Imagine! Blogs - Then Again What Do I Know
Published: March 16, 2018
And here's the show in its entirety:
Published: March 9, 2018
Imagine!’s mission is to create a world of opportunity for all abilities. We’ve always know that there’s no way for us to do that alone. We need community partners who support and enhance our work. We’re at our best when our community is an equal partner in our work.
Today I’m going to demonstrate how beneficial our community partnerships can be by highlighting the two-plus year collaboration between the YMCA of Boulder Valley and Imagine!’s Out & About department.
As part of the collaboration, Out & About provides the YMCA of Boulder Valley with:
- Training and support for their staff members who work in their business office and front desks, with an emphasis on how to create a more welcoming environment for people with developmental disabilities and their family members.
- Training to staff members working in their summer day camp and after school programs.
- Consultations for supporting individual children.
- Advice on how to handle registration, how to create more welcoming materials, and assisting in the creation of a consistent registration and assessment form.
- Trainings in a “lunch-and-learn” format, including a recent training on Person First Language and Inclusion.
In return, the YMCA of Boulder Valley offers Out & About:
- Use of their facilities and completely waived entrance fees and rental charges for their studio spaces for Out & About’s Summer Camp, After School Program, and School Closure Day programs for children.
- Same for Out & About’s Catalog Program for Adults, which regularly uses the Y twice a week.
Thanks to the YMCA of Boulder Valley and Out & About for demonstrating Imagine!’s mission in action.
Published: March 7, 2018
Today is Spread the Word to End the Word Day! Help us raise awareness about the hurtfulness of the R-word by pledging to eliminate the derogatory use of the word from everyday speech and promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.
Learn more and take the pledge here.
Published: March 6, 2018
Touring Imagine!’s SmartHome recently: Arielle Hudson, a Junior at Regis University majoring in Education with a specialty in special needs. Arielle also happens to be the granddaughter of Imagine! Ambassador Extraordinaire Leona Stoecker, and we were delighted to have her take the tour.
Published: March 2, 2018
Imagine! recently conducted a satisfaction survey among individuals and families who had recently interacted with the Imagine! Intake Team.
The results were, pardon the pun, extremely satisfying! It is clear that our Intake Team is remarkably skilled, and their work is so vital in getting people who may be entering into the world of services for individuals with intellectual delays and disabilities started the right way. Below you will see some of the overwhelmingly positive results of the survey.
Congrats to the Imagine! Intake Team.
And here’s a few comments from survey respondents:
Staff was awesome.
We had a great experience with Imagine! as well as the transition out of the program and into preschool for our now 3-year old son with hearing loss.
The Imagine! staff was fantastic at every step of the way!
Thankful for this help for our family and little guy!
Very happy with your team, thanks!
Lovely team. Warm, personable ladies. Thank you!
Everything has been wonderful.
Published: February 27, 2018
It is the spring semester at the University of Colorado, and for us at Imagine!, that means another opportunity to collaborate with University of Colorado Engineering students in a class taught by Associate Professor Melinda Piket-May.
For the past eight years, students in these classes have worked on projects to design adaptive technologies to aid increased independence for some of the individuals Imagine! serves. To start the project out right, Imagine! representative Fred Hobbs presented to the class last Wednesday, providing the background and historical context that makes these projects so meaningful to our fellow citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Check out the video below to see some examples of previous assistive tech projects created by CU students. We look forward to sharing more at the end of the semester!
Can’t see the video? Click here.
Published: February 23, 2018
Today I’d like to recognize Imagine! employees Quincy Hegeman and Jason Kingsbury, both of whom have been nominated for the Alliance Direct Support Professional of the Year Award. Alliance is a nonprofit, statewide 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 (I/DD). This award recognizes the incredible work DSPs do every day to improve the lives of Colorado citizens with I/DD.
Below is some information, taken directly from their nominations, demonstrating why these two stellar Imagine! employees are perfect candidates for this prestigious award.
Quincy is thorough and professional when she communicates with participants. She sets him/her up for success by creating a detailed schedule of the activity, and always gives them a safe platform to communicate his/her needs. Quincy combines a professional therapeutic style with her personal/friendly demeanor to build rapport and a safe environment for all participants.
Quincy has developed numerous relationships with individual participants, to the point where she can encourage them to participate in a new activity that is outside their comfort zone. Due to the high quality of support and type of relationships she builds with participants and their families, she has been asked to do respite on the side many times. For example, she took a participant skiing for the first time and assisted him in getting comfortable on the slopes. Families really trust her.
When Quincy comes back to the office after a shift, she always shares a success story her assigned participant. She offers tips and tricks to be added to the therapeutic plan or talks to the therapeutic coordinator on how to best support such person.
She has become a strong leader among all instructors and offers a wealth of knowledge and experience for others to learn and better their skills in the field. Her knowledge is trusted due to her high quality of service. Quincy strives every day to make sure her participants are getting the most out of each activity, whether it is teaching them something new or assisting them in completing a project or activity with a sense of pride.
Jason is part of Imagine!'s CORE/Labor Source team. There is hardly a corner of the Imagine! community that Jason hasn’t touched. Over the ten plus years that Jason has been with the organization, Jason has worked in multiple group homes and at day program, supporting individuals to grow and achieve their potentials. For years, Jason regularly puts in overtime, working 6-7 days in a row to fill staffing hours across the organization. His time and efforts have made a real impact keeping group homes open during staffing shortages. Jason is always willing to sacrifice his time to help the team make it happen.
In the course of my time with Jason, he has also demonstrated a dogged advocacy for clients with intense and challenging behaviors. Jason has always been willing to jump in and work the most intensive challenges, and has helped me, personally, to understand the significance of this service. No matter how difficult these challenges have been, Jason has consistently modeled a sense of determined and graceful patience in those moments, even going so far as to educate members of the community with regard to how Imagine! supports those with significant behavioral challenges, and how these individuals deserve a space in the community as much as anyone else.
Direct support requires balance, and Jason demonstrates this trait across every aspect of his work at Imagine!. Over his career, Jason as developed real friendships with the people we serve and at the same time maintains professionalism in his rapport. Jason balances his heart and compassion with effectively implementing behavior therapy. And Jason time and again demonstrates that supporting clients is only a part of the picture. Jason shows up for his fellow team members, too, providing a space where his peers feel comfortable sharing the success and their frustrations. In this capacity, Jason mentors both his coworkers and the clients with whom he works. Moreover, Jason balances his eagerness to improve the lives of the people we serve with a sense of patience and understanding that gives those clients the time and space they need to grow into themselves and develop real, meaningful relationships within their community. And through it all, Jason has always brought a smile to his work.
The winner of the Alliance DSP of the Year Award will be announced next Wednesday, February 28, at Alliance’s Annual I/DD Awareness Day at the State Capitol in Denver. I don’t know if Quincy or Jason will be selected as the winner, but I do know that either way, Imagine! and the people we serve have already won by having these two as part of our staff! I am honored to call them my colleagues.
Published: February 16, 2018
|Mackie's big smile after losing her two |
front teeth on both top and bottom.
Photo credit: Elizabeth Hill
Published: February 9, 2018
Earlier this week, Imagine! hosted a group of international visitors from China who are interested in learning more about non-profit management in the United States. We enjoyed their company and appreciate their interest in Imagine!. These visitors were invited to the United States under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program, and the visit was arranged by Meridian International Center.
The visitors are spending time going to a variety of non-profits and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) across the county, following these specific objectives:
- Explore the history and evolution of the non profit sector in the U.S. and the tax structure that supports public/private cooperation;
- Illustrate the diversity of the non profit sector in the U.S. and the dynamic relationships between business, government, and non governmental organizations;
- Examine innovative technology and management strategies used by non governmental organizations (NGOs) in the U.S.; and
- Review NGO methodologies for strengthening leadership; recruiting, training, and retaining volunteers; fundraising; and advocacy.
Published: February 2, 2018
Last Saturday night’s Annual Imagine! Celebration was a triumph of community coming together to help create a world of opportunity for all abilities. We’ll share more details later, but here’s the key number to remember: the preliminary revenue results indicate that the event brought in $430,226.00 in support of Imagine!’s mission!
If you missed the event, below is a video we debuted that evening, telling the story of the Gehr family. The video demonstrates how far we have come as a society (thanks to organizations such as Imagine!) when it comes to offering opportunities for community living for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Now, some “thank yous” are in order.
Imagine! Foundation Board of Directors President Don Brown emceed the program with humor and compassion. Katie Hawkins, Heather Sabo and the Celebration Committee created a memorable, warm ambiance in the ballroom and hallways, with an auction chock-full of great items and experiences. Auctioneer Gary Corbett and his team delivered great results. George Karakehian captivated the audience expressing what is in his heart for Imagine!. The Gehr Family shared a story that needed to be told – look how far we have come as a society, and how much we all benefit from knowing people with intellectual disabilities! Bob Von Eschen gave an impassioned pitch and set the bar high. The Imagine! staff volunteers were phenomenal ambassadors. Our many sponsors helped fill the tables with generous and giving souls.
And a special hats off to Imagine! Foundation Executive Director Patti Micklin for her leadership and passion!
Published: January 31, 2018
Today I’d like to offer a hearty “fare thee well” to my friend and colleague Greg Wellems, who after 27 years here at Imagine! is moving to a new position with Pennsylvania with Keystone Human Services.
During his tenure here, Greg has made Imagine! and the people we serve his passion, and his legacy will be the many, many lives he has improved through his creativity, innovation, and hard work. So many of the aspects of Imagine! that we are renowned for – our pioneering use of technology in services, as just one example – are a direct result of Greg’s efforts.
I will miss having him here, and my job will be more difficult without his wise insights and counsel. But I am heartened to know that he will continue to work toward a world of opportunity for all abilities, and I wish him nothing but the best.
Published: January 26, 2018
Published: January 19, 2018
Next week is the 17th Annual Imagine! Celebration – our major fundraising event featuring dinner, silent and live auctions, and stories that connect the audience to Imagine!’s mission of creating a world of opportunity for all abilities.
To tell those stories, we usually debut a video about an individual or family served by Imagine! during the event, which discusses how Imagine! has positively impacted their lives. Today I’d like to share a few of the videos created for previous celebrations. I think by watching them you will get a sense of how important our work is, and why we do what we do.
Miah’s Story (from 2017 Celebration)
Gerald’s Story (from 2016 Celebration)
Emily’s Story (from 2015 Celebration)
Meredith’s Story (from 2014 Celebration)
Published: January 17, 2018
Many readers of this blog may be aware of National Public Radio’s “Abused and Betrayed,” a series of reports about the astonishing rate of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have been victims of sexual assault.
Sadly, this story was not news to those of us at Imagine!. We have long been aware that the population we serve is especially vulnerable to this type of crime.
We have explored ways to address this epidemic of sexual assault. A few years ago Imagine! participated in “Intersections,” a collaboration between Imagine! and Boulder-based Moving to End Sexual Assault (MESA), funded by a grant from the Office on Violence Against Women. The ultimate goals of the grant were to facilitate sustainable system change at both MESA and Imagine!, and to help MESA as well as Imagine! staff and volunteers improve both organizations’ ability to serve people with disabilities who have experienced sexual assault.
You can learn more about the collaboration here.
The value of the collaboration and the increased knowledge we came away with as a result cannot be overstated. We are a wiser organization and better equipped to support those we serve who have been victims of sexual assault.
But of course it was just the beginning, and as the NPR series indicates, we still have a very long way to go in ensuring that our fellow citizens with I/DD are safe from these horrible violations of their person. I ask all of you reading this to commit to being part of the solution to this epidemic – we will never have a world of opportunity for all abilities without significantly reducing the risk of sexual assault among people with I/DD.
Then again, what do I know?
Published: January 16, 2018
Imagine! recently debuted a new look and feel for our website.
Check it out!
Published: January 12, 2018
The 17th Annual Imagine! Celebration, scheduled for Saturday, January 27, will feature dinner, silent and live auctions, and stories that connect the audience to Imagine!’s mission of creating a world of opportunity for all abilities.
This amazing event can’t happen without the support of many generous business and individual sponsors, and today I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge their contributions. Check out the list below (click on the image to make it larger), and be sure to visit the businesses and/or thank the individuals if you get a chance!
Published: January 9, 2018
The Colorado State Innovation Model (SIM) and Health First Colorado (Medicaid) need your input on the use of telehealth and e-consults to improve patient access to care and identify barriers to the use of this technology. They are asking interested parties to please complete a short, telehealth/eConsult survey by Jan. 17, 2018.
Click here to take the survey.
Published: January 8, 2018
I’m sure every one of my readers has experienced that aggravating feeling of being stuck in a construction related traffic jam. Cones, barrels, and signs direct us this way and that, we stop and start and then stop and start again, and frequently we aren’t even sure what the result of the construction will be and will it be an improvement?
We can all relate to that feeling – and that’s the feeling that many of us serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in Colorado have felt in the last two decades as we try to navigate the many changes our system has undergone.
To give you some idea of the kinds of barriers, stops, and starts our field has experienced, please take a look at the documents below, which was included as part of a Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) staff budget briefing for the Colorado State Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee. The document lists the significant policy changes which have taken place in Colorado’s I/DD system since 1999 (click on the images to make them larger).
Now, to be clear and fair, most of the changes were implemented for what on the surface appear to be good reasons and by people who I have no doubt want the best for our fellow citizens who happen to have developmental disabilities. But the sheer number of changes, many of which were enacted seemingly with little regard to other existing rules or policies, and many of which were unfunded mandates placing the financial burden of implementing them on community providers, can make even the most dedicated champions of people with I/DD wonder when and where the traffic jam of complex policies will end.
While this may just sound like complaining about making the lives of those that work at Imagine! and similar organizations across the state more difficult, the issue is much bigger than that. The policy traffic jam has created significant uncertainty in our field, and may have the potential to put access to services and people at risk. When organizations don’t know the best route to take to get clear of the blocked traffic, it is likely many will just pull over and park and wait and see what happens next.
Parking and waiting is not an option in this case. We have a responsibility, all of us in the system, to get ourselves out of this traffic jam so we can ensure that Coloradoans with I/DD can live fulfilling lives in their homes and communities.
Then again, what do I know?
Published: January 5, 2018
Over the past six months, Imagine! and the Association for Community Living (ACL) have been providing training for Imagine! Case Managers to help them build non-technical case management skills in order to enhance the overall quality of case management provided by Imagine!.
The training, made possible by funding from Boulder County, helps teach Case Managers skills such as meeting facilitation, problem solving, collaboration/relationship management, community resource development, and person-centered practices.
By focusing on developing skills that aren’t necessarily part of traditional Case Management job requirements or training, the hope for this project is to increase satisfaction with case management services for Boulder County citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families, and to decrease the number of ACL advocacy requests resulting from case management interaction.
During 2017, Imagine! Case Managers had five full-staff, one-half day trainings in addition to several smaller trainings. Overall, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and the goal of better services seems as if it is being realized. More trainings are scheduled for the first six months of 2018.
At a recent training (pictured below), Eva Klemens, who works for Imagine! Behavioral Health Services and is a parent of an individual in services, presented to the group on case management services from the perspective of a parent. Attendees agreed the presentation was a moving reminder of how case management plays such a vital role in ensuring our fellow citizens with I/DD are contributing members of their communities.
We thank Boulder County and the ACL for their support of this meaningful effort to improve our community and the lives of individuals with I/DD.
Published: January 2, 2018
On the December 27th edition of AMPLIFY, host Jennifer Ciplet and her guests discuss an exciting collaboration between Imagine! and the University of Colorado Boulder College of Engineering and Applied Science. The guests on the December 27th Edition of AMPLIFY include Professor Melinda Piket-May, CU Boulder engineering student Sarah DaFoe, and Director of Public Relations at Imagine!, Fred Hobbs.
AMPLIFY: Stories of University-Community Collaborations is a production of CU Engage, the Center for Community-Based Learning and Research at CU Boulder, in partnership with independent community radio KGNU. The show aims to amplify the voices of students and community partners who are working together to generate new knowledge and actions to address public challenges.
Published: December 29, 2017
As the year comes to a close, it seemed like the perfect time to thank the many, many generous donors who support Imagine!’s mission and join us in our quest to create a world of opportunity for all abilities.
Below is a list of our donors for fiscal year 2016-2017 (7/1/16 - 6/30/17). Click on the images for a larger view.
Published: December 26, 2017
One guest speaker at this year’s conference was Professor Mischa Dohler, Director at Centre for Telecommunications Research, Kings College London. Professor Dohler’s keynote presentation was on “The Internet of Skills- Democratizing Labor and Empowering Humans.” He talked about how the current internet available is able to transmit information through video and audio but unable to transmit information through touch.
Kings College in London is working with colleagues globally to pioneer the “tactile internet” which will allow users to transmit touch in real time. Professor Dohler wore a haptic glove during his presentation, capable of recording muscle movement and sensing touch through the internet. One vision for this technology is that end users will be able to shop on Amazon by 2020 using the glove to feel what they are purchasing online.
Using the glove and Internet of Skills, people could perform a variety of tasks remotely. So, how does it work? A person (teacher) would be able to put on the haptic glove (exoskeleton) and perform a task, then upload that information onto the internet of skills database, allowing someone else to learn a task from across the globe by putting on a glove and downloading the information. The sensing glove, capable of recording hand movements, would allow users to mimic the teacher’s movements in order to learn a skill. For example, a teacher on one end could wear the glove to record themselves playing the piano, allowing a user on the other end to pick up a glove and learn the piano using the recorded hand movements of the teacher.
The Internet of Skills’ application possibilities do not stop at learning to play an instrument. A surgeon could teach a group of students to perform robotic surgery. Doctors may be able to treat patients from thousands of miles away, potentially in remote areas where medical skills could be lacking. This sensory glove may provide someone with limited fine motor function the ability to perform a task they wouldn’t otherwise be able to. By expanding on haptic technology already available, Professor Dohler believes that the Internet of Skills will democratize labor in the same way that the internet has made knowledge available to everyone.
View a keynote presentation from Mischa Dohler here.
Brodie Schulze, an employee with Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source and member of this year’s Leadership Development Group, gave another noteworthy presentation during a morning breakout session alongside Professor Melinda Piket-May of the University of Colorado’s Engineering Department.
For several years, Imagine! has collaborated with the CU’s Engineering Department to create a variety of assistive technology projects that aid increased independence for the people we serve. Each semester, Imagine! presents Professor Piket-May’s freshman engineering class with a list of assistive technology projects to choose from. The students work in groups of four on a project of their choosing. Instead of purchasing text books, each student chips in $75, giving the groups $300 toward completing the project.
This collaboration not only allows Imagine! to overcome funding restraints and limited product availability, but also provides CU Engineering Students the unique opportunity to work closely with the individuals we serve. Throughout the semester, the students work face to face with the individual to develop a personalized product of adaptive technology, aimed at supporting increased independence for that individual. Past assistive technology projects have included a mechanical whiffle ball bat, a wheelchair Wii adapter, and a wheelchair laundry carrier.
See a project presentation from CU students here.
Published: December 22, 2017
A couple of Holiday stories for you today.
First, a wrap up (pun intended) of Imagine!’s Annual Gift Giving Drive.
Thanks to the generosity of many, we were able to provide gifts for 110 adults and 256 children!
Donations were provided by:
Nativity of our Lord Church in Broomfield
RE/MAX Alliance Longmont
Louisville Dental Associates
And many other generous individuals.
We also thank the volunteers from The University of Colorado Leeds School of Business Leeds Council.
And earlier this week, Imagine!’s Case Management team hosted a Holiday office/cubical decorating contest. The results: the spirit of the season was with us all!
Enjoy the pictures below, and I hope you have a wonderful and joyous Holiday!
Published: December 19, 2017
Touring Imagine!’s SmartHome last week: students from St. Vrain Valley School District’s Innovation Center and two IBM employees acting as mentors to the students. Tour guide and Imagine! Ambassador extraordinaire Leona Stoecker said about the ‘tourists’: “I was truly astounded at all they had done in preparation for their tour of the SmartHome. They wanted to know how to communicate with the residents and had a long list of prepared questions that might be appropriate.”
Published: December 15, 2017
Imagine! is a community organization, and we are so fortunate to live in a community that supports us in so many different and meaningful ways. Below are just a few recent examples.
First, a big shout out to Kylie Angulo, a local student who recently convinced her school, through her love of others, to have the school fundraiser give its proceeds to Imagine!. We are so honored and touched by her actions and by her commitment to creating a world of opportunity for all abilities! Thank you, Kylie!
Next, local Cross Fit gym MOOV hosted their “Kettlebells for Christmas” event last Saturday, which raised $3,407 for Imagine!. This is the third year in a row that MOOV has selected Imagine! as the recipient of donations from this fun (and healthy) event, and we are sincerely grateful.
Finally, a group of University of Colorado seniors working towards a Leadership Studies Minor selected Imagine!’s Out & About department for their leadership challenge assignment. The students looked at ways to improve recruitment of summer employees for Out & About’s Summer Camp as well as ways to increase retention of current employees. The students presented their findings and recommendations last week, and we were blown away by their thoughtful, wise, and creative counsel.