Friday, February 26, 2016

Good News Friday

Therapeutic Recreation (TR) is an allied health profession which focuses on improving a person’s physical, cognitive, social, emotional and leisure needs through activity interventions. A Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) typically plans and facilitates an activity for their client and ensures that certain skills are practiced and goals are achieved during the session. Recreation Therapists can be found working in hospitals, long term care facilities, school systems and even parks & recreation departments.

You can also find Therapeutic Recreation being used by Imagine!’s Out & About department. Out & About uses Therapeutic Recreation theory and methodology when developing each activity and also when creating each participant’s individualized Therapeutic Plan.

To celebrate International Therapeutic Recreation Month, I would like to officially welcome Out & About’s four therapeutic recreation interns for the 2016 Spring semester. Ally joins us from Metro State University, Elizabeth is from University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Sammi comes from Indiana University, and Sam is from Winona State University. Welcome to Imagine! and Out & About!

The new interns are likely already having a rewarding experience as they put what they have learned into practical experience. But don’t take my word for it, check out a couple of videos below from previous interns discussing their time at Out & About.

Can’t see the video? Click here

Can’t see the video? Click here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Out & About With . . . Stir It Up Cooking School

Imagine!’s Out & About department’s first Thank Goodness It’s Saturday (TGIS) of 2016 brought parents to Stir It Up Cooking School, where the adults took part in creating a delicious three-course lunch and trying their hand at rolling sushi.

The kids also shared their creative side by making treats for Valentine’s Day that they hand delivered to the Lafayette Fire Department later in the day.

I join Out & About in sending a warm thank you to Carol and her staff at Stir It Up Cooking School for donating their time and talent in order to provide such an amazing and unique opportunity for our parent participants!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Technology Tuesday

For today’s Tech Tuesday post we’d like to share a brief story about “Dan.” Dan didn’t want to use his real name, but he did want to tell everyone about his new cell phone and how he’s using it to navigate through life and his community.

Dan tells us that his busy work schedule can be difficult to remember, so with help from some Imagine! staff members, he set his phone so that each day before he leaves the house the phone “speaks” to him (using Dan’s pre-recorded voice) to tell him his next work destination. Additionally, if Dan ever needs to double-check his schedule, he can ask Siri to check his calendar to see where he's supposed to be.

Dan also is thrilled to be able to use the phone to take of his favorite music with him when he’s out and about, and is using the phone’s camera to share his creativity through photography.

Dan’s new phone offers new opportunities for him to thrive and succeed, and we can’t wait to hear more!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Good News Friday!

Once again, I’d like to celebrate and thank some very good Knights from Boulder.

On Wednesday, February 17, the Boulder Knights of Columbus Council 1183 made a generous donation of $1,400 to Imagine!’s Dayspring department for their Community Calendar Activities, which allows Dayspring therapists to provide therapies to children and their families in a community setting.

Since 1991, the Boulder Knights have donated close to $20,000 to Imagine! from funds raised by their Annual Tootsie Roll Drive. We are so appreciative of their support.

Pictured below, Knights Dick Bryant (left) and Bob Gills present the check to Dayspring Director Caitlin Looney.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Technology Tuesday

Today marks the 14th work anniversary of Kevin Harding, Imagine!’s Director of Information Technology. What better time to share some historical perspective about Imagine!’s technology use, as written by Kevin back in 2013 as part of Imagine!’s “50 Years, 50 Stories” series? Of course, even some of what Kevin says below has changed over the past three years as we at Imagine! continue to keep on top of the latest in technology and explore how it can make us more effective and efficient with our service delivery.

The Evolution of Technology at Imagine! 
By Kevin Harding 

Kevin Harding in the early 2000s

Technology, and Imagine!’s use of technology, have come a long way in the last 50 years. The first real personal computers to be commercially available, the Apple II and TRS-80, were introduced in 1977. Back then Imagine!’s case managers would hand-write individualized plans. If anything needed to be typed, they would use a dictation machine recording to a cassette tape, and an administrative assistant would do the transcribing on a typewriter. At least the typewriters were electric.

The first computers to come to Imagine! arrived around 1979 and were used in the business office for accounting. There was no network or central file server. In the early eighties, the administrative assistants began to get computers to replace their typewriters. There were no fancy laser printers, but instead dot matrix printers attached to individual computers were the norm. The Microsoft Windows operating system we’re so familiar with now wouldn’t be available until 1982 and not widely adopted until version 3.0 was released in 1990. Imagine!’s first computers were running DOS, Microsoft’s disk operating system, and using WordPerfect for word processing.

On one occasion in the early 80s, when a document needed to be typed up and four copies sent out, the administrative assistant’s computer started to malfunction. A certain Executive Director who shall remain nameless thought he could fix it. He instead broke it to the point that the four copies were completed by hand to make the deadline.

If I were to go back 50 years in a comparison to today, I would be comparing paper and typewriters to computers and laser printers. So here is a picture of what Imagine! was using 20 years ago compared to today:

                                1993                2013 
Servers                 One                  18 
Server storage     1GB               10.6TB 
Workstations       24                   163 
Laptops                0                    167 
Internet Access   Dial-up    28.8Kb/s Dedicated T-1 4.5Mb/s 

Our Internet is 156 times faster, and Imagine! could store one half of the written content of the Library of Congress on its servers. If you own a smart phone that was purchased in the last two years, you have more computing power than the file server and more storage than all the computers that held all of Imagine!’s electronic information 20 years ago.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Good News Friday!

I have often said that people served by Imagine! are among the most creative and talented people I know. Below are a few opportunities for you to experience that talent and creativity first-hand.

Throughout the month of February, artists participating in Imagine! CORE/Labor Source art classes will have their original art work on display at Boulder's FastFrame, 2327 30th Street (at 30th & Pearl, in the Whole Foods shopping center close to Barnes & Noble).

I encourage you to stop by FastFrame and share your appreciation with this terrific community partner.

I’d also like to invite you to enjoy an evening of theater on Friday, February 19. Imagine!’s Out & About program is hosting a special performance of “THE SS-WIZARD,” an original play written by Out & About’s Centre Stage participants in collaboration with director Kristel Brown.

What’s the play about? The SS-Wizard is a cruise ship docking in Kauai, Hawaii. Vacationers are ready for a week of relaxing in the sun, enjoying great food and drinks, and taking in all the beautiful scenery! But, what happens when a tribe of Big Feet spot the cruise ship and get the idea to take it over?

More details:

Cost: Free
When: Friday, February 19th at 7:30pm Reception to follow performance
Where: The Broomfield Auditorium, 3 Community Park Road, Broomfield, CO

And last, but certainly not least, our good friends at Twisted Pine Brewing Company have brewed up another masterpiece. Come join Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source program on February 25, 2016, from 4:00PM to 8:00PM at Twisted Pine for a “Party with a Purpose!” There will be artwork on display for sale, featuring Imagine! artists who work at Twisted Pine along with artwork from other Imagine! artists. Proceeds from sales of the artwork will go to the artist. The event will also feature a small silent auction and a CORE/Labor Source artist who will be creating an original piece during the event (which will be a part of the silent auction as well). 10% of all food and beer sales from the entire day will be donated to Imagine!. And if you can’t make it to the event, the art will be on display and for sale in the days before and after the event.

Twisted Pine Brewing Company is located at 3201 Walnut St. in Boulder.

Thank you Twisted Pine for your amazing support of Imagine! and the people we serve.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Is It Live?

Depending on your age, you may or may not remember a series of commercials from the 1970s featuring the incredible Ella Fitzgerald singing a note that shattered a wine glass – but the question was – was she singing live, or was it a cassette tape of her voice?

Can’t see the video? Click here

The message implicit in the commercial was that Memorex cassette tapes were of such high quality you couldn’t tell the difference between a recording and the real thing.

How far we’ve come since then. I was recently introduced to Google Cardboard, a virtual reality headset made out of, you guessed it, cardboard. All a user needs to do is download an app to their smart phone (in this case, an Android phone), insert the phone into the headset, and suddenly you find yourself in a virtual experience that is truly mind blowing (and a bit disorienting).

According to the article linked above, Google Cardboard works like this:

The washer and magnet work with the phone’s compass and allow you to choose your applications or pick up an object (the analog equivalent of a click). The lenses focus your gaze on the split screen in a way which tricks your brain into believing that what you are seeing is in fact all around you. (This is called stereoscopic 3D view.) Move your head around and the screen changes as if you’re in that world – with no lag time. This is thanks to the phone’s gyroscope, which measures “angular momentum.”

By this point, you may be asking, why is Mark writing about this? The answer is simple. Technology continues to rewrite the rules of how we can engage in our community. A relatively simple and inexpensive tool like Google Cardboard creates possibilities for individuals with a wide range of disabilities to have experiences that would have been considered impossible just a few short years ago.

Who among us, irrespective of our abilities or disabilities, wouldn’t enjoy taking a virtual flight around the Earth using Google Earth, or a drive through Paris with a (virtual) local guide? Those are options that are already available through Google Cardboard now. And yes, this may seem to you or me to be merely entertaining diversions, but imagine how a person with a significant disability, a person for whom the “real” experience would be out of the question under almost any circumstance, might see this opportunity to travel virtually. It will be profound.

No doubt this is only the beginning of what this type of technology has to offer. Those of us in the field of serving people with a variety of disabilities need to be aware of these new technologies and to start asking now how we should be incorporating them into our services. We need to explore the ethical issues that surround participation in a virtual versus the physical world. Should we not target these incredible applications to people who might benefit the most?

In our field, what the people we serve expect out of their own lives and what those of us providing the services expect out of their lives doesn’t always match. Technology that is fast approaching can help bridge that gap, and we are already at the point where the impossible is becoming possible. We need to understand these new possibilities and determine the best approach to making them part of our service provision.

Then again, what do I know?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Technology Tuesday

Here’s a short video of Gerald, who lives in Imagine!’s Santa Fe Home, using his DynaVox (a computerized communication device attached to his wheelchair) to independently dial up his contacts on Skype.
  Can’t see the video? Click here

Friday, February 5, 2016

Good News Friday!

At last Friday evening’s Imagine! Celebration, we had the great privilege of honoring Bob and Judy Charles for their longtime support of Imagine! and their commitment to creating a better life for people with intellectual disabilities living in Boulder and Broomfield counties. Part of the tribute to Bob and Judy included the debut of the video below. Please take a moment to learn just a little about this remarkable couple who have spent their entire lives making the world a better place.

Can’t see the video? Click here.

Here’s a few pictures of Bob, Judy, and their family from the event.

Bob and Judy Charles

From l to r: Janice Charles, Bob Charles, Judy Charles, Bob Charles, Jr. and his wife Dianne, Dale Charles, Katie Hawkins

Bob Charles and former Imagine! Foundation Executive Director Susan LaHoda

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Technology Tuesday

At Friday night’s Imagine! Celebration, we honored Gerald, who receives services from Imagine!. Technology has played a huge role in Gerald’s success and transformation. Check out the video below to learn more.
  Can’t see the video? Click here