Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Thank You, Bob and Chuck

At last night’s Imagine! Board of Directors meeting, I had the chance to say “thank you for your service” to two extraordinary Board members.

Bob Davis is stepping down from the board after eight years of service. Bob frequently served as Board Treasurer during his tenure, as well as serving on a variety of committees, and his wise counsel and calm demeanor will be greatly missed. Pictured below, Board President Laura Koch presents him with a plaque commemorating his time on the board.

We also thanked Chuck Wellman for his service. Fortunately, he isn’t leaving the Board entirely, but he did finish his tenure as Board President and is placing those duties into the capable hands of Laura Koch. Chuck’s steady guidance as President of the Board during the last year was vital, and we greatly appreciate all of his 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. Below, Laura presents Chuck with a plaque of his own.

Thank you Bob, Chuck, and all of the members of our Board, for all you have done for Imagine! and the people we serve!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Technology Tuesday

For today’s Technology Tuesday, we thought we’d share a picture of Imagine! Charles Family SmartHome resident Toby using a button to control a YouTube video of a Denver Broncos game through a USB interface switch during an Imagine! CORE/Labor Source Communication Class. Way to go Toby!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Good News Friday!

Today, I’d like to officially introduce the members of the 2015-2016 Imagine! Leadership Development Group (LDG). This year’s LDG members are (from left to right in the picture below):

Tim West-Heiss, who works in Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source program,

Shannon Bundy, who works in Imagine!'s Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome,

Laura Ball, who works in Imagine!’s Human Resources department,

Maria Klickna, who works in Imagine!’s Family Support program, and

Sterling Wind, who works in Imagine!’s Public Relations department.

The purpose of Imagine!’s Leadership Development program is to provide a coordinated platform that strategically develops talent within Imagine! to address the company’s leadership needs for the future. The program is designed to educate employee participants about the complexities of the organization and to assist management in learning about people with talent that may be good matches for leadership roles.

Each participant in the LDG will gain a broad understanding of leadership skills and be provided the opportunity to apply their learning in various settings. Each participant will assess their present strengths and areas for growth and realize their potential for leadership. Leadership skills and knowledge gained will be applicable in many aspects of the successful participant’s experiences.

The Leadership Development Group will utilize a variety of methods of learning during the course of the year. These methods will include opportunities for self-study, facilitated group meetings, attendance at other Imagine! meetings, mentoring, training opportunities, and presentations.

Congratulations to all of this year’s LDG members. I think you will find it to be a very rewarding experience. I’m looking forward to getting to know you and, just as important, to learning from you throughout the year.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Technology Tuesday

Imagine! is participating in a pilot project testing to see if it offers a way for individuals served by Imagine! and their families to research provider agencies and the services they provide online.

Rather than write a long description of the project, I thought I’d use technology and create a short video explaining what we’re doing, and what we hope to achieve. Enjoy!

Can’t see the video? Click here.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Good News Friday!

As I mentioned earlier this week, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has proclaimed the week of September 14-18, 2015 as Direct Support Professionals (DSP) Week. This proclamation recognizes the invaluable supports Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) provide and the difference this workforce makes in the lives of Coloradans with disabilities.

Direct Support Professionals, often referred to as caregivers, personal assistants, or home care aides, are the lynchpin to the ultimate success or failure of community-based long-term supports. DSP workers build close, trusted relationships with the many people with disabilities they assist each day. They work in community settings assisting people with disabilities with medications, preparing and eating meals, dressing, mobility, participating in activities that they love, and handling daily affairs. The daily challenges these front-line workers face are both physically and emotionally demanding.

We are so fortunate here at Imagine! to have so many dedicated, talented, and passionate people who are willing not only to take on this difficult job, but to excel at it. In honor of DSP Recognition Week, I’d like to use this space to acknowledge all of the DSPs who work here at Imagine!.

Imagine! DSPs: Thank you for your commitment to the individuals we serve. I am humbled by your work ethic, compassion, and creativity. You inspire me every day. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Out & About With . . . Iyengar Yoga and Cured Boulder

Imagine!’s Out & About department would like to extend a huge thank you to the families that joined them for their second “Thank Goodness It’s Saturday!” (TGIS) event.

TGIS is a program that offers self-care activities for parents and providers, while also providing Out & About's usual therapeutic recreational activities for children - both regular attendees of Out & About and their siblings. Out & About understands that planning personal time can be difficult with having children, so they plan and provide the activity for parents and kids! The events for adults are free of charge and run the duration of the children's activity.

The success of this most recent TGIS event was due in large part to Iyengar Yoga and Cured Boulder, who made the day possible with their incredibly generous donations.

And what a day it was! Parents enjoyed a yoga class at Iyengar Yoga and a picnic dinner from Cured Boulder while the kids had a blast at Gateway Fun Park. Check out the pictures below.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Technology Tuesday

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has proclaimed the week of September 14-18 as Direct Support Professionals (DSP) Week. DSPs are the heart and soul of Imagine!, and we are so grateful for their dedication to our mission and the people we serve.

So for today’s Technology Tuesday post, we’d like to invite you to revisit some previous Technology Tuesdays featuring DSPs associated with Imagine! who have used technology in ways that improve the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Below is a short video featuring Imagine! Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome resident Johnny and Site Supervisor Shannon Bundy sharing how they are using an iPad app to overcome language barriers and communicate effectively.

Can’t see the video? Click here

Check out another video about using technology to improve communication, featuring Alicia Nelson and her friend Tommy.
  Can’t see the video? Click here

Kelly Faus used technology in a variety of ways to open the doors to musical expression for individuals in Imagine! CORE/labor Source classes. Below, enjoy an original video the students created for a song they wrote themselves.

Can’t see the video? Click here

These are just a few examples of how Imagine! DSPs have embraced technology as a way to enhance services. There are plenty more - every day DSPs are making a huge difference in the lives of those withe cognitive challenges. So if you see an Imagine! DSP this week (or any DSP, for that matter), please pat them on the back, give them a high five, or just say “thanks.”

Friday, September 11, 2015

Good News Friday!

Erica Sisavat, who teaches a poetry class at Imagine!'s CORE/Labor Source Program in Longmont, shared the following poem, which blossomed from the combined imaginations of Dawn, Neal and Autumn. The group wrote the poem after studying the “Jabberwocky” in Erica’s class. Please enjoy.

Slurpy in the Woods, with the Bogre, and the Wooker

The bogre went blurpy
Through the thistleweed
It tickled his lurp and he blurped
Thappy was he

He meets the wooker in the woods
They bliply went glurp about their day
And wavelled in the sun
You can tell by the way they herp
That they were wide awake

Out there in the forest of feelings
We hear a plurp, plurp, plurp
They saw a care-a-lot
Swing a big sword

They hurt, the luppy lumps
The luppy lumps, they yissed
And yaddelled
“Watch out for the sword”!

The bogre and the wooker ran
In a cabin in the woods
They locked the door with a key
And safe and sound were they
As they breathed a sigh of relief

Thank you Dawn, Neil, and Autumn for sharing your creativity with us!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Out & About With . . . Elemental Moves

Imagine!’s Out & About department was created in 1997 in response to the requests of community members with disabilities and family members who care for those with disabilities to have more options for community-based recreation services.

That “community-based” element is key - rather than scheduling activities in a segregated setting, you will find Out & About participants (both adults and children) utilizing recreation centers, bowling alleys, movie theaters, museums, and even amusement parks.

Of course, Out & About wouldn’t be able to provide those services without the support of the many, many community organizations that collaborate with Out & About to ensure that participants are able to receive positive instruction, within a therapeutic framework, to encourage growth, learning, community participation, socialization, health, safety, and the achievement of individual goals.

Today, I’d like to acknowledge Elemental Moves for its support of Out & About. Out & About is excited to be partnering with Lisa Bradley from Elemental Moves for the fall session of its Horsin' Around program! Through interactions with the horses, Out & About participants will have the opportunity to reflect on and learn about how they connect with others. This week the program got off to a great start as everyone got to know the horses while giving them a brush and leading them around the ring.

Thank you, Elemental Moves, for your support of Imagine!, Out & About, and your community.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Technology Tuesday

Today I’d like to tell you about Telematics.

Telematics refers to the use of wireless devices and “black box” technologies to transmit data in real time back to an organization. Typically, it's used in the context of automobiles, whereby installed or after-factory boxes collect and transmit data on vehicle use, maintenance requirements or automotive servicing.

You may not be aware of this fact, but Imagine! has a rather large fleet of vehicles that we use to transport the individuals we serve to the various activities, like to job sites, or activities in the communities, or to medical appointments.

Our fleet is vital to our success, and we are embarking on a pilot project to test Telematics to identify how best to utilize those assets. It will also help determine which vehicles should be replaced and when.

We are starting the pilot out this month with a demo, which will include five vehicles from our CORE/Labor Source and Out & About departments. During this time, we will have a chance to test the product as well as familiarize ourselves with the program. If all goes well, we’ll place an additional 40 vehicles on the plan within these two groups. At the end of the first year we’ll determine the value of adding other parts of the fleet.

How It Will Work 
GPS units will be linked to each vehicle’s own computer. This provides live vehicle location (tracked on the web via computer or smart phone), as well as vehicle diagnostics, such as fuel consumption, speed/direction of travel/routes and stops, idle-time, etc.

Each department will be able to track their own specific fleet as well as see the entire Imagine! fleet for comparison purposes. Detailed data reporting in regards to specific vehicles or the whole fleet will be used to benchmark opportunities for improvements.

We are hoping to achieve/improve on the following:

  • vehicles and their occupants will be visible 24/7 to supervisors. This is especially important during bad weather days or in the event of a breakdown 
  • companies using Telematics report a reduction in their accident rates 
  • this program comes with free 24/7 roadside services available to enrolled vehicles 
  • vehicle alerts when seatbelts are not in use while moving 
Fuel Savings
  • by monitoring idle times, monitoring driving habits (speeding, fast acceleration, harsh braking), and monitoring each vehicle's fuel efficiency 
  • improved dispatching/routing leading to fewer miles traveled 
  • automated service alerts (oil changes, safety inspections, etc.) will help ensure services are done in a timely fashion 
  • all Department of Transportation safety recall notices will be sent automatically 
  • engine trouble codes will be transmitted for proactive mechanical attention 
We’re excited to embark on this project. Whenever we are able to be more efficient with the logistics of our work, it means we can focus more energy and resources on delivering great services and opening doors to community participation among individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Good News Friday!

Congratulations are in order for Bryce Magiera, who receives services from Imagine!, on being named a 7News 7Everyday Hero for his volunteer work at Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center.

Check out his story by clicking below. Can't see the video? Click here

Bryce, thank you for your service to our community!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Dayspring Community Connectors: Longmont Fire Station #3

Imagine!’s Dayspring department’s Community Calendar Activities (CCAs) introduce families with young children who have developmental disabilities or delays 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. Each location has activities that are age and developmentally appropriate. Activities are centered around play, because play is the primary vehicle for a child’s mental and physical growth. Play has a vital role in cognitive, speech-language, physical, emotional, and social development.

Much of young children’s learning takes place when they direct their own play. Learning occurs as children touch, manipulate, experiment and talk about things, while interacting with people who facilitate without directing. During play, children are provided with sensory experiences and opportunities to move. Young children need to climb, run, jump and challenge themselves motorically. Children are natural explorers and instinctively touch, taste, hear, and observe the world around them.

In order to create these meaningful community activities, Imagine! needs the support of many local organizations. So today I’d like to highlight one community partner that does so much to connect young children with developmental delays and disabilities and their families with the community: Longmont Fire Station #3.

The generous firefighters at Longmont Fire Station #3 open their doors once a year to children and families served by Dayspring. The firefighters give guided tours of the station and hand out free firefighter hats to the kids (and some of the adults, too!). It is always one of the most popular CCA activities of the year.

Thank you, Longmont Fire Station #3, for your support of Imagine!, Dayspring, and your community!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Technology Tuesday

This week’s Technology Tuesday is another exciting edition of “Chris’s Corner,” featuring a communicative update from Chris Baumgart, Imagine!’s Assistive Technology Specialist.

Chris’s Corner 

Welcome back, fellow corner-ians!

This edition of Chris’s Corner takes us to a Balanced Living class at the Boulder Hub of Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source department. As we saw in the previous edition of Chris’s Corner, people are in full swing using iPads as communication devices. If you didn’t see that post, you can check it out here.

Today I’d like to show you another method of using these iPads for communication. Many people have challenges using a touch screen for communication, especially when it comes to fine motor control, and discriminating between several buttons on a screen. One of the work-arounds that we’ve begun implementing in Balanced Living is employing a separate iOS device as an individual switch.

It works like this: If the iPad you’re using is equipped with the GoTalkNow, and is connected to a WiFi network, a separate iOS device (for ease of access, a smaller device, such as an iPad mini, an iPhone, or an iPod Touch works best) can be equipped with the Attainment Switch app, and then you will be prompted to connect with the desired iPad, and voilà! You have a switch accessible iPad that can be customized to suit the user’s needs. Suddenly you have an accessible communication device without the hefty communication device price tag. Check out the pictures below!

That’s all for this week’s Corner! Stayed tuned for another edition!