Welcome to Rebecca's Report!
On this page you will find the previous posts for 2021.
Imagine!’s Strategic Plan: Learn All About the Plan that Drives Imagine!’s Goals
Every five years, Imagine! renews its strategic plan. This is a team effort that includes the Imagine! Executive Team, both Boards of Directors, and a subset of employees. The strategic plan will create direction for the organization, support decision making, and allocate resources. We kicked off the next iteration of the planning process last month and will work on it through this winter and spring. As always, I will keep you all updated as we progress through the plan. If you have any questions about the strategic plan or where you fit in, please feel free to reach out to me or your supervisor.
Below you will find a fun little video to help explain the process of developing the strategic plan, what we’ve done in the past, and how you can get involved.
Behind the Scenes of the 20th Annual Imagine! Celebration
Every year the Imagine! Foundation hosts a gala to raise money for Imagine!’s programs. In previous years, this event was held at local venues that catered elaborate meals for the 400+ people who attended in person. Silent auction items would line the hallways that lead to the ballroom, and guests would be allowed to peruse the items while mingling and grabbing a special cocktail. The pandemic has changed a lot, and the Imagine! Celebration is no different. Back in September, Patti Micklin, Heather Sabo, and the Imagine! Celebration Committee, led by Zoe Polk, worked tirelessly to try and plan for a safe way to have the Imagine! Celebration during the pandemic. They brainstormed several ideas and landed on hosting a live stream on YouTube.
Creating this event was no small feat, as a great many of those involved had never created a live stream of this caliber. Luckily with the help of Bolder Events, Patti and her team were able to learn quickly and present a flawless celebration that we at Imagine! had never seen before. With over 500 people registered, 750 live stream viewers, and more than $390,000 raised, it is without a doubt that the 20th Annual Imagine! Celebration was a smash hit!
Personally, I am quite used to dressing up, mingling with Imagine! and Imagine! Foundation Board Members before the show, and raising a glass to toast Imagine!. This year, however, I was able to enjoy a wonderful Big Red F Restaurant Group meal, hang out with my family, put my feet up, and toast Imagine! from the comfort of my own home. It was different to be sure, but I always enjoy the opportunity to spend more time with my family.
If you wish to view the Imagine! Celebration live stream, you can watch the recorded version here: 20th Annual Imagine! Celebration Livestream.
It took a monumental effort to bring all of this to fruition. Below is a behind the scenes sneak peek with commentary from Patti Micklin, the Imagine! Foundation Executive Director. Enjoy!
Protecting People with Disabilities from COVID
A year ago this month we were all abruptly thrown into the COVID-19 pandemic and what would be a whirlwind of a year. 2021, however, is the year for hope. Vaccines started rolling out earlier this year, and will soon be provided to everyone in our community.
Early in this process, however, we noticed a gap in Colorado’s COVID Vaccination Distribution list that put many of the people we serve later on the priority list. Studies have shown that some of the individuals we serve are more likely to develop complications from COVID-19, so without a doubt they needed to be prioritized for the vaccine. This was something my team and I fought hard for, and I am so excited to share with you that we will be hosting two vaccine clinics in April for people with IDD. Our plan wasn’t simply to administer the vaccine, but to do so in such a way that was comfortable, accessible, and safe for those in our services. We hope to vaccinate up to 1,000 people on April 2nd and April 16th. The forms to sign up as well as a FAQ can be found on this page: COVID-19 Community Vaccination Clinics Information
I would like to take the time to express my deepest gratitude to ACL and Boulder County Public Health for partnering with us to provide this service. Additionally, thanks to Jenna Corder, the Imagine! Nursing Team, Imagine! employees who volunteered to help with the clinic, and our many provider organizations for being a part of these important events which will bring us one step closer to the end of the pandemic.
If you would like to learn more about the clinics, click on the video below.
The Imagine! Corporate Integrity Plan is a document built on the principles and ideals that have guided the Imagine! organization for close to 60 years. We stand by these principles day in and day out, to not only make sure that the people we serve are treated with dignity and with respect, but also that all of you, the Imagine! workforce, are receiving the same treatment. You can read the full document by clicking here: .
I’ve included a video breaking down a few of these principles to help you better understand what they mean and how they are important. I also want to reiterate that we stand by these principles in all areas of our work, so if you happen to see someone not abiding by them, please let us know. You can contact HR, reach out to your supervisor, or submit an anonymous message through EthicsPoint by clicking here: .
Our mission, creating a world of opportunity for all abilities, truly includes everyone and this world cannot be actualized without supporting our employees and the people we serve. You all are very much included in this mission statement and so we urge you to let us know if we are not meeting it.
Click on the video below to see the breakdown of a few principles and how they are important.
Ending the DD Waiver Waitlist for Coloradans
Spring is oftentimes synonymous with hope, and the spring of 2021 is no different. We have felt hope with the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccines and we have felt it again when we learned that the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee has targeted $15.5 million to move 667 people off the waitlist and onto the Developmental Disabilities Waiver. This waiver provides 24/7 support and connects adults with the most comprehensive array of services, including residential services. What this means for Imagine! is that 47 folks with I/DD will be able to get the critical services that they need and start living their lives to the fullest extent. While this isn’t the end of the waitlist just yet, this is a fantastic step in the right direction.
Back in the summer of 2019, Alliance launched a campaign to end the waitlist for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) to access Medicaid waiver programs. At the time of that initial push, there were over 3,000 Coloradans on the waitlist, some who had been waiting for decades for comprehensive services. In our effort to support Alliance and organizations across the state in this movement, we interviewed a few individuals in Imagine! services and asked them how having access to services has helped them. If you wish the view the original video, I’ve included it below.
We have had several families come off the waitlist within the past year, and one family wanted to share their story with us. Please note that their names have been changed to protect their privacy.
Hannah and her parents moved to Colorado many years ago when Hannah was only four years old. Upon arriving in their new home, the family researched different Medicaid waivers that would allow them to give Hannah the support she needs. One such waiver, the DD waiver, would provide comprehensive support but until recently, it required individuals on the waiver to live in a group home or a host home. Hannah was comfortable in her home and her parents wanted her to continue living with them, as any family would, so Hannah’s parents decided it was best to continue supporting Hannah in their home and to have her placed on the emergency list for the DD waiver.
What this meant was that in the case of an emergency, where one or both of Hannah’s parents were suddenly unable to take care of their daughter, she would be placed on the DD waiver. Recently, however, this family learned about the Family Caregiver model, which would allow them to continue to take care of Hannah at home while receiving the support of the DD waiver. They rushed to be put on the waitlist and were able to change their status in the last few years.
While they did receive support prior to being placed on the DD waiver, they no longer had to worry about a worst case scenario. Now they have access to the comprehensive services that they need while allowing Hannah to live and thrive in the comfort of her family home. When we spoke with Hannah’s family, they said, “Having Hannah on the DD waiver and still being able to have her live at home with us is an absolute godsend… it's less about the actual dollars but much more about the recognition that what we're doing by caring every day and night for our child so she can live at home and be loved by family is worth all the effort, energy, and time that we put into it. What we do hasn't changed, but now I feel truly recognized that someone out there understands and appreciates our sacrifices.”
Ending the waitlist will allow families and individuals to be proactive in supporting active lives full of possibility, rather than waiting for reactive, emergency-based services. We can help families just like Hannah’s have the support they need now so that they can live their lives to the fullest. The End the Wait campaign is still going strong, and if you would like to join the effort, please click here to get started: End the Wait Campaign.
Sneak Peek of the Strategic Plan
Back in January, I let you all know that the Executive Team and Imagine! Board of Directors would be starting our strategic planning journey to determine what goals we have for Imagine!. If you would like a refresher on how we go about doing that, click here: January Rebecca’s Report.
We are almost ready to present the full plan, but for now, I wanted to give you a teaser for what’s to come. Check out the trailer below to get a glimpse into what is in store for Imagine!:
Investing in the Workforce
With the introduction of the COVID vaccine earlier this year, much of the country has started to work on recovery. Imagine!, too, is within the recovery stage. Back in 2020, in order to make sure we could continue to provide services to people with disabilities across Boulder and Broomfield counties we had to make some difficult budget decisions. 2021 is different and we have put our focus back on reinvesting in the workforce through increasing wages, bringing back benefits, and improving the systems that support your work. This goal is one of four included in our latest strategic plan, which I encourage you all to read about should you want to learn more. Click here to download the Strategic Plan Info Document.
In order to help better explain our goals, I’ve included an explanatory video below.
Imagine! Hiring Initiative
We will be grappling with the tail end of the COVID-19 pandemic for many reasons and for a long time. One of the most acute and devastating impacts has been on the workforce. Many industries, including ours, are grappling with a critical labor shortage. All of my conversations with business leaders, industry experts, and elected officials center on solving this challenge. Unfortunately, a solution has yet to be discovered because this labor shortage is unlike anything we’ve seen before. A recently published a poll from Morning Consult asked 463 U.S. adults who are receiving unemployment insurance why they have turned down job offers while they’ve been unemployed. When asked “Reasons for turning down job offers while unemployed,” the results showed:
- 13.8% of those asked answered, “child care obligations.”
- Three answers came in at 13%:
- “COVID-19, or any combination of reasons associated with the pandemic;
- “I receive enough money from unemployment insurance without having to work”; and
- “Health/Medical limitations.”
- “I was not given enough money to return to work” was the fifth place answer with 12.1%;
- “The job was not within my desired industry/function area” (11.4%); and
- “The job didn't allow remote work” (11%).
As you well know, our inability to hire employees prevents us from delivering the level and quality of service needed by the community we serve. The impacts vary by service. For Care Coordination, this leads to Case Managers carrying larger caseloads which creates larger volume of work. In Community and Employment Services, we have to cut back on the number of classes we can offer or reduce the size of groups. In our Group Homes and other residential sites, we have DSPs working a lot of overtime and management covering open shifts.
I need your help. The more brains we have looking at this, the better off the people we serve will be. We have created a toolkit that you can go to to download graphics for social media, templates for emailing government officials, and more. If you are interested in any of these, please click here: Imagine! Hiring Initiative Toolkit.
In the meantime, thank you for hanging in there. The tail end of this pandemic is going to be long but together, we will get through it. I’m proud of all of you and grateful for your resiliency.
What We Are Doing
Below is a board of sticky notes that shows some of the ideas that we have implemented. You can move the board around using your cursor or zoom in by clicking on the box with the percentage in the lower right hand corner. Do you have an idea that you want included? Please share it! Email me, call me, Zoom me, or fill out this Google Form – I want to hear it.