Friday, October 29, 2010

Good News Friday!

Well I have some unfinished business to attend to. Last year we lost a dear friend, former member of our Board of Directors, and consumer of Imagine! services for many years, Richard Tarvin. Richard was a terrific ambassador for Imagine!, was in regular attendance, and was part of the team that welcomed new employees during orientation to Imagine!. Richard had a great influence on his employers, friends, and supports. What many of you may not know is that Richard had a trust fund that named Imagine! as the beneficiary. Last February, the Imagine! Board of Directors deliberated an appropriate recognition of Richard’s generosity. As a result of this deliberation, the Board unanimously decided to name Imagine!’s home on Linden Avenue in Boulder, Colorado in honor of Richard.
Be it known from that day forward, the Linden Home will be know as the Tarvin Home. This is a fitting tribute for a wonderful individual who I for one will never forget. Thank you, Richard Tarvin.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Good News Friday!

Yes, I know I’m actually posting this on Thursday, but meetings and conferences have made for a crazy schedule this week, and I really wanted to share the video below.

You know, the best endorsements of what we do at Imagine! come not from us, but from the folks and the communities we serve.

Broomfield United Methodist Church made this video below and showed it at their services on October 3rd. The video includes comments by Carl, the church’s custodian who receives support services from Imagine!, and his brother Scott, regarding the partnership between Broomfield United Methodist Church and Imagine!.

Thanks to the good folks at Broomfield United Methodist Church for their support of Imagine!, but more importantly, their support of Carl.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Virtual Workshop

I have been thinking about meetings a great deal lately. That is probably because I have been attending a great deal of meetings lately.

And although I see some value in these meetings, I can’t help feeling that, considering some of the social media tools that are out there, many of these meetings are unnecessary.

Information sharing, idea generating, and genuine conversation about issues ranging from day-to-day operations all the way up to Big Hairy Audacious Goal planning don’t have to be done in face-to-face meetings anymore. Those exchanges can (and are) being done online using social media tools.

Now, I have talked about Imagine!’s use of social media before. And while I consider our use of social media a great example of finding low cost/high impact ways to improve our business and service processes, I think there is so much more we can do.

Social media presents opportunities for people to share what is on their mind, when it is on their mind. Clarity of thought and information tend to be greater when a person has time to reflect on a situation, rather than being placed in the position of having to come up with ideas and solutions in an artificially created time constraint.

And let’s be honest – scheduling big meetings with multiple stakeholders can be very difficult. Not everyone can create meeting spaces and gather attendees as quickly as the folks in the video below.

Again, I don’t want to say that there is never a reason for a face-to-face meeting. But I think there are many times when using social media can make organizations more agile, productive, and innovative without having to gather everyone around the conference table. I firmly believe that as we move forward, successful organizations in both the for profit world and the not-for-profit world will bring more and more social media tools into their everyday work flows, resulting in the ability to leverage information in valuable new ways.

I also believe that those who are uncomfortable with this fundamental shift in the way we communicate risk becoming irrelevant if they can’t embrace these exciting new social media tools.

Then again, what do I know?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Good News Friday!

Imagine! has been selected as one of four Community Centered Boards in Colorado to participate in an in-depth training/pilot program site for “Early Intervention Colorado Autism Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers”. We will have staff members from our Dayspring, Imagine! Behavioral Health Services, and Service Coordination departments take part in monthly mentoring and coaching for 14 months.

In addition, staff members will participate in full-day trainings that will focus on:

-Developing evidence-based Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs);

-Selecting intervention strategies that best match child characteristics, family strengths, and routines that are challenging for the child and/or family; and

-Developing formative evaluation systems to facilitate data-based decisions.

Staff members will be coached by leaders at the University of Colorado Denver/Positive Early Learning Experiences (PELE) Center:

Phillip S. Strain, Ph.D.
Ted Bovey, M.A.
Patricia Oliver, Ph.D., BCBA
Edy Purcell, M.A., BCBA
Kelley Bramlage, M.A.

We look forward to the training and coaching we receive, knowing it will benefit everyone we work with!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Good News Friday!

There are a couple of upcoming opportunities for viewing some interesting films that provide insight into the lives of individuals with one or more developmental disabilities.

On October 14, the documentary Monica & David, chronicling the event-filled first year and beyond of a marriage between adults with Down Syndrome, will debut at 6:00 PM MST exclusively on HBO and HBO Latino. Check out the trailer below.

And on October 18, right here in Boulder, there will be a free screening of the documentary of Act Your Age: The Kids of Widney High Story. The Kids of Widney High are a group of young adults with developmental disabilities in a rock band based out of Los Angeles. The screening will take place at 7:00 PM on the University of Colorado Campus, ATLAS Building, Room 102. Take a look at the trailer below.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Positive and Negative

Today I’m going to return to a theme I have discussed several times before: the need for those of us in the field of services for individuals with one or more developmental disabilities to make a united stand in our efforts to create a new system of service provision and delivery.

This has been on mind a great deal recently, for two reasons, one positive, and one negative.

On the positive end of the scale, our experience at our Juniper home has made it more clear to me than ever that what we do at Imagine! is a community endeavor. I met recently with folks from the St. Vrain Valley School District, the Boulder County Health and Human Services Department, and the Boulder County Mental Health Center to discuss serving the boys who will be living in the Juniper home, as well as other individuals served in our Foster Home Program. The discussion was open and candid, and I came away from them impressed by the commitment to collaboration among the various participants.

Even organizations beyond the DD world have stepped up to see if they can help the kids in our Foster Home program. The City of Longmont and especially the Longmont Police Department have been integral in working out a plan to make sure our Juniper home and other Foster Homes are a success for the kids, the staff, and the neighbors. Without this kind of support, there is no way an organization like Imagine! can succeed, and we are most appreciative.

A less positive reason I have been pondering the need for those of us in the DD field to align ourselves for the greater good is the turnout I saw at a recent political forum hosted by the Human Service Alliance of Boulder County. Congratulations and salutations to those who attended or listened in, for you understand the importance of public participation. This was a low cost, low effort opportunity to engage with your local community leaders. For those who were not there to see, the turnout was disappointing, to say the least, especially in a year when there are ballot initiatives in Colorado that threaten the very existence of human service organizations, and a wide variety of candidates running for office who will be making very difficult decisions about funding cuts to so many programs in the State.

If we can’t even gather together to meet candidates and share our concerns with them before an election, why should we expect them to listen to us when they are making tough decisions? If we don’t demonstrate our common ground and our voting power, then we put ourselves at a great disadvantage going into a legislative session where we will need every advantage we can get.

The stakes are too high for us to remain disjointed and disorganized. We need to communicate, collaborate, and act as team.

Then again, what do I know?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Good News Friday!

A few weeks ago, some Imagine! staff members dedicated to providing assistive technology solutions for the individuals we serve met with Melinda Piket-May, a professor at CU’s College of Engineering and Applied Science.

Following the discussion, Professor Piket-May broke up her one of her classes into several teams, and assigned each team a project intended to create a few simple tools that would allow some consumers served by Imagine! to be more independent, and to be able to complete everyday activities on their own.

Want some examples? Well, one team has agreed to create a wheelchair laundry carrier and wash machine loader for one of the residents of the Charles Family SmartHome in Longmont. The carrier and loader will allow the resident to transport his own laundry and place it in a front loading washing machine.

Another team is working on creating a wheelchair broom attachment that will allow that same resident to help with cleaning chores around the house.

Other class projects include a wheelchair tray that can be folded and stowed and would have a contoured edge with magnetic plates bowls and cups, and a five switch programmable infra-red remote control that will give simple access to environmental functions for individuals with limited mobility.

Projects such as these help provide individuals with limited mobility opportunities to take more control over their own lives. Most of us take those opportunities for granted, but for some of the folks we serve, the chance to do simple chores independently can have a profoundly positive impact.

We would like to offer our sincere thanks to Professor Piket-May and her students. We can’t succeed at Imagine! without the support of our community, and your commitment to your community is quite impressive!