Friday, April 29, 2016

Good News Friday!

Today I’d like to offer thanks to a few folks who have been tremendous in their recent support of Imagine!.

Boulder County Public Health 

At Tuesday evening’s Imagine! Board of Directors meeting, Linda Kopecky, Breastfeeding Friendly Environments Project Coordinator, Boulder County Public Health, presented Karen Kalis, Imagine!’s Director of Human Resources, with a certificate designating Imagine! as a Breastfeeding Friendly Company.

The designation comes a few months after Imagine! was awarded a $1,000 grant from Boulder County Public Health to help us create a safe and comfortable lactation space at our Dixon St. office building, as well as assisting in equipping the room. Imagine! was the first recipient of this grant funding in Boulder County!

To learn more about the Boulder County Public Health grant, click here.

Thank you, Boulder County Public Health, for giving us this designation, but more importantly, for giving us the opportunity to support the new mothers in our workforce!  

University of Colorado President’s Leadership Class 

Imagine! was so fortunate to have recently collaborated with students in a University of Colorado President’s Leadership Class. The students partnered with Imagine! over the past several months on a project designed to help Imagine! improve communication with and among our employees. This can be a challenging task, as Imagine! has a large workforce that is operating 24/7 and is geographically dispersed. The students were bright and eager, asked great questions, and gave us some fantastic and creative ideas that we are already working on implementing. We are so fortunate for the many ways we have been able to collaborate with CU over the years, which has helped us become more efficient and effective in delivering services to local citizens with intellectual disabilities.

Town of Superior Youth Leadership Council

Over Spring Break, a group of students from Superior’s Youth Leadership Council took some time to make a difference by volunteering during Imagine!’s Out & About School Closure Day activities. We are so appreciative of their efforts to help and their desire to learn more about their fellow citizens who have intellectual disabilities.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thank You, Trent

Tuesday evening’s Imagine! Board of Directors meeting was bittersweet as we bade farewell to Trent Gustafson, who is stepping down from the board as he prepares to move to the land where the stars at night are big and bright – deep in the heart of Texas.

As the parent of an individual served by Imagine!, Trent’s wise and informed counsel on the board has been extremely beneficial and will be greatly missed.

In the picture below, Board President Laura Koch presents Trent with a small token of our great appreciation.

Thank you Trent, for all you have done for Imagine! and the people we serve!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

No Artificial Intelligence Added

Last week, I was partying like it was 1999 (R.I.P. Prince) by reading a print edition of “Fortune” Magazine. I came across a short interview with Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang. (Note – the link is to the online version of the interview, which features different questions and answers than the print version.)

In the interview, Huang discussed the future of incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI) into automobile design. He mentioned how difficult it is going to be to get car manufacturers to change a very deeply ingrained mindset.

Huang says: “The auto industry is about assembling mechanical things that become a car. It is not as comfortable with the idea of an empty vessel for which we develop software over the next 10 years. A living thing that becomes more useful over time is a very alien concept in a mechanical world.”

Sadly, I think the approach to services in our field, the field of services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), too often is closer to that of the auto industry than that of the AI field. We tend to think in terms of health and safety, of maintenance. We don’t focus nearly as much as we should on the possibilities, the learning, the evolving and moving forward.

We need to turn that focus around. AI and related technologies are doorways to supports that foster lifelong learning, exploration, and creativity, irrespective of one’s cognitive abilities. I’d like to see much more thought and effort directed towards creating a service delivery system geared toward a life fully lived, not one that is merely survived. AI is one way to get there. Who’s ready to take that journey with me?

Then again, what do I know?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Technology Tuesday

For more than five years, Imagine! collaborated with the University of Colorado's College of Engineering and Applied Science to create a variety of assistive technology projects for the people we serve. Here’s a fun retrospective video with more details and which highlights some of the many amazing projects.

Can’t see the video? Click here

Friday, April 22, 2016

Good News Friday!

Mark your calendars for April 29 for Imagine!’s Out & About department’s 2016 Centre Stage for Kids performance of “The Princess Who Never Laughed.” This original play was written, produced, and will be performed by our school aged Out & About participants.

The performance showcases participants’ special talents as they each do their best to try and make their Princess laugh. Each student has been working on his/her own individual goals within the larger cast goals, and the progress everyone is making has been impressive.

The performance will be held at Centaurus High School in Lafayette. Doors open at 6:30, the performance is at 7:00, and there will be a reception afterwards. This free event will be fun for the whole family, and I hope to see all of you there!

Special thanks for the contributions made by BackStory Theater of all primary costume pieces and props, and for the support of Out & About staff members. The performance is sponsored by the Parent Engagement Network and the City of Lafayette.

To get a sneak peek of what you will be experiencing at the performance, take a look at the pictures below from a recent dress rehearsal.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Technology Tuesday

Yesterday we gave you an update on Imagine!’s Tuneberg Remote Supports Project, including a link to an article about our progress from the Daily Camera. The article also included a video created by the Daily Camera team, and we thought we'd share that video with you today. Thanks to the Daily Camera for its great work!

Can't see the video? Click here

Monday, April 18, 2016

Imagine!’s Tuneberg Remote Supports Project Update

Today I’d like to share an update on Imagine!’s Tuneberg Remote Supports Project.

I’ve written about this project several times before. The goal of the project is to help individuals in the community live safe and productive lives with the assistance of technology. Today’s edition of The Daily Camera has a story about how the project is moving forward.

You can read the story here.

And here’s a great quote from the story.

"We're looking at new ways to keep people in the community in a safe and secure setting that also supports independence," said Greg Wellems, the manager of the project and the chief operating officer at Imagine! "The idea is to use technology in a community-based setting that will allow people to be monitored remotely and will allow their loved ones or caregivers to know when they are home, what area of the apartment or living space they are accessing, remotely lock doors, remotely let people know what facilities they are using, and support them with medication."

Friday, April 15, 2016

Good News Friday!

Below, you will find an informative video featuring an interview with Patti Micklin, Executive Director of the Imagine! Foundation. The interview was conducted by Richard Ackerman, a member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. Many thanks to Richard and our good friends at RE/MAX of Boulder for creating this video and helping us share our mission.

Can’t see the video? Click here

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Be Professional

Recently, a group of employees at Imagine! spent some time discussing Organizational Stewardship and how it relates to Imagine! and to other professional health organizations.

The discussion was lively and meaningful, and some basic themes emerged. One especially important theme that resonated throughout the discussion was our responsibility to be accountable for our actions and to be cognizant of how those actions impacted our stakeholders and the organization as a whole. I believe Imagine! does an excellent job of that, conducting all of our actions with a professionalism that has achieved remarkable results.

I will go a step further and say that Colorado’s network of Community Centered Boards and service providers has also achieved a level of amazing success. United Cerebral Palsy’s most recent report ranking of the best states for people with disabilities backs up that statement. According to the report, Colorado ranks sixth overall in fostering a comfortable and safe environment for people with disabilities. The report looked at five distinct categories: promoting independence, keeping families together, encouraging productivity, reaching those in need and tracking health, safety and quality of life.

Colorado’s success is especially notable because these positive outcomes have been achieved even while the state ranks 48th in state fiscal effort, according to the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities’ most recent publication of The State of the States in Developmental Disabilities. In fact, all of the states ranked above Colorado on United Cerebral Palsy’s ranked much higher in fiscal effort (although, that isn’t difficult when Colorado is ranked 48th).

We have a system with a demonstrable history of success that goes far beyond the resources that are put into it. Despite this record of success, changes to the system continue to be proposed. As always, when big changes and systemic overhauls are being suggested, I recommend that some serious questions be asked, and answered, before moving forward.

Questions such as: What happens when the success of the system is ignored? What happens when the utmost levels of organizational stewardship and professionalism demonstrated by Community Centered Boards and providers are tossed aside? Are the true systematic issues being examined? Are there real achievable solutions on the table?

Changes have been made over past decade or so that have had negative unintended consequences. I wonder if we are on that path once again. I hope not.

Then again, what do I know?

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Technology Tuesday


Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities Request for Proposals for Advancing and Promoting:
The Rights of People with Cognitive Disabilities to Technology and Information Access 

DUE: Friday, April 22, 2016 

The Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities was established in 2001 by the Regents of the University of Colorado. A private endowment and sustained annual contributions by our funding donors, William T. and Claudia L., Coleman, support the Institute's activities to catalyze and integrate advances in technology to promote the quality of life for people with cognitive disabilities.

The Institute supports research, development, dissemination, and education in the area of cognitive disabilities. Technology is a ubiquitous and valuable tool for billions of people worldwide, yet many people with cognitive disabilities have limited access to these tools for everyday living. As a means to address this inequality, The Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities along with a coalition of disability organizations and individuals have asserted The Rights of People with Cognitive Disabilities to Technology and Information Access.

Can’t see the video? Click here.

This statement of principles, commonly referred to as the "Declaration," outlines what it means for the estimated 29 million Americans with cognitive disabilities to be meaningfully included in our technologically-driven society. To date, over 1,380 individuals and organizations have endorsed the Declaration. Colorado and Maine have also enacted state legislative initiatives supporting the principles outlined in the Declaration.

The purpose of the Request for Proposals is to further advance the Declaration through local and statewide implementation grants. Specifically, The Coleman Institute seeks creative and effective approaches to increase awareness and demonstrate effective implementation of the principles outlined in the Declaration. For more information about the DIGS, please visit:

Friday, April 8, 2016

Good News Friday!

Below is an interview with Leah, who accepts services from Imagine!, conducted by participants in an Imagine! CORE/Labor Source Photography & Scrapbooking class. The class asked Leah a few questions about her job rolling silverware at Rock Bottom Brewery. Leah is a very motivated worker and also enjoys the time she gets to spend with her friends while at work. Keep up the good work, Leah!

Click on the image for a larger view.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Technology Tuesday

Chris DiRosa, Site Supervisor at Imagine!’s Santa Fe Home, discusses how he and his staff members are using technology at the home to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their services.

Can’t see the video? Click here

Friday, April 1, 2016

Good News Friday!

Last week I made a post about Imagine!’s new mission statement, and included the graphic below.


Several people commented about how much they liked the artwork in the background of the graphic. As the graphic points out, it is a piece created by an individual who accepts services from Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source (CLS) department.

In addition to the art above, CLS art classes have been busy creating many beautiful watercolor paintings (like the ones below), and some of them are available for purchase! You are encouraged to check out the CLS Etsy page here to purchase art and support some very talented and creative artists.