Friday, December 29, 2017

Good News Friday!

As the year comes to a close, it seemed like the perfect time to thank the many, many generous donors who support Imagine!’s mission and join us in our quest to create a world of opportunity for all abilities.

Below is a list of our donors for fiscal year 2016-2017 (7/1/16 - 6/30/17). Click on the images for a larger view.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Technology Tuesday

Submitted by Britt McWilliams, Imagine! Leadership Development Group 2017-18 

Early in November, Imagine!'s Leadership Development Group attended the 17th Annual Coleman Institute Conference on Cognitive Disability and Technology. According to their website, “the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities works to catalyze and integrate advances in technology that promote the quality of life of people with cognitive disabilities and their families.”

One guest speaker at this year’s conference was Professor Mischa Dohler, Director at Centre for Telecommunications Research, Kings College London. Professor Dohler’s keynote presentation was on “The Internet of Skills- Democratizing Labor and Empowering Humans.” He talked about how the current internet available is able to transmit information through video and audio but unable to transmit information through touch.

Kings College in London is working with colleagues globally to pioneer the “tactile internet” which will allow users to transmit touch in real time. Professor Dohler wore a haptic glove during his presentation, capable of recording muscle movement and sensing touch through the internet. One vision for this technology is that end users will be able to shop on Amazon by 2020 using the glove to feel what they are purchasing online.

Using the glove and Internet of Skills, people could perform a variety of tasks remotely. So, how does it work? A person (teacher) would be able to put on the haptic glove (exoskeleton) and perform a task, then upload that information onto the internet of skills database, allowing someone else to learn a task from across the globe by putting on a glove and downloading the information. The sensing glove, capable of recording hand movements, would allow users to mimic the teacher’s movements in order to learn a skill. For example, a teacher on one end could wear the glove to record themselves playing the piano, allowing a user on the other end to pick up a glove and learn the piano using the recorded hand movements of the teacher.

The Internet of Skills’ application possibilities do not stop at learning to play an instrument. A surgeon could teach a group of students to perform robotic surgery. Doctors may be able to treat patients from thousands of miles away, potentially in remote areas where medical skills could be lacking. This sensory glove may provide someone with limited fine motor function the ability to perform a task they wouldn’t otherwise be able to. By expanding on haptic technology already available, Professor Dohler believes that the Internet of Skills will democratize labor in the same way that the internet has made knowledge available to everyone.

View a keynote presentation from Mischa Dohler here

Brodie Schulze, an employee with Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source and member of this year’s Leadership Development Group, gave another noteworthy presentation during a morning breakout session alongside Professor Melinda Piket-May of the University of Colorado’s Engineering Department.

For several years, Imagine! has collaborated with the CU’s Engineering Department to create a variety of assistive technology projects that aid increased independence for the people we serve. Each semester, Imagine! presents Professor Piket-May’s freshman engineering class with a list of assistive technology projects to choose from. The students work in groups of four on a project of their choosing. Instead of purchasing text books, each student chips in $75, giving the groups $300 toward completing the project.

This collaboration not only allows Imagine! to overcome funding restraints and limited product availability, but also provides CU Engineering Students the unique opportunity to work closely with the individuals we serve. Throughout the semester, the students work face to face with the individual to develop a personalized product of adaptive technology, aimed at supporting increased independence for that individual. Past assistive technology projects have included a mechanical whiffle ball bat, a wheelchair Wii adapter, and a wheelchair laundry carrier.

See a project presentation from CU students here.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Good News Friday!

A couple of Holiday stories for you today.

First, a wrap up (pun intended) of Imagine!’s Annual Gift Giving Drive.

Thanks to the generosity of many, we were able to provide gifts for 110 adults and 256 children!

Donations were provided by:

Stephen Tebo 

Nativity of our Lord Church in Broomfield 

RE/MAX Alliance Longmont 

Apollo Mapping 

Louisville Dental Associates 


Lockheed Martin 


And many other generous individuals. 

We also thank the volunteers from The University of Colorado Leeds School of Business Leeds Council.

And earlier this week, Imagine!’s Case Management team hosted a Holiday office/cubical decorating contest. The results: the spirit of the season was with us all!

Enjoy the pictures below, and I hope you have a wonderful and joyous Holiday!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Technology Tuesday

Touring Imagine!’s SmartHome last week: students from St. Vrain Valley School District’s Innovation Center and two IBM employees acting as mentors to the students. Tour guide and Imagine! Ambassador extraordinaire Leona Stoecker said about the ‘tourists’: “I was truly astounded at all they had done in preparation for their tour of the SmartHome. They wanted to know how to communicate with the residents and had a long list of prepared questions that might be appropriate.”

Friday, December 15, 2017

Good News Friday!

Imagine! is a community organization, and we are so fortunate to live in a community that supports us in so many different and meaningful ways. Below are just a few recent examples.

First, a big shout out to Kylie Angulo, a local student who recently convinced her school, through her love of others, to have the school fundraiser give its proceeds to Imagine!. We are so honored and touched by her actions and by her commitment to creating a world of opportunity for all abilities! Thank you, Kylie!

Next, local Cross Fit gym MOOV hosted their “Kettlebells for Christmas” event last Saturday, which raised $3,407 for Imagine!. This is the third year in a row that MOOV has selected Imagine! as the recipient of donations from this fun (and healthy) event, and we are sincerely grateful.

Finally, a group of University of Colorado seniors working towards a Leadership Studies Minor selected Imagine!’s Out & About department for their leadership challenge assignment. The students looked at ways to improve recruitment of summer employees for Out & About’s Summer Camp as well as ways to increase retention of current employees. The students presented their findings and recommendations last week, and we were blown away by their thoughtful, wise, and creative counsel.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Technology Tuesday

This week’s Technology Tuesday is a regular one I get to share, and it is always one of my favorites. 

Once again, students in a University of Colorado Engineering class taught by Professor Melinda Picket-May have collaborated with Imagine! to provide assistive technology for individuals we serve. We’ve been doing this for more than eight years.

Each semester, students form small groups and select projects that have been identified by Imagine! staff members as something that will meet the needs of a specific individual served by Imagine!. The collaboration has truly been “win-win.” The students get real, hands-on experience on a unique and challenging engineering task, and people served by Imagine! get a piece of adaptive equipment designed specifically for their needs.

Below are some projects from Fall Semester 2017 students (a couple were not designed specifically for people served by Imagine! but certainly could be useful in serving the population of individuals with intellectual, developmental, or physical disabilities):

Wireless Door Switch: for use by someone who uses a wheelchair but can’t access traditional door switches due to limited mobility.

One-Handed Water Bottle: for use by individuals with limited mobility in one of their arms.

Wireless Panic Button: for use by non-verbal, but relatively independent individuals to alert others in emergency situations.

Alexa Aid: to assist non-verbal individuals in accessing verbal command devices such as Alexa. 

Vocalization Counter: designed to record and track vocalizations of non-verbal individual in order to facilitate improved communication and informed development of a care plan.

Removable Arm Project: an adjustable iPad wheelchair mount controlled by joystick for individual with limited mobility.

Bowling Guide: for individual who is visually impaired so he can enjoy bowling with his friends.

Got Google?: device designed so individual with limited mobility can access basic Google searches, such as weather, music, or jokes. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Good News Friday!

Imagine!’s 2016-2017 Annual Report is hot off the presses! With a very appropriate theme of community, the report highlights the many achievements and successes from the last year at Imagine!, and makes clear that those successes are because of the incredible support that we receive from all over our community (you can click on the images to make them larger).

Check out the report here, and enjoy some informational graphics below demonstrating the breadth and scope of our impact.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Today Is Colorado Gives Day!

Today is Colorado Gives Day! 

Below are four simple steps on how to support Imagine! on this day of giving (click on the image to make it larger), and make that support count extra! Thank you in advance for your help in creating a world of opportunity for all abilities. 

Click here to donate

Monday, December 4, 2017

Question Mark?

I’m going to talk punctuation today.

Specifically, I want to discuss how something remarkable can happen when we take declarative statements (those that end with a period) and change them to open ended questions (changing the period to a question mark).

For example:

I am a person with a disability.


I am a person with a disability? 

For the phrase above, the question mark changes everything. I think the resulting change is very important and meaningful. The period leaves no doubt. But the question mark opens the door for further exploration.

According to the Disability Status: 2000 - Census 2000 Brief, approximately 20% of Americans have one or more diagnosed psychological or physical disability. That’s 1 in 5. Going even further, some studies show that 55% of adults in the workforce in the United States qualify for some form of workplace accommodation.

If such large numbers of people identify as having a disability or needing an accommodation, then perhaps those labels don’t really mean anything except that the majority of us need some sort of assistance if we want to become active, participating members of our communities. If more of us need some form of assistance then those who don’t, then a designation of disability seems kind of pointless.

That’s a world I wish for. A world where it is understood that all of us, at one time or another, need some assistance to get by or to get ahead. The level of assistance may vary on the person and the situation, but we all need someone to stand by us once in a while.

Can’t see the video? Click here

If that fundamental fact is understood, then disabilities (and the accompanying necessary accommodations) wouldn’t be considered out of the ordinary. They would just be considered a natural part of the fabric of our communities and lives.

And instead of being forced to declaring some disabled and others not, all people will have the right to ask the reasonable question “I have a disability?”

Then again, what do I know?

Friday, December 1, 2017

Good News Friday!

Today, I have the privilege of introducing the 2017 Imagine! Employees of Distinction. 

Each year we ask all employees to share with the Secret Employee of Distinction Selection Committee nominations for Imagine! employees who exemplify the mission, values, and principles of Imagine!, who inspire the individuals we serve to be their best, and who perform over and above every expectation anyone could have of them.

This year, we received 54 Employee of Distinction nominations for a total of 31 people. So it is fair to say that even among the talented and dedicated crowd of Imagine! employees, the 2017 honorees truly stood out.

Jonny Brennan, Kristin Cowin, Bridget Heddens, Jenny Kozlowski, Lucy Mwangi, Carla Rapp, Linda Saenz, and Emily Walsh were all identified by their coworkers as employees who go above and beyond even the above and beyond we see every day at Imagine!. Their recognition is well deserved, and I am honored to call them my colleagues.

Check out the video below to learn a little more about these exceptional Imagine! employees.
 Can’t see the video? Click here.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Technology Tuesday

Thanks to the eight people who toured Imagine!’s Charles Family SmartHome last week, including Mark Mills, Assistant Superintendent of the St. Vrain Valley School District.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Technology Tuesday

Imagine! has been talking about getting technology in the hands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for more than a decade.

Why have we done this? 

The short video below, created by the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities and YAI, offers some answers to that question and may give you some things to ponder as you reflect on what you are thankful for this week.
 Can’t see the video? Click here

Friday, November 17, 2017

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 14th 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!.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Technology Tuesday

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

Thanks to the generosity of Aaron's Fund, Imagine! has created a technology demonstration project to improve and support the safety needs for adults with disabilities. The project is currently supporting eight individuals in Boulder County. The Tuneberg Project has developed a specific tool to assess individual support needs and identify the technologies that will best help meet those needs. The technology that has been purchased is individualized to the identified needs. It includes door and window sensors, heat and stove detectors, medication reminders, visual doorbells, and prompting systems for daily tasks. All of these are integrated into a notification system that provides alerts to caregivers or 911.

This technology allows people to be monitored remotely and notifies loved ones or caregivers when people are home and what area of the apartment or living space they are accessing. All systems allow the individuals to remain independent while still promoting their safety by remotely locking doors, monitoring when someone comes to their doors, and providing alerts when an alarm is triggered.

As one parent described: “I'm writing to tell you that the safety system Imagine! installed in my daughter's home worked very well today. First, I received a text telling me that the smoke alarm had gone off in my daughter's place at 4pm. I knew no one was there at that time besides my daughter, so I rushed over. The alarm was ringing loudly. My daughter was out of her home (with her hands over her ears). And a neighbor had called 911. It turned out that my daughter had experimented with making her first snack on the stove top and the oil in the pan had sent a lot of smoke into the air. No fire or any serious damage, but a good trial of the systems to make sure everyone knew what they should be doing.” 

The Tuneberg Project is helping to fill a huge gap that currently exists in services for adults with intellectual disabilities who are mostly independent but need some assistance to remain safe and self-reliant. At the end of this three-year project, Imagine! will share the results with state and local leaders to encourage the adoption of technology into the service system.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Good News Friday!

Imagine!’s Annual Gift Giving Drive starts soon, and I encourage you to take part! 

Gift Ideas:

For Children
Educational Toys (Spanish or English)
Dolls and Accessories
Board Games Books (Spanish or English)
Craft Sets Ball Set or Nerf Set
Car or Truck Sets
Remote Control Car
Legos Art Supplies
Hat, Scarves, Mittens, Gloves
Gift Cards

For Adults
Colorado sports team memorabilia
Art Supplies
Craft Supplies
Body Lotion
Bath Sets
Hats, Scarves, Mittens, Gloves
Gift Cards

Please deliver donations to Imagine!’s administrative office at 1400 Dixon Ave., Lafayette, CO. Pickups can be arranged for group donations.

Questions? Contact Elizabeth Hill at or 303-926-6460

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Out & About 20 Stories Update - 11/19/17

Imagine!’s Out & About department is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year! 

To honor this milestone, we are collecting and sharing stories and memories from our employees, from the families and individuals we serve, and from the many businesses that support our work. In fact, we’re collecting and sharing 20 stories from each of those three categories!

Here’s a story from Sasha, an Out & About participant, who promises to share this advice to others: “If someone is nervous to come to Out & About, I would say ‘there’s nothing to be nervous about, Out & About is fun!’”

You can also click here to see all the stories we have so far.