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!http://www.blogger.com/profile/08931372452479387570noreply@blogger.comBlogger588125
Updated: 11 hours 57 min ago

Community Living Side By Side: Gerlad's Story

March 23, 2017 - 7:30am
March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.

The goal of this month is to create awareness about developmental disabilities, tell stories of people who live with a disability, and show their lives. This year’s Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month has a campaign theme of “Side By Side” to highlight the many ways in which people with and without developmental disabilities come together to form strong, diverse communities. Each week is being set aside for focus on one aspect of that theme.

The different elements of the theme fit in well with Imagine!’s mission of creating a world of opportunity for all abilities, so today we’d like to share a video about an individual who accept services from Imagine!, and whose story demonstrates this week’s theme - Communities Side By Side: Community Living.

If you haven’t seen Gerald’s story yet, get ready to learn how this remarkable man has developed a full and active life in the community despite significant challenges.



#DDawareness17

Imagine!'s Leadership Development Group Update: March 2017

March 22, 2017 - 7:30am
 Imagine!'s Leadership Development Group Update: March 2017Submitted by Jessica Gaylord
Pictured above (left to right) are Kathryn Craig, Jessica Gaylord,
Cameron Navis, Alicia Burdick, and MacKenzie Haering
February 15 was the Alliance Awareness Day at the Colorado State Capital. A day when Colorado legislators recognized the Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) community, as well as the Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) who support individuals accepting services.


The day started in the Capitol, where two people accepting services in Colorado recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Then the action started! I sat in the gallery above the Senate Hearing area and watched as different bills were presented and our elected representatives voted on amendments. When Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 17-009 came up, several different state representatives took the stand to share their stories and experiences. It was heartwarming to hear stories from people who don’t work directly in this field, but have still been inspired by someone living with I/DD. After several stories and a few happy tears, a unanimous ‘yes’ vote confirmed that the state will continue recognizing February 15 as a day to celebrate the I/DD community and to continue to support the potential of all – sound familiar?


The second half of the day was spent in a gallery area of the Denver Art Museum. The room was packed with people in celebration of Alliance Awareness Day – State Legislators, Imagine! CEO Mark Emery, people receiving services, and DSPs from a handful of organizations including Imagine!’s own Nicole Jackson who was nominated as our 2017 Direct Service Professional Honoree. Keynote speakers shared stories and thanked the room at large for all their hard work to help the people we serve achieve their goals, but they noted that there’s still room to grow and awareness to spread. However, all their stories faltered in comparison to the speech delivered by Rose Medina.

Rose was born with an intellectual disability. She stood before us and read a speech that she wrote, talking about the trials she endured in school and as she grew up in Texas. She was told she would not be able to read. “But they were wrong” she then read to the crowd. Since moving to Colorado ten years ago, Rose has become gainfully employed, enhanced her independence at home, and now she enjoys a fulfilling and more independent life. Her energy and pride lit the room; she even gave herself pats on the back throughout her speech. What a great reminder for the room at large of what a difference we can become in someone’s life.

The day was full of inspiration, love, and laughter. I’m so glad I was able to be a part of it because it reminded me of the positive impact we all have on the people that we all serve.

Sometimes working in this field can be hard, it can be frustrating, it can feel overwhelming, but this event helped remind me of the valuable opportunities we have as Imagine! team members. Everyone here at Imagine! deserves to be recognized for his or her achievements in this field; it may not be much, but from me to you – thank you for all that you do and the impact you’ve made in creating a world of opportunity for all abilities! I’m proud to be a part of this organization and to work with such amazing people – #allthefeels.

Safety First for Adults

March 21, 2017 - 7:30am
 For more information and registration, please contact Julieby email at jhartman@aclboulder.org, or by telephone at 303.527.0888 ext. 228.

Working Side By Side: Joe's Story

March 16, 2017 - 7:30am
March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. The goal of this month is to create awareness about developmental disabilities, tell stories of people who live with a disability, and show their lives.

This year’s Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month has a campaign theme of “Side By Side” to highlight the many ways in which people with and without developmental disabilities come together to form strong, diverse communities.

Each week is being set aside for focus on one aspect of that theme. so for today, we’d like to share a video about an individual who accepts services from Imagine! and whose story demonstrates this week’s theme - Working Side By Side: Employment. The video tells the story of Joe, and how through his work and volunteer efforts he makes a meaningful contribution to his community every day.

Can't see the video? Click here #DDawareness17

Case Management Unsung Hero

March 15, 2017 - 7:30am
  Case Management Unsung Hero: March 2017Submitted 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 March, we’d like to recognize two from our team, Alyssa Ulrey and Chris Barker, as this month’s Case Management Unsung Heroes.

Below is some information which shows why Alyssa and Chris were selected as this month’s recipients by our Case Management team:

Since Alyssa took over her current caseload she has had a client facing significant challenges including abuse of different substances and a family that seems to negatively influence his choices. It appears tough to support him and get him to engage in services. Alyssa has worked hard to find creative ways to meet his needs. She did this with compassion and no judgement of his supports and situation. Alyssa has spent hours on his case and gone above and beyond. Eventually, this client switched to a waiver that better suited his current needs.
Chris is a new Intake Case Manager, who has taken a lead role in a very difficult emergency enrollment. This individual lived up in Greely and was going to be homeless in a few days. Chris took the time to drive up to Greely four separate times, take this client to Social Security, look for resources in the area, and hunt down a hard to obtain Professional Medical Information Page. Chris showed a determination and dedication towards this person that was inspiring for those around him. We are excited to see this continue with other individuals on his caseload. Way to go, Chris, you have now set the bar high!

When you see Alyssa and Chris please congratulate each of them for their hard work and dedication.

Out & About: Celebrating 20 Years of Service

March 14, 2017 - 7:30am

Out & About (O&A)  is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year! To honor this milestone, they're collecting and sharing stories and memories from current and past employees, from the families and individuals they serve, and from the many businesses that support the work of O&A. In fact, we’re collecting and sharing 20 stories from each of those three categories!

Click here to visit the O&A 20th Anniversary page where you can click one of the categories to see the stories.

Would you like to share your story? Contact Fred Hobbs at fhobbs@imaginecolorado.org.

Imagine! Excellence in Customer Service Award: March 2017

March 10, 2017 - 7:30am
Congratulations are in order for Nichole Ricke, who works for Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source (CLS) team, on being selected as the March 2017 recipient of the Imagine! Excellence in Customer Service Award.
Here’s some information from Nichole’s nomination, which ably demonstrates why she was selected as this month’s recipient:

Nichole brings an awesome atmosphere to CLS. She is always smiling and in such a great mood that it inspires those around her, even in tough times. She is extremely patient and understanding with the individuals that we serve and takes the time to slow down and make every experience a learning opportunity. Nichole is also very self-motivated and has worked on several projects in the past year. She has been working with an individual with an extensive behavior plan who attends only community based services. Typically, we have a sort of "primary" for this individual who knows his plan very well, but in this case we haven't for a while. Nichole volunteered to do an in-depth training for this individual and has taken a leadership role in learning who he is and how best to interact with him, and even did an in-depth training on his behavior plan for all of our staff. We have been trying for the past few years to get our "Project RISE" program going, involving in-depth community independence and job skills, but it had fallen through several times. Nichole has been instrumental in getting this program moving and has taken a lead in the process. She created an extensive curriculum, determined class activity days, and has provided each individual with a progress journal that they can write their daily activities in. The ongoing success of the program is due to her diligence in creating quality services and supports for those we serve!

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

Learning Side By Side: Emily's Story

March 9, 2017 - 7:30am
March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. The goal of this month is to create awareness about developmental disabilities, tell stories of people who live with a disability, and show their lives.

This year’s Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month has a campaign theme of “Side By Side” to highlight the many ways in which people with and without developmental disabilities come together to form strong, diverse communities. Each week is being set aside for focus on one aspect of that theme, so for today’s Facebook post we’d like to share a video about an individual who accept services from Imagine!, and whose story demonstrates this week’s theme: Learning Side By Side - Education.

Check out this video about Emily, who through hard work and the support of many surpassed all expectations.


Can't see the video? Click here.
#DDawareness17

World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD)

March 7, 2017 - 7:30am
World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) is March 21. The date for WDSD being the 21st day of the 3rd month, was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome.

Click on the logo below to learn more about WDSD. https://worlddownsyndromeday.org/about-wdsd

Spread the Word to End the Word

March 1, 2017 - 7:30am
http://www.r-word.org/Spread the Word to End the Word is an ongoing effort to inspire respect and acceptance through raising the consciousness of society about the R-word and how hurtful words and disrespect can be toward people with intellectual disabilities.
Imagine!'s Innovations department and their Innovations Advocacy Council would like to remind everyone that "Respect" starts with the words that we use on a daily basis.
We all know that it is not always easy to stop using words that have become industry standards, but through the commitment of many, including people accepting service from Imagine!, family members, and those supporting individuals in services, a cultural change can occur.
The Power of a Word:

Words can hold great power and it is through our words that we can potentially hurt or demean others. The council has created some alternative word choices to use:
  • Instead of using “consumer” or “client,” use “individuals with disabilities” or “people with disabilities,” or better yet, refer to individuals simply as people and/or individuals.
  • Instead of using the terminology “high-functioning/low-functioning,” try to explain the parameters of the situation. For example, instead of saying high-functioning, you could say that the person is independent in the community and requires minimal supports. Instead of saying low-functioning, you could say the individual requires additional assistance with daily living tasks
  • Above all else, we should never use the R-Word. While everyone understands that this is an official diagnosis, there are other ways in which to express the diagnosis such as developmental disability or intellectual disability, and plain and simple, this word is offensive regardless if it is used clinically or not.
For further information or to take the pledge to end the use of the R-word, please visit the Spread the Word to End the Word official website at http://www.r-word.org/.

Registration Is Open for Imagine!'s ASD Program

February 28, 2017 - 7:30am
The Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Program at Imagine! is currently looking for individuals to enroll in the program with a funding start date of July 1, 2017. Now is the time to register your child to be considered for enrollment for the July 2017 through June 2018 fiscal year.

The ASD Program is a 3-year program that provides funding for individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis to access therapeutic services such as Behavior Therapy, Psychological and Counseling Services, Social Integration Activities, Equipment recommended by medical professionals, etc. The program funding for the new fiscal year is as follows: 1st year-$5,000, 2nd year-$5,000, and 3rd year-$4,000.

In order to be eligible for the program, individuals must have a medical diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, must live in Boulder County (there is currently a small Broomfield County Pilot Project with a waiting list), be over 5 years old and under 26 years old, and live at home with his or her parents or guardian (those over 18 living independently may request an exemption to this requirement). Please note that if an individual is eligible for or receiving other services funded by the Colorado Division for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities through Imagine! (such as Family Support Services, or a waiver) they would not qualify for enrollment in the ASD Program.

https://www.imaginecolorado.org/asd
Please visit www.imaginecolorado.org/ASD to complete a registration form and to view additional information about the program. Feel free to also contact Josie Shields, ASD Program Coordinator, at jshields@imaginecolorado.org or 303-926-6444 to learn more about this opportunity.

Respect: #SpreadTheWordToEndTheWord

February 23, 2017 - 7:30am
With March 1, 2017, being the annual #SpreadTheWordToEndTheWord Awareness Day, the Innovations Advocacy Council would like to remind everyone that "Respect" starts with the words that we use on a daily basis.


The Innovations Advocacy Council understands that it is not always easy to stop using words that have become industry standards, but through the commitment of the people who provide services, the family members, and the individuals in services, a cultural change can occur.

The Power of a Word

Words can hold great power and it is through our words that we can potentially hurt or demean others. The council has created some alternative word choices to use:
  • Instead of using “consumer” or “client,” use “individuals with disabilities” or “people with disabilities,” or better yet, refer to our individuals simply as people and/or individuals.
  • Instead of using the terminology “high-functioning/low-functioning,” try to explain the parameters of the situation. For example, instead of saying high-functioning, you could say that the person is independent in the community and requires minimal supports. Instead of saying low-functioning, you could say the individual requires additional assistance with daily living tasks.
  • Above all else, we should never use the R-Word. While everyone understands that this is an official diagnosis, there are other ways in which to express the diagnosis such as developmental disability or intellectual disability, and plain and simple, this word is offensive regardless if it is used clinically or not.

For further information or to take the pledge, please visit the official website at #SpreadTheWordToEndTheWord.

Imagine!'s Volunteers

February 22, 2017 - 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 five highlighted below serve as a great representation of the many generous folks who so kindly give back to their communities.

Inna Chang

Click here if you can’t see the video
Patrick McCue 

Click here if you can’t see the video
Zoe Polk

Click here if you can’t see the video
The Rusk Family

Click here if you can’t see the video
Leona Stoecker

Click here if you can’t see the video
For additional information about volunteer opportunities here at Imagine!, please contact Elizabeth Hill by telephone at 303-926-6460. or click here to send her an email.

Imagine!’s Leadership Development Group Update: February 2017

February 21, 2017 - 7:30am
Pictured above (left to right) are Kathryn Craig, Jessica Gaylord,
Cameron Navis, Alicia Burdick, and MacKenzie Haering
Submitted by Alicia Burdick
On December 19, Imagine!’s Leadership Development Group (LDG) attended the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) briefing for the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) at the State Capitol in Denver. HCPF oversees all Medicaid funded programs in Colorado, including the waiver programs operated by Imagine!.

According to the Colorado General Assembly website, the JBC is charged with studying the management, operations, programs, and fiscal needs of the agencies and institutions of Colorado state government. Throughout the year, the JBC holds a number of meetings and considers a range of documents to help prepare budget recommendations for the General Assembly.

The purpose of the briefing was to present the JBC with some of the major issues facing HCPF and allowed the committee to ask questions of the departments, who then have the opportunity to respond at a hearing, which occurs a few weeks later. JBC staff member Megan Davisson prepared the materials, presented to the JBC, and then reported the questions back to the departments to gather their responses for the hearing. If you’d like to read more, you can click here to read their questions and responses.

As a Case Manager, I found the briefing to be fascinating because it allowed me the opportunity to see how the issues that Imagine! and our families face are explained to legislatures who are often unfamiliar with how the Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) system functions across Colorado. Interestingly, a large portion of Ms. Davisson’s presentation regarding HCPF was simply (or maybe not so simply) an overview of I/DD services, and Ms. Davisson provided numerous flow charts to explain the various levels of the I/DD system (federal, state, local, and individual). Because I am so immersed in this system as a Case Manager, I don’t always recognize how complicated the world we operate in truly is, and this presentation allowed me to take a step back and think about it from an outsider’s perspective.

Additionally, another large issue facing the department is Conflict Free Case Management, which involved HCPF submitting a plan that would comply with the federal rule requiring the separation of Case Management services and service delivery. This issue has the potential to have a large impact on Imagine!’s structure, but it is still not entirely clear what that will look like. However, for the first time, this briefing included an outline of a plan that the Department, Community-Centered Boards (CCBs), and providers can follow to ensure compliance. If you’re interested, you can see this plan in full by clicking here.

Attending the briefing was a unique opportunity and we enjoyed the chance to observe our government in action, while getting a glimpse of the larger picture and the impact that this system has on our jobs and the people we serve every day.

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 SparkforAutism.org/JFKPartners, or by contacting us at 303-724-7366 or emailing spark@ucdenver.edu

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 sandra@siblingtree.org or cdhs_cddpc_email@state.co.us

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!

https://www.google.com/maps/place/695+S+Broadway,+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
http://www.imaginecolorado.org/Imaginews
The February 2017 ImagiNe!ws Employee Newsletter is now live on the web.
To view the newsletter, please click on the following link:
http://www.imaginecolorado.org/Imaginews

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