Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Thank You, Greg

Today I’d like to offer a hearty “fare thee well” to my friend and colleague Greg Wellems, who after 27 years here at Imagine! is moving to a new position with Pennsylvania with Keystone Human Services.

During his tenure here, Greg has made Imagine! and the people we serve his passion, and his legacy will be the many, many lives he has improved through his creativity, innovation, and hard work. So many of the aspects of Imagine! that we are renowned for – our pioneering use of technology in services, as just one example – are a direct result of Greg’s efforts.

I will miss having him here, and my job will be more difficult without his wise insights and counsel. But I am heartened to know that he will continue to work toward a world of opportunity for all abilities, and I wish him nothing but the best.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Good News Friday!

Imagine!’s Dayspring team recently created a video highlighting their unique Community Calendar Activities program. Take a look!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Good News Friday!

Next week is the 17th Annual Imagine! Celebration – our major fundraising event featuring dinner, silent and live auctions, and stories that connect the audience to Imagine!’s mission of creating a world of opportunity for all abilities.

To tell those stories, we usually debut a video about an individual or family served by Imagine! during the event, which discusses how Imagine! has positively impacted their lives. Today I’d like to share a few of the videos created for previous celebrations. I think by watching them you will get a sense of how important our work is, and why we do what we do.


Miah’s Story (from 2017 Celebration)

Gerald’s Story (from 2016 Celebration)

Emily’s Story (from 2015 Celebration)

Meredith’s Story (from 2014 Celebration) 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Abused And Betrayed - Seeking Solutions

Many readers of this blog may be aware of National Public Radio’s “Abused and Betrayed,” a series of reports about the astonishing rate of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have been victims of sexual assault.

Sadly, this story was not news to those of us at Imagine!. We have long been aware that the population we serve is especially vulnerable to this type of crime.

We have explored ways to address this epidemic of sexual assault. A few years ago Imagine! participated in “Intersections,” a collaboration between Imagine! and Boulder-based Moving to End Sexual Assault (MESA), funded by a grant from the Office on Violence Against Women. The ultimate goals of the grant were to facilitate sustainable system change at both MESA and Imagine!, and to help MESA as well as Imagine! staff and volunteers improve both organizations’ ability to serve people with disabilities who have experienced sexual assault.

You can learn more about the collaboration here

The value of the collaboration and the increased knowledge we came away with as a result cannot be overstated. We are a wiser organization and better equipped to support those we serve who have been victims of sexual assault.

But of course it was just the beginning, and as the NPR series indicates, we still have a very long way to go in ensuring that our fellow citizens with I/DD are safe from these horrible violations of their person. I ask all of you reading this to commit to being part of the solution to this epidemic – we will never have a world of opportunity for all abilities without significantly reducing the risk of sexual assault among people with I/DD.

Then again, what do I know?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Technology Tuesday

Imagine! recently debuted a new look and feel for our website.

Check it out! 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Good News Friday!

The 17th Annual Imagine! Celebration, scheduled for Saturday, January 27, will feature dinner, silent and live auctions, and stories that connect the audience to Imagine!’s mission of creating a world of opportunity for all abilities.

This amazing event can’t happen without the support of many generous business and individual sponsors, and today I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge their contributions. Check out the list below (click on the image to make it larger), and be sure to visit the businesses and/or thank the individuals if you get a chance!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Technology Tuesday

The Colorado State Innovation Model (SIM) and Health First Colorado (Medicaid) need your input on the use of telehealth and e-consults to improve patient access to care and identify barriers to the use of this technology. They are asking interested parties to please complete a short, telehealth/eConsult survey by Jan. 17, 2018.

Click here to take the survey

Monday, January 8, 2018

Under Construction – Your Tax Dollars Hard at Work – Thank You for Your Patience

I’m sure every one of my readers has experienced that aggravating feeling of being stuck in a construction related traffic jam. Cones, barrels, and signs direct us this way and that, we stop and start and then stop and start again, and frequently we aren’t even sure what the result of the construction will be and will it be an improvement?

We can all relate to that feeling – and that’s the feeling that many of us serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in Colorado have felt in the last two decades as we try to navigate the many changes our system has undergone.

To give you some idea of the kinds of barriers, stops, and starts our field has experienced, please take a look at the documents below, which was included as part of a Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) staff budget briefing for the Colorado State Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee. The document lists the significant policy changes which have taken place in Colorado’s I/DD system since 1999 (click on the images to make them larger).

Now, to be clear and fair, most of the changes were implemented for what on the surface appear to be good reasons and by people who I have no doubt want the best for our fellow citizens who happen to have developmental disabilities. But the sheer number of changes, many of which were enacted seemingly with little regard to other existing rules or policies, and many of which were unfunded mandates placing the financial burden of implementing them on community providers, can make even the most dedicated champions of people with I/DD wonder when and where the traffic jam of complex policies will end.

While this may just sound like complaining about making the lives of those that work at Imagine! and similar organizations across the state more difficult, the issue is much bigger than that. The policy traffic jam has created significant uncertainty in our field, and may have the potential to put access to services and people at risk. When organizations don’t know the best route to take to get clear of the blocked traffic, it is likely many will just pull over and park and wait and see what happens next.

Parking and waiting is not an option in this case. We have a responsibility, all of us in the system, to get ourselves out of this traffic jam so we can ensure that Coloradoans with I/DD can live fulfilling lives in their homes and communities.

Then again, what do I know?

Friday, January 5, 2018

Good News Friday!

Over the past six months, Imagine! and the Association for Community Living (ACL) have been providing training for Imagine! Case Managers to help them build non-technical case management skills in order to enhance the overall quality of case management provided by Imagine!.

The training, made possible by funding from Boulder County, helps teach Case Managers skills such as meeting facilitation, problem solving, collaboration/relationship management, community resource development, and person-centered practices.

By focusing on developing skills that aren’t necessarily part of traditional Case Management job requirements or training, the hope for this project is to increase satisfaction with case management services for Boulder County citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families, and to decrease the number of ACL advocacy requests resulting from case management interaction.

During 2017, Imagine! Case Managers had five full-staff, one-half day trainings in addition to several smaller trainings. Overall, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and the goal of better services seems as if it is being realized. More trainings are scheduled for the first six months of 2018. 

At a recent training (pictured below), Eva Klemens, who works for Imagine! Behavioral Health Services and is a parent of an individual in services, presented to the group on case management services from the perspective of a parent. Attendees agreed the presentation was a moving reminder of how case management plays such a vital role in ensuring our fellow citizens with I/DD are contributing members of their communities.

We thank Boulder County and the ACL for their support of this meaningful effort to improve our community and the lives of individuals with I/DD.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Technology Tuesday

On the December 27th edition of AMPLIFY, host Jennifer Ciplet and her guests discuss an exciting collaboration between Imagine! and the University of Colorado Boulder College of Engineering and Applied Science. The guests on the December 27th Edition of AMPLIFY include Professor Melinda Piket-May, CU Boulder engineering student Sarah DaFoe, and Director of Public Relations at Imagine!, Fred Hobbs. 

Listen here

AMPLIFY: Stories of University-Community Collaborations is a production of CU Engage, the Center for Community-Based Learning and Research at CU Boulder, in partnership with independent community radio KGNU. The show aims to amplify the voices of students and community partners who are working together to generate new knowledge and actions to address public challenges.