Friday, December 7, 2018

Good News Friday!

Last Friday night I had the pleasure and honor of introducing the 2018 Imagine! Employees of Distinction to my fellow employees. Today, I’d like to share that good news further by recognizing them on my blog.


Steve Conley

Steve’s knowledge and experience are unmatched, and his positivity and willingness to help others are huge value to Imagine!’s Case Management department. He cares about his clients, families, and co-workers and goes out of his way to offer his assistance in any way. 

Congratulations, Steve!


Dan Fox

In his role as Transportation Coordinator, Dan has always said the safety and comfort of the participants in our program (and all services at Imagine!) are his number one objectives. Dan has demonstrated nothing but kindness, support, and advocacy for all those working alongside him and for participants being served by Imagine!. 

Congratulations, Dan!


Marrisca Juvan

Marrisca is usually the first one in the door in the morning and last to leave at Longmont CORE/Labor Source, and makes sure that all the schedules of the consumers and staff she supports are up to date and functional. On top of all of the duties she assumes with her position, she is also a tremendous role model for all staff on how to interact with consumers, teams, and community members. 

Congratulations, Marrisca!


Shanda Kinch

Shanda came in to her new role at the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome with a cheerful, kind, and collaborative attitude. She has created an environment in which people want to work. She is Imagine!’s own Mary Poppins. 

Congratulations, Shanda!


Mara Kuczun

Currently Mara runs Dayspring’s Monday Community Calendar Activity for Spanish speaking families, which we were able to add because of her willingness to help. Before she agreed to run this class our Spanish speaking families were not able to attend as many classes due to the language barrier. Now we are able to offer this unique class to many more families.

Congratulations, Mara!


Theresa Mertens

Since Theresa has joined the Boulder CORE/Labor Source team as an instructor about two years ago, she has shown nothing less than excellent work ethic, extreme humility, and a huge heart ready to serve. She strikes an exceptional balance of noticing what is working and thinking about what can be improved, all while maintaining an infectiously positive attitude. 

Congratulations, Theresa!


Danielle Smelcer

Danielle motivates the team on a daily basis, and is always ready to bond over laughs and accomplishments throughout the day. She is so dedicated to being an incredible Lead Counselor at CORE/Labor Source, and Imagine! would not be the same without her contributions. 

Congratulations, Danielle!


Jamie Zimenoff

Jamie is not only good at his job as a Nurse Case Manager at Imagine!, staying on top of his patients’ health needs, he also does not hesitate to help his co-workers, and does so with a great sense of humor and a smile. He even saved someone’s life this summer while playing softball for team Imagine!, which was an amazing thing to witness! 

Congratulations, Jamie!

 

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Today Is Colorado Gives Day!

Today is Colorado Gives Day! 

By giving your support online through Colorado Gives Day, Imagine! will be eligible for a portion of the 1stBank and Community First Foundation incentive fund. Your donation will go further toward helping people Imagine! serves of all ages!

Click here to donate.



Friday, November 30, 2018

Good News Friday!

Imagine!’s Gift Giving Drive is underway. This annual event helps brighten the Holidays for individuals served by Imagine!, and the smiles we see when the gifts are delivered make everyone’s Holiday cheerier. If you’d like to add an extra dose of happy to your season, below you will see information on how to get involved.

And … if you like your giving with a side of hockey, our local hockey team for people with a variety of abilities, The Ice Wizards, have a game on December 15 which will include a “Teddy Bear Toss” which will also support our Gift Giving Drive. Details are below as well. Great hockey, great cause, great fun. I hope to see you there!

Click on the images to make them larger.






Thursday, November 29, 2018

An Open Letter To Jared Polis

Dear Governor Elect Polis:

Congratulations on your election as the next Governor of Colorado. Those of us at Imagine! and in the field of serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) are looking forward to working with you to ensure that our fellow citizens with disabilities have the opportunity to lead fulfilling lives in their homes and communities.

I’d like to offer a few ideas and/or suggestions about your approach to the system of funding and delivering services in our State. I know these ideas are unsolicited, but you should be aware that Colorado’s approach to serving people with I/DD is incredibly chaotic when compared to other states. A new administration offers an opportunity to reexamine the system, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least share some ideas with you.

So here goes.

Continue the work toward eliminating waitlists for services.

Colorado has been incredibly active during the last eight years in working to end wait lists for services for children with severe intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as for those who need part-time, in-home services. However, Colorado's wait list for adults with I/DD who have requested home- and community-based services (HCBS) “as soon as possible” rose 38% between January 2015 and January 2018. Far too many adults (and their parents) are waiting far too long for vital supports.

One important caveat to this plea: don’t try to start anything the State can’t pay for. “Don’t buy the car if you can’t afford the gas and maintenance.” This is a notion that has not captured any attention in Colorado.

Please don’t refer to people with I/DD “vulnerable” as a method of drawing attention

Using a word like “vulnerable” doesn’t emphasize possibilities. It doesn’t highlight strengths. It promotes what people are not. It doesn’t do anything to move us forward in the effort to create a world of opportunity. Our very system of funding and delivering services is built on the use of terms such as vulnerable, and it has led to a system where we ration services based on what people are not capable of doing. A better reference for people with I/DD from a position of having influence might be “powerless.”

Invest in technology

I’m sure you know this: the world of technology is exciting, constantly evolving, and vast in its capabilities. The impact this can have on people of all abilities has been and will continue to be life changing. It doesn’t require an employee with Apple or Microsoft to make an impact. Technology derives from investment, collaboration, innovation, and cultural influences that spark from a simple idea or dream. Unfortunately, State rules, regulations, and approaches aren’t very friendly to, or supportive of, the use of technology in I/DD services. Proper investment in the use of available technologies has shown terrific results in States like Ohio.

Invest in providers

Putting it mildly, the State hasn’t exactly been consistent when it comes to funding private service providers as compared to public State providers. And that’s a mistake, as Colorado has regularly ranked high in terms of outcomes for people in services while simultaneously ranking almost dead last in terms of per capita spending on services. Private providers have shown they can deliver positive outcomes even with limited resources. But in the past decade, they are being squeezed out of services by horribly inadequate rates which have seen almost a 10% reduction relative to the cost of doing business in the last eight years, to the detriment of the State, taxpayers, and people in services.

Focus on deliverables, not just costs

We all get it – the State doesn’t have an unlimited capacity to provide resources to people with I/DD. But when the only solution to limited resources is to cut costs, we’re missing the opportunity to do better, because providers start simply focusing on staying in business instead of innovating or leading. We have realized in the last eight years that cutting costs does not result in better health care. Invest resources in to research and development, and explore other ways for service to be delivered. There are a lot of smart, creative, and passionate people in this field. Let’s support them in being their best.

I could go on, but I don’t want to overwhelm you as you transition to your new role. So I will conclude by saying that creating a world of opportunity for all abilities isn’t a pipe dream. It can happen when governments, communities, providers, families, and people in services believe in the potential of all, and work together so everyone can achieve those potentials. I can’t wait to partner with you to make that happen in Colorado.

Then again, what do I know?

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Thank You, Heidi

Today I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to Heidi Storz for her time serving as President of Imagine!’s Board of Directors. Fortunately, she isn’t leaving the Board entirely, but she did finish her tenure as Board President and is placing those duties into the capable hands of Ken Curtis.

Heidi’s steady guidance as President of the Board during her term was vital, as we faced unprecedented challenges. Despite those challenges, Heidi never let us lose our focus on our mission of creating a world of opportunity for all abilities.

I greatly appreciate all of her hard work in ensuring that Imagine! remains a leader locally, statewide, nationally, and even internationally in the field of serving individuals with a variety of intellectual disabilities.

Last night, Ken presented Heidi with a small token of our appreciation at a Board meeting. Truthfully, however, we can never thank her enough for her support of Imagine! and the people we serve.


Friday, November 16, 2018

Good News Friday!


Today, I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to Dave Query, who is once again treating individuals served by Imagine! and their families to a traditional turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day. This is the 15th year Dave has hosted this event, which will again be at Zolo Southwestern Grill, 2525 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder.

There are three seatings, and all three have filled up already! In all, more than 350 people will benefit from Dave's amazing generosity.

Dave Query is the owner of Big Red F Restaurant Group, including restaurants Centro Latin Kitchen, Jax Fish House – Boulder, Denver, Fort Collins, Glendale, and Kansas City, LoLa Coastal Mexican, Post Brewing Company, West End Tavern, and Zolo Grill.

Dave is donating the makings for a delicious dinner with all the trimmings, and the wait staff is volunteering its time. There is no charge for the meal, and no tips are necessary.

Thanks to Dave and the Zolo staff for making it a Thanksgiving to remember for individuals served by Imagine!.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

British Blogger Asks - "And What Do You Do?"

Occasionally I stumble across blogs that speak to me in one way or another. Recently I read a post from the blog “Tales From Serviceland” about how difficult it can be to explain what Direct Support Professionals do – or more to the point, the “why” of what they do.

Anyway, it got me thinking big thoughts and so I thought I’d share the post of a comrade in the I/DD world from across the pond.

Check it out here