Friday, February 23, 2018

Good News Friday!

Today I’d like to recognize Imagine! employees Quincy Hegeman and Jason Kingsbury, both of whom have been nominated for the Alliance Direct Support Professional of the Year Award. Alliance is a nonprofit, statewide association of Community Centered Boards (CCBs) and Program Approved Service Agencies (PASAs) that is dedicated to strengthening services and supports for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). This award recognizes the incredible work DSPs do every day to improve the lives of Colorado citizens with I/DD.

Below is some information, taken directly from their nominations, demonstrating why these two stellar Imagine! employees are perfect candidates for this prestigious award.

Quincy Hegeman 

Quincy is a member of Imagine!'s Out & About team. On Quincy’s very first day as an intern, she discovered that a particular vehicle was needed to support the participant she was working with, and that vehicle was not on site. She offered to make an extra trip to pick up the vehicle. On her first day, she demonstrated going above and beyond by advocating for those in our services. 

Quincy is thorough and professional when she communicates with participants. She sets him/her up for success by creating a detailed schedule of the activity, and always gives them a safe platform to communicate his/her needs. Quincy combines a professional therapeutic style with her personal/friendly demeanor to build rapport and a safe environment for all participants. 

Quincy has developed numerous relationships with individual participants, to the point where she can encourage them to participate in a new activity that is outside their comfort zone. Due to the high quality of support and type of relationships she builds with participants and their families, she has been asked to do respite on the side many times. For example, she took a participant skiing for the first time and assisted him in getting comfortable on the slopes. Families really trust her. 

When Quincy comes back to the office after a shift, she always shares a success story her assigned participant. She offers tips and tricks to be added to the therapeutic plan or talks to the therapeutic coordinator on how to best support such person. 

She has become a strong leader among all instructors and offers a wealth of knowledge and experience for others to learn and better their skills in the field. Her knowledge is trusted due to her high quality of service. Quincy strives every day to make sure her participants are getting the most out of each activity, whether it is teaching them something new or assisting them in completing a project or activity with a sense of pride. 

Jason Kingsbury 

Jason is part of Imagine!'s CORE/Labor Source team. There is hardly a corner of the Imagine! community that Jason hasn’t touched. Over the ten plus years that Jason has been with the organization, Jason has worked in multiple group homes and at day program, supporting individuals to grow and achieve their potentials. For years, Jason regularly puts in overtime, working 6-7 days in a row to fill staffing hours across the organization. His time and efforts have made a real impact keeping group homes open during staffing shortages. Jason is always willing to sacrifice his time to help the team make it happen. 

In the course of my time with Jason, he has also demonstrated a dogged advocacy for clients with intense and challenging behaviors. Jason has always been willing to jump in and work the most intensive challenges, and has helped me, personally, to understand the significance of this service. No matter how difficult these challenges have been, Jason has consistently modeled a sense of determined and graceful patience in those moments, even going so far as to educate members of the community with regard to how Imagine! supports those with significant behavioral challenges, and how these individuals deserve a space in the community as much as anyone else. 

Direct support requires balance, and Jason demonstrates this trait across every aspect of his work at Imagine!. Over his career, Jason as developed real friendships with the people we serve and at the same time maintains professionalism in his rapport. Jason balances his heart and compassion with effectively implementing behavior therapy. And Jason time and again demonstrates that supporting clients is only a part of the picture. Jason shows up for his fellow team members, too, providing a space where his peers feel comfortable sharing the success and their frustrations. In this capacity, Jason mentors both his coworkers and the clients with whom he works. Moreover, Jason balances his eagerness to improve the lives of the people we serve with a sense of patience and understanding that gives those clients the time and space they need to grow into themselves and develop real, meaningful relationships within their community. And through it all, Jason has always brought a smile to his work.

The winner of the Alliance DSP of the Year Award will be announced next Wednesday, February 28, at Alliance’s Annual I/DD Awareness Day at the State Capitol in Denver. I don’t know if Quincy or Jason will be selected as the winner, but I do know that either way, Imagine! and the people we serve have already won by having these two as part of our staff! I am honored to call them my colleagues.

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