Imagine! Blogs - Voices

Visit Imagine! Voices Blog

Imagine! Innovations Super Hero - Ciera High

Published: June 24, 2019

Congratulations are in order for Ciera High, recently selected as an Imagine! Innovations Super Hero.

Ciera is one of the most reliable members of the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome team. Ciera comes to work every day with a positive attitude, no matter the circumstances. She has been so helpful and calm while we deal with short staffing issues. She is always willing to stay longer than scheduled and do extra tasks to ensure that the individuals are getting what they need. Ciera has helped train one of our new staff members, and ensures that they feel comfortable in their new position at Imagine!. Ciera is an amazing artist and finds creative ways to bring art projects into the home. She recently helped make a sympathy card for an individual to give to a friend and drew a Chihuahua-deer (a staff nickname) for an individual to give to a staff member, which is proudly displayed in our office. Imagine! is lucky to have Ciera as a part of our team. Thank you for all that you do, Ciera!!

Messy Play Day 2019

Published: June 19, 2019

Messy Play Day is one of Imagine!'s Dayspring department's Community Calendar Activities (CCAs). CCAs introduce babies and toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities to places in our community that offer great activities and opportunities for children to meet their goals through fun and play. All activities encourage motor, sensory, social-emotional, cognitive, and speech-language development. Prepare to smile when you view this video.

Honoring Mark's Legacy

Published: June 18, 2019

After 35 years at Imagine!, CEO Mark Emery is moving on to new adventures. To honor his amazing legacy, friends and colleagues have been sharing their thoughts and memories. We’ve included some of them into this short video.


Acronym Use At Imagine!

Published: June 14, 2019

Imagine! is an ARE – acronym rich environment. There are a lot of acronyms we use at Imagine! and in the field of intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD – see what we did there?) Here’s some handy charts to explain some of them.

"Cassie" Dedication Set For June 21

Published: June 12, 2019

After 13 years of looking for a permanent home, "Cassie," a life-size horse sculpture, found a home on Imagine! property. Alonzo Clemons, who accepts services from Imagine!, created Cassie back in 2005. Earlier this year, the city of Lafayette, Colorado purchased the sculpture and chose the Imagine! administration building to display this wonderful art. A dedication ceremony featuring Alonzo and others close to this project will take place June 21. All are invited to 1400 Dixon Ave in Lafayette for the dedication and to see the masterpiece up close and personal!

Imagine! CORE/Labor Source Art Show Opening Reception June 21

Published: June 10, 2019

The opening night reception of the Annual Imagine! CORE/Labor Source Art Show at the Dairy Arts Center is set for June 21. Join us for art, music, and an appreciation of the amazing artists who accept services from Imagine!. The art show, “Masks: How I Feel on the Inside” runs from June 21 – July 14. We’re also very excited to team up with Museo de las Americas for this exhibit!

Stepahine Tilley - Imagine! Early Intervention Rockstar

Published: June 6, 2019

Congratulations are in order for Stephanie Tilley, recently selected as an Imagine! Early Intervention Rockstar.

Stephanie joined the Early Intervention (EI) team in October and has been a sponge with absorbing EI procedures. She never hesitates to ask a question and has a desire for continuous learning! Since Stephanie has worked in other departments here at Imagine! she is open to share her wide ranging knowledge with the team. Stephanie shows dedication to our families by providing timely and quality services. She also has a positive outlook and a contagious laugh. We are overjoyed that she is part of our department.

Imagine! Hosting Two FREE Financial Planning Workshops in July

Published: June 3, 2019

Both trainings will take place at Imagine!'s Coal Creek Building, 1665 Coal Creek Drive in Lafayette.

Shannon Mitchem - Imagine! Excellence in Customer Service Award Recipient

Published: May 31, 2019

Congratulations Shannon Mitchem, recently honored with the Imagine! Excellence in Customer Service Award.

A colleague of Shannon’s shared the following praise:

“As a new employee who has spent decades in the professional realm of public education, I entered Imagine! as a blank slate, knowing I would have a LOT to learn and experience. All I could hope for is to have someone training me who is patient, kind, efficient, and, well, patient (yes, a repeat!). I got that person. Shannon Mitchem has been the BEST trainer I have had, ever. She has methodically walked me through the process of learning this position with care and respect. She gives me just the RIGHT amount of work to do each day, follows up to see if I have questions, and guides me onto the right track anytime I stray...and, believe me, in this position, it is all about accuracy in straying is rough! Shannon truly comes from a position of reflection and focusing on success. She is a kind spirit, a mastermind of knowledge, and doesn't even FLINCH when I ask another question about how to do something---again!”

Imagine! Partners with Naropa University

Published: May 29, 2019

Imagine! has a longstanding relationship with Naropa University and their Community Art Studio (NCAS), a space for Imagine! participants to create various forms of art with Naropa art therapy students. Once a week, Imagine!’s adult day program ventures to Naropa’s Nalanda campus in East Boulder to explore the world of visual and contextual art. Clay work, knitting, mixed media, 3-D sculpture work, and group canvas paintings are just a few ways this group gets their hands dirty and grow as artists.

 First year art therapy students at Naropa use the NCAS to complete a fifty-hour practicum and gain experience working with various groups from the local community. Imagine! is one of four community partners that come in weekly and engage with the art therapy students. “This is not an art class run by a teacher, rather a group run by all participants together,” said Kate Schettler, Lead Mentor of the NCAS. “Everyone has input regarding the direction of their work, everyone takes responsibility for the care of the studio space, and everyone is viewed as an integral member.”

“The general goal of Imagine! art classes is to encourage self-expression in a safe and accepting
environment,” said Imagine! Art Instructor. “One participant in particular has come a long way with feeling more comfortable during participation and showing others what he makes at the studio.

Naropa students offer knowledge, skill, and expertise with art processes, techniques, tools, and materials to the Imagine! participants. “And the group participants offer the same to the student mentors,” said Schettler.

Naropa wanted to practice a form of communal inclusion based on humanistic values such as cultivating a sense of unity within a diverse society. They also were aiming to provide equal access to those who would likely not be able to afford entrance into a fully stocked art studio, and have consistently attempted to work from this inclusive point of view.

The space is welcoming and creative. The Naropa students have the entire semester or year to build rapport with the Imagine! participants, creating a friendly environment with endless possibilities of creative expression.

 We thank Naropa University for including Imagine! in their mission of engaging the community in mindful art creation and social gathering!

**Information and perspective taken from: Unity in Diversity: Community Pluralism in the Art Studio and the Classroom: Written by Michael Franklin, Merryl E Rothaus, and Kendra Schpok.

Imagine!'s Dayspring Bulletin - Summer 2019

Published: May 22, 2019

Imagine!’s latest Dayspring Bulletin is available online.

Imagine!'s Family Support Bulletin May/June 2019

Published: May 17, 2019

Imagine!’s latest Family Support Bulletin is available online.

Thank You, Imagine! Innovations Volunteers

Published: May 9, 2019

Imagine!’s Innovations department would like to recognize and thank two of their volunteers - Merribeth “Beth” Price and Christina Marshall. Beth and Christina have been volunteering with the Innovations administrative team for three years and have been extremely helpful with clerical projects and live class preparation. Christina always finds a way to make others smile with her cheerful presence, and Beth makes it her mission to say hello to every person in the office while bringing much needed levity. Their continued efforts are much appreciated by all Innovations staff members and we look forward to many more years of their support and positivity.

Sylvia Cardozo-McGee - Imagine! Early Intervention Rockstar

Published: May 8, 2019

Congratulations are in order for Sylvia Cardozo-McGee, recently selected as an Imagine! Early Intervention Rockstar.

Sylvia joined EI a year ago. She has been consistent with her work over the year and always puts families first. She makes sure to get her work done effectively, ensuring services start on time for our kiddos. She is always willing to lend a helping hand by taking more referrals and always offering her assistance as needed. Sylvia has a positive attitude around the office, which is infectious. We are lucky to have Sylvia on our team!

Happy Feet Car Wash Supports Imagine! Athletes

Published: May 7, 2019

Support individuals with intellectual disabilities to achieve their fitness goals, and get a clean car to boot! Imagine!’s Out & About Happy Feet Program is holding a car wash on May 15. Donations will go toward registration for a 5K Race the Happy Feet participants have been training for over the past few months.

Karen Collins - Imagine! Excellence in Customer Service Award Recipient

Published: May 6, 2019

Congratulations are in order for Karen Collins, recently honored as an Imagine! Excellence in Customer Service Award recipient.

Karen leads with respect, kindness and support in all of her interactions. She provides a strong foundation to all services and puts forth valiant effort to understand what services need in order to support employees’ overall experience at Imagine!. Without her strong attention and support for services we would not be able to run effective programs. On numerous occasions, she has asked questions about programing and has loved hearing the success stories of staff and people we serve. Karen is a pillar for employees, helping to hold up the quality and standards of Imagine!’s services.

Renata Moore - Imagine! Case Management Unsung Hero

Published: May 3, 2019

Congratulations are in order for Renata Moore, recently selected as an Imagine! Case Management Unsung Hero.

Recently we received these comments from a family who has a loved one in Imagine! services, regarding Renata’s amazing work: “Renata made a very anxious experience for us pleasant and painless. As soon as Renata walked in the front door I immediately felt like this was someone who I could talk to. She immediately set us at ease and made the conversation comfortable, even when asking some very uncomfortable questions. She was compassionate, empathetic, and understanding of how we felt and how the overall situation impacted us. Renata has amazing customer service and she is a great fit for Imagine!.”

Melanie Kline - Imagine! Case Management Unsung Hero

Published: May 1, 2019

Congratulations are in order for Melanie Kline, recently selected as an Imagine! Case Management Unsung Hero.

Melanie joined our Case Management team almost three years ago and has consistently performed like a rock star. She keeps a positive attitude and is always willing to help her team mates and Case Managers problem solve and improve processes. She has an eye for detail and does not balk at tough tasks. Melanie, we are so glad to have you on our team and appreciate who you are and all that you do and juggle to assist Case Managers and the people we serve!

Imagine!'s Dayspring Bulletin - May 2019

Published: April 30, 2019

Imagine!’s latest Dayspring Bulletin is available online.

Alex Beckley - Imagine! Case Management Unsung Hero

Published: April 29, 2019

Congratulations are in order for Alex Beckley, recently selected as an Imagine! Case Management Unsung Hero.

A parent of one of our clients sent the following praise for Alex, who is her daughter’s Case Manager: “I feel compelled to express my deep gratitude, and to recognize Alex for her skilled and attentive work. Alex is extraordinary. She is extremely knowledgeable, and consistently well-educated in Colorado's programs and laws. She stays in close contact with my daughter and ensures that her needs are met. Recently, there was a problem with my daughter’s Medicaid and we could have lost coverage if Alex hadn't alerted us to a problem. This is what I had hoped it would be like to have a Case Manager. My daughter has an ally and a partner with Alex, and I am so very grateful.”

Addie Fleegel - Imagine! Case Management Unsung Hero

Published: April 26, 2019

Congratulations are in order for Addie Fleegel, recently selected as an Imagine! Case Management Unsung Hero.

Addie has been with Imagine! for not quite a year and has quickly learned how to complete basic Targeted Case Management tasks with excellence. Team members shared the following praise: “Addie takes extra steps to include family members as the team. “ “Addie identified a potential Benefit Break and fixed it before the county knew about it.” From a residential provider: “I wanted to tell you that Addie is awesome! I’ve worked with her on a bunch of cases and she’s terrific.” 

Thank you, Addie, for your dedication to Imagine!’s Mission.

Morgan Slaski - Imagine! Early Intervention Rockstar

Published: April 24, 2019

Congratulations are in order for Morgan Slaski, recently selected as an Imagine! Early Intervention Rockstar.

Morgan has been a great asset to our Early Intervention department. She has been consistent with reaching out to all insurance companies and has established a good relationship with all of the agencies. In the short period of time that she has joined EI, she has helped with creating a better flowing process, which has helped the overall department in ensuring our service coordinators are getting insurance verification in a timely manner. We are lucky to have Morgan on our team!

Imagine! the Possibilities: Give on April 25

Published: April 22, 2019

Technology is opening the doors to more opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities, making things that were once impossible, possible.

To support Imagine!’s many technology initiatives, we are hosting a “Day of Giving” on April 25 – twenty four hours to invest in Imagine!’s use of technology to create a world of opportunity for all abilities.

Technologies like:

Voice command technologies that enhance a person's ability to control his/her environment.

Virtual Reality that provides job training and leisure activities.

Remote Supports that allow people to live more independently.

To make the day even more impactful, our credit card vendor is waiving all fees on donations made on our Day of Giving!

Click here to donate on April 25

You can even sign up to get an email reminder sent to you so you don’t miss this fantastic opportunity!

Bella's Story

Published: April 19, 2019

Earlier this year, the Imagine! Foundation held its annual fundraiser gala, hosting 500 guests for a night of guest speakers, featured videos, and a silent and live auction. To kick off the main program, Imagine! welcomed guest speaker Bella Larsen to the stage to share her story and warm up the crowd:

“I’m Bella Larsen and I am on the Imagine! Board of Directors. I also receive services from Imagine!. Lots of my friends get services from Imagine! too. I love Imagine! because they help me and my friends. I also love that I get to meet new people and make new friends. Thank you for coming tonight and I hope that you spend lots and lots of money. Thank you for supporting Imagine!.” 

After asking her how it was speaking in front of 500 people, she laughed and replied, “That was a lot of people! It was good.”

 Bella grew up in Boulder, CO and starting using Imagine! services when she was a little girl. Bella has grown up to be a wise, caring, and generous member of her community, constantly looking for ways to give back. She sees her position on the Imagine! Board of Directors as a way to represent people with disabilities. “Some people I know are non-verbal and can’t say what they’re feeling, so I help by representing them the best I can,” said Bella.

Joining the Board of Directors is an accumulation of her charitable lifestyle. Bella also volunteers at the Boulder Humane Society. “I love it,” said Bella. “It’s like my second home because I know everybody, they’re like family.” Bella helps with laundry, dishes, socializing the dogs, and also at big events. She partnered with the Humane Society ever since middle school, attending volunteer shifts with her mother. As she got older, Bella starting helping out on her own. She has logged over 500 volunteer hours with the Boulder Humane Society.

Bella lives a healthy lifestyle by infusing sports and fitness into her routine. When she was younger, her father would drive her to hockey practice in Littleton. After five years of commuting to south of Denver every week, Bella’s father helped launch the Colorado Ice Wizards, who now operate out of the YMCA in Lafayette. Bella brings her charitable personality to the hockey team as well. “My dad encouraged me once to get on the ice and help the newer players,” said Bella. “So I try to help them whenever I can.”

She recently traveled to Toronto, Canada, participating in the 25th annual Special Hockey International Tournament. Four days straight on the ice, Bella breathed, ate, and slept hockey. During the final game, Bella scored a goal. The hockey season concluded this month, but the off-season just means the sports carousel will oscillate to the next activity. She belongs to the EXPAND swim team in Boulder, will compete in a Special Olympics Regional Competition in April, and run the BolderBoulder in May. “My grandpa was in the Air Force, so I do the BolderBoulder for him (on Memorial Day).”

Last but not least, another bullet point on Bella’s busy schedule is her job. She works at The Roost in Lafayette, a training center for individuals with developmental disabilities. Bella is part of their co-op program, learning vocational skills and earning a profit at the same time. She is looking into a second job at a retirement home, which would allow her to continue helping others and apply the job skills she is learning at The Roost.

Bella was an easy choice to speak at the Imagine! Celebration because of her kind and personable character. She is honest and genuine, all while seeking the good in people. We are lucky to have Bella a part of the Imagine! community and her ongoing support. Thank you, Bella, for all you do in the community, creating a world of opportunity for all abilities!

Imagine! Represents at Four Corners ABA Conference

Published: April 17, 2019

Submitted by Rachel Bowles, Registered Behavior Technician at Imagine!

Tyler Buchholz, Rachel Bowles, and Jeff Kupfer (left to right)
A select number of Imagine!’s behavioral staff were chosen to present an original poster at the Four Corners ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) Annual Conference in Sante Fe, NM. We were referred to submit a poster abstract to this conference by Dr. Jeff Kupfer, a consultant for Imagine!, who established and served on the Board of Directors for Four Corners.

Rachel Bowles and Tyler Buchholz (left to right)
The poster was titled “Effects of Variable DRO and NCR on Attention-Seeking Behaviors in the Context of a Day Program.” We mingled and talked with other presenters at the conference, building our network explaining in more detail what we do at Imagine!. We also had the honor of listening to several experts on many different subjects within the field of Applied Behavior Analysis, over the course of nine sessions at the conference. We met so many interesting and knowledgeable behavioral professionals, and it was truly a lot of fun to hear what they've been up to in the field. We hope to attend and present again in the future, as it was a great experience and a very informative conference!

** DRO = Differential Reinforcement of Other Behaviors
** NCR = Non-Contingent Reinforcement