Welcome to Rebecca's Report!
On this page you will find the previous posts for 2020.
The Meaning of "Imagine"
As we prepare for the future, we know that the environment is going to be very different, thanks to the conflict free Case Management rules that are being implemented. The landscape for how potential customers are connected with local PASAs will change and Imagine! needs to strengthen its marketing efforts. Part of that involves establishing ourselves in the minds of our community as the go to organization with services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In order to do that effectively, we need to unify all our brands.
Starting this year, all of our external facing materials will not refer to our services as Out & About, CORE/Labor Source, and Innovations. Throughout 2020, we will make the necessary changes to phase out these names from our internal communications. The chart below helps illustrate the different names.
Aligning the individual departments with the Imagine! brand will:
- Support Imagine! as a robust nonprofit, helping all areas of our community.
- Establish each department so that potential partners, community leaders, and families understand they have the full support of Imagine!.
- Strengthen our efforts as we work on community out¬reach, fundraising, and corporate sponsorships.
The most important piece to keep in mind is that the way services are delivered WILL NOT change. The way in which your respective departments operate will remain the same. This change is certainly a culture shift, as the sub brand names are infused into the workings of Imagine!. I thank you in advance for your patience and support as we roll out this project.
What’s in a name? Plenty, when it comes to the name of our organization: Imagine!. As we undergo the process of unifying our branding under that single name, I thought it would be fun to talk to employees about what the word “imagine” means to them. Additionally, I wanted to see if anyone knew the history behind the name. Check out the video below to see the responses that I got as well as learn the reason why our organization is called Imagine!:
The Power of the Parent (and Family)
This month I want to talk to you all about the impact of parents and family members, a topic that is very near and dear to my heart.
My older brother and I are deaf and while growing up, we watched our parents challenge our school district to provide high quality services in the classroom. It was a long battle, but one that changed my life for the better, and one that I want to share with all of you.
Growing up in Erie, PA, like any other child in the 90s, I was involved in a lot of school activities, loved to ice skate, teased my hair up high, and rocked turtlenecks. The only difference was that I required some extra support in school for my hearing loss.
When I was transitioning to 5th grade, I was re-evaluated for my IEP, but there were several flaws in this process. Flaws that were unacceptable to my parents. After unsuccessfully reaching a consensus with the school administrators about what was needed for me to be successful in the classroom, my parents made the difficult decision to bring a lawsuit against the district. This lawsuit lasted several years, and wasn’t concluded until after I had graduated high school.
In my experience, people who don’t understand accessibility or rights granted to people with disabilities under the Americans with Disability Act, come from a place of ignorance. Fortunately, I’ve also found that once you begin the conversation of how to make an environment inclusive and accessible, most people are willing to learn and work with you. Being a witness to my parent’s advocacy for my brother and I taught me the lesson that a persistent and assertive message of accessibility is the pathway to systemic change.
Reflecting on the power of my parents' involvement is the inspiration behind the creation of the Imagine! Parent Advisory Committee (IMPAC). The purpose of IMPAC is to leverage the stakeholder input of family members of individuals receiving services from Imagine!. My goal is to keep a close pulse reading on the concerns and interests of this important group so that I am well positioned to represent their loved ones in my role. There will also be opportunities for this group to be involved in shaping policy discussions. These are the early days of IMPAC and it may evolve with time but if you know of a family member who would appreciate being a part of this effort, please click on the link below for more information.
If you are interested in joining IMPAC, please click here for more information and to sign up!
Life in the Time of Coronavirus
Coronavirus Update from the Imagine! CEO
Learning from Imagine!'s History - Interview with 3 CEOs
Returning to the Office in August
Starting August 17th, we will begin reopening the Dixon and Coal Creek offices. We wanted to extend the deadline because everyone's needs are being met right now and we don't want to put additional pressures on you while you have other concerns, such as childcare. This is another way we want to help take care of you while you take care of yourselves. As a reminder, please continue to stay in contact with your supervisor about your schedule and your needs while working from home. When the office does reopen, we have guidelines in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our staff and the people we serve. Additionally, we will not have public hours until further notice and visitors can come to the building by appointment only. While we are all excited to see each other in person again, we must first adhere to the following rules and procedures.
For a general overview of what your day will look like, check out this animation that stars a very familiar icon from Imagine!.
For more specific details, please download and save this guide to use as a reference for how to stay safe in the office.
Also, if you missed the Town Hall meeting, please click here to access the video. And finally, with all that is happening in the world, I want to emphasize again the need for self-care and gratitude. I am so grateful for the work you are all putting in, and so many of you have gone above and beyond to help ensure the safety and wellbeing of the people we serve.
Imagine!'s Response to Black Lives Matter
In just two months, this country has seen the beginning of a massive movement towards dismantling systemic and individual racism. This is a movement that has sparked action in all 50 states, amongst several hundreds of companies, and within the hearts of even more citizens across the globe. Imagine! is no different in that we are working hard to fight against the discrimination of Black lives and others affected by racism in the state of Colorado and the United States. Just as we worked diligently to free those with I/DD who were locked away in institutions and treated as less than, we will work hard to confront our bias, learn, listen, and grow to support Black lives.
This month a group of Imagine! employees came together to create the Imagine! Black Lives Matter Coalition, a committee dedicated to that goal. They discussed a great many topics, including options on how we can support our employees, clients, and community as a whole during this overhaul of thought and policies. The video above has a few more specifics on that group’s activities, as well as on what the Imagine! leadership team has done so far to learn more about the topic and explore how we can be better allies for this movement.
Imagine! is coming from a place of love, first and foremost, and while we do not tolerate any kind of racism in our company, we still have work to do to ensure we are no longer complicit in the discrimination of Black people, Indigenous folks, or any Person of Color.
We’ve also included a list of resources you can access to help you become a better ally as well. Please click here to download the pdf of these resources. Thank you for all that you do for supporting individuals at Imagine! and helping to change society for the better.
Celebrating One Year of Rebecca's Reports
I introduced the report and shared my vision for the future of Imagine!.
I took a little time to highlight Imagine! DSPs and our Care Coordination team members. There are short clips of me high fiving some folks, which makes me so nostalgic for the days when we could slap hands safely!
I provided a glimpse of Imagine!’s position in the world. We are a large and complex organization, with a lot of moving parts, and it benefits all of our employees to have a sense of the global view of our work.
January was a fun one for me, as I went around to various Imagine! locations (another activity I sorely miss) to ask employees what the word “imagine” meant to them.
I shared my personal story of living with a disability and how that has influenced my life, my career, and my leadership style.
March and April 2020
And then … the coronavirus hit. In March and April, I shared video updates (done at home – a new experience for me!) about Imagine!’s response and planning for the pandemic. Those first couple of months were especially difficult for all of us – information was scarce and contradictory, and people were justifiably scared. However, I am very proud to say Imagine!, and especially Imagine! employees, adjusted and persevered, and continue to do so to this day.
I also saw the pandemic as a learning opportunity, and in May I reached out to my two previous predecessors to get their thoughts and a little advice on dealing with this major challenge, and shared the highlights of that conversation with all Imagine! staff members.
In June, we had put out all the big fires and had a little time to start planning for the future. I (and a cartoon cat) shared some tips and tricks for returning to the office (which at the time we thought would be happening soon). As of this writing, we still haven’t fully returned to working strictly at our offices, and that may not happen all winter. But when it does, we’ll be prepared!
And last month, I made sure to address another big event happening in the world around us: the Black Lives Matter movement. In a video to employees, I made it clear that we stood in support and solidarity with the movement, and pledged that Imagine! is committed to do the work necessary to ensure we are not complicit in the discrimination of BIPOC.
Introducing the Imagine! Board of Directors
Many of you know that Imagine! is governed by the Imagine! Board of Directors. This group of volunteers, including parents of people with I/DD, clients of Imagine!, and members of the community, come together with the same passion and goal - to support our work in creating a world of opportunity for all abilities. Their responsibilities include, but are not limited to, determining the organization’s mission and purpose, selecting the chief executive, providing proper financial oversight, ensuring Imagine! has adequate resources, ensuring legal and ethical integrity, enhancing Imagine!’s public standing, and supporting me and assessing my performance as the CEO. Each board member has valuable professional and personal experiences that aid them in effectively carrying out their legal duties. Whether they work in finance, real estate or any other industry, all contribute important expertise and insight that help me effectively lead this organization. I am grateful to have this smart, engaged group of individuals serving on our Board.
Imagine!’s Board of Directors meetings are open to the public and are held during most months. Click on this link for more information: https://imaginecolorado.org/about/board-of-directors
Please note that this prezi works best in Chrome.
Vote Yes on Amendment B
Many of you will soon begin to receive your ballots to vote in the upcoming election. This election is so incredibly critical for so many reasons, and I implore you all to exercise your constitutional right by voting. For Coloradans, and Imagine! stakeholders in particular, there is one amendment included on the ballot that I wish to emphasize. Amendment B will decide whether or not to repeal the Gallagher Amendment, and will ultimately impact how much funding Imagine! receives from local taxes.
The Gallagher Amendment:
- Was established in 1982 in order to split the total tax property burden between residential and commercial properties
- Has not evolved with the increase of residential properties, thus resulting in an uneven tax burden on commercial properties
- Forces schools, hospitals, fire departments, and organizations like Imagine! to cut their budgets despite increased need for their services
Repealing the Gallagher Amendment
- Would mean that all of those businesses would have more money in their budgets to help the community as a whole
- Ensure that schools, first responders, and organizations like Imagine! will continue to have access to critical funding to support their services
This year has been tumultuous for us all and before it ends, we are presented with an incredible task of deciding not only our country’s future, but the future of our local and state communities as well.
I encourage you to watch the short video that I’ve included below, which will give you more information about Amendment B and what it means for Imagine!. You can also visit to learn about who has endorsed the repeal, ballot info, and more.
Additionally, if you wish to spread the word in your community, download this and start sharing on your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts. I greatly appreciate any and all support that you can give in order to ensure everyone says Yes on Amendment B.
Imagine! Community and Employment Services Fireside Chat
The history of Imagine! has always been one of change and adaptation to new environments and realities. Even by those standards, the last few months have seen change on a scale almost unimaginable.
However, Imagine!’s 50+ years of success has come in many ways due to not only our ability to react to change, but to proactively plan before changes can have a negative impact on our work. With the ongoing challenges of COVID-19 and its impact on services, policy changes that will dramatically disrupt the way we deliver our employment services, and real threats of continued reductions in state and local funds for the next two fiscal years, now more than ever we will need to quickly adapt and learn how to do more with less to protect the individuals in our services.
With that goal in mind, this past summer we undertook a restructuring plan designed to flatten our Service Departments’ leadership hierarchy. The plan was cost neutral and is creating efficiencies that are enabling me to work more closely with the various teams within our service departments.
Several months in to that effort, I thought it would be a good time to revisit that plan with you all. In the video below, I talk with Kim Cortes, Elena Ciaravino, and Lauren Riley to take a deep dive into the past, present, and future of our Community and Employment Services.
Don’t forget you can learn more about all of Imagine!’s Direct Services at www.imaginedirectservices.org.
Introducing the 2020 Imagine! Employees of Distinction
Each year we ask all employees to share with the Secret Employee of Distinction Selection Committee nominations for Imagine! employees who exemplify the mission, values, and principles of Imagine!, who inspire the individuals we serve to be their best, and who surpass every expectation anyone could have of them.
This year, we received 80 Employee of Distinction nominations for a total of 53 people, the most ever in both categories. So it is fair to say that even among the talented and dedicated crowd of Imagine! employees, the 2020 honorees truly stood out.
Michelle Breault, Elena Ciaravino, Rick Kirker, Tyler Little, Paula McCormick, Karen Quirk, Cara Sheridan, and Mei Lin Wright were all identified by their coworkers as employees who go above and beyond even the above and beyond we see every day at Imagine!. Their recognition is well deserved, especially in this difficult year, and I am honored to call them my colleagues.
Check out the video below to learn a little more about these exceptional Imagine! employees.