include this Sense on the list here maybe mostly because I myself had such a visceral reaction when reading it. Reflecting on my work style as a young professional, I recognize that I do not reserve any time or space for Play. All of us have a lot to do, too many things to do probably, and because the nature of our work is the service of other people, we often put ourselves second and/or last. Our own happiness and sense of joy become less important than the comfort and joy of the people we serve. So Play (at least on a personal level) can seem unimportant, BUT IT IS IMPORTANT. Pink offers a lot of reasons as to why it’s important, but you’ll have to read those yourselves. Let this serve as your annual reminder to HAVE FUN at work, take a hearty break, and keep in mind the big picture of why we do what we do.
In conclusion: if you are thinking about resolutions for this upcoming year, consider being more intentional about honing that colorful right side and read Pink’s book. There are lessons and tips for all of us in here. Happy New Year everyone!

Imagine! Excellence in Customer Service Award: January 2017

January 10, 2017 - 7:30am
Fran Batts:
Recipient of the January 2017
Imagine! Excellence in Customer Service Award
Congratulations are in order for Fran Batts, who works for Imagine!’s Innovations department, on being selected as the January 2017 recipient of the Imagine! Excellence in Customer Service Award.

Here’s some information from Fran’s nomination, which came from an Imagine! Host Home Provider and which ably demonstrates why she was selected as this month’s award recipient:

I wanted to take the time to highlight Fran and the outstanding job she does. I can definitely say that without her support I probably would not have been as successful being a Host Home Provider. I feel that she goes above and beyond to help support not only me but also the people I take care of. Even though I have been a Host Home Provider for seven years, she continues to educate me on various changes so that I can continue to support my clients to the best of my abilities. I appreciate her as a member of the Host Home team and just wanted to let you know she has always done, and continues to do, an outstanding job. Throughout the years and the various clients I have supported she has always been available when I needed support and always offered encouragement when it was greatly needed. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to work with her as a member of your Host Home team.

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

IBHS Social Skill Training Update

January 3, 2017 - 7:30am
Thanks to a growing number of employees (77 now!) participating in this year’s employee giving campaign through regular payroll deduction, Imagine!’s Behavioral Health Services (IBHS) has been able to provide meaningful social skills trainings to kids, adolescents, and young adults.

Together we will raise about $8,000.00 to help support social skills training for this fiscal year! You can view the video below to learn more about this exciting program.

Can’t see the video, click here
Over the summer, IBHS hosted two social skills sessions that met once per week for two hours over a four-week period. Each session was broken down into three age groups; kids ages 3-7, adolescents ages 7-14, and young adults ages 14-18. Over the course of these sessions, IBHS hosted 21 individuals. All participants had the opportunity to partake in play schemes that facilitated attending and orienting themselves toward a play partner, eye contact, waiting and sharing skills, and opportunities for natural interactions with other group participants and typical peers.

We are excited to announce that, thanks to your generous support, IBHS will be continuing their social skills program on February 6, 2017. Check out the flyer below to learn more.

Interested in joining us but need more information or have questions?
Email Ania Young, PhD, BCBA, IBHS Clinical Team Leader,or call her at 804-310-7247.

January 2017 ImagiNe!ws Employee Newsletter

January 1, 2017 - 7:30am
The January 2017 ImagiNe!ws Employee Newsletter is now live on the web.
To view the newsletter, please click on the following link:

Imagine! Explained In Infographics

December 29, 2016 - 7:30am
Today, we’d like to share some infographics about Imagine!, the people we serve, and our impact. You can learn more about us by checking out our most recent Annual Report by clicking here.

Case Management Unsung Hero: December 2016

December 27, 2016 - 7:30am
Case Management Unsung Hero
Submitted by Meagan Rountree
Imagine!’s Case Management department works with many great people. To show how much they are all appreciated, 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 Case Management to go above and beyond to support those we serve.

For December, we’d like to recognize Meg Pickins as this month’s Case Management Unsung Hero.

Below is some information which shows why Meg was selected as this month’s recipient by our Case Management team:

Recently a person accepting services from Imagine!, for whom Meg serves as their Case Manager was experiencing a great deal of personal difficulty requiring increasing levels of emergency respite, which eventually lead to a request for placement at the regional center. Meg worked tirelessly throughout this difficult situation to make sure that her client’s unique personal needs were not lost through the process. This is just one example of Meg’s professionalism serving the interest of everyone on her caseload, and in creating a world of opportunity for all abilities.

When you see Meg please congratulate her for her hard work and dedication!

Happy Holidays From Imagine!

December 22, 2016 - 7:30am
The Holiday spirit is alive and well at Imagine!. In the last few weeks leading up to the Most Wonderful Time of the Year we’ve had office decoration contests and dessert making contests, and every part of Imagine! seems to be fully embracing the season. Pictures below include celebrations from our Case Management team, our Innovations team, our Santa Fe Group home, our Charles Family SmartHome, and our CORE/Labor Source team. And yes, there are a lot of pictures, but there’s a lot of Holiday spirit to share. I hope you enjoy the pictures and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

Imagine!’s Leadership Development Group Update: December 2016

December 21, 2016 - 7:30am
Imagine!’s 2016 / 2017
Leadership Development Group Update
Submitted by MacKenzie Haering
During a meeting last month, Imagine!’s Leadership Development Group (LDG) asked, “Why do some teams thrive, while others flounder?” To ensure that our team works together as successfully as possible, we spent a night asking and answering the question above.

Pictured above (left to right) are Kathryn Craig, Jessica Gaylord,
Cameron Navis, Alicia Burdick, and MacKenzie Haering 
To help us get off on the right foot, LDG member Alicia Burdick’s mother, Beverly Kingston, Director at the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, Institute of Behavioral Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder, facilitated a meeting called “True Colors.” True Colors is a personality test designed to help people better understand their unique personality traits, as well as the personality traits of others. This test revealed that everyone in the group had traits in common; we all were identified as compassionate, accepting, and caring. These characteristics help each of us in our professional roles as we work towards creating a world of opportunity for all abilities. Although we have similarities, we also have distinct differences. For example, some of us are spontaneous-risk takers, while others are more structured and methodical, and some were described as analytical fact seekers.

To help us work effectively together, we identified a list of Norms to help promote productive, harmonious meetings, and an inclusive environment in which each of us would be valued.

The Norms that we identified focus upon:
  • Individual check ins – to practice active listening
  • Develop clear structure and goals
  • Identify a weekly team leader; the team leader creates a weekly LDG agenda
  • Be vulnerable, share your story
  • Share your strengths, and support others with their vulnerabilities
  • Have fun
The True Colors meeting helped our team become more inspired and connected. We now feel as though we are working towards a common goal – to support one another through this journey of leadership development.

Fantastic Five - Celebrating Five Years Of Volunteers At Imagine!: Patrick McCue

December 20, 2016 - 7:30am
Imagine!’s Volunteer Program officially began five years ago (of course, we had volunteers before, but it was a loosely organized effort).

To celebrate five years of volunteerism at Imagine!, we have been sharing short videos highlighting five volunteers who have truly made a difference at Imagine!. Choosing just five volunteers was very difficult – last year 379 volunteers donated 8,784 hours of their time to support Imagine!’s mission of creating a world of opportunity for all abilities!

We are grateful to them all, and hope that the volunteers we highlight will serve as a great representation of the many generous folks who so kindly give back to their communities.

This month we’re featuring Patrick McCue, who has volunteered with Imagine!’s Out & About (O&A) department over the past several years.

Thank you, Patrick, for all that you do for our community and for Imagine!. Click on the video below to learn more about Patrick and his experience as an Imagine! volunteer.

Can’t see the video? Click here.