Thursday, May 31, 2018

Thanks Colette

Today I’d like to bid a fond farewell to Colette Marie, who is leaving Imagine! to pursue new opportunities in the Pacific northwest.

There is no measuring stick large enough that can capture Colette’s impact on Imagine!. In her 30 plus years at Imagine!, Colette worked for both our community employment and for our residential programs, and when parents challenged Imagine! to create a community-based program for school aged children outside of what the school districts were providing, Colette stepped up to the plate and built Imagine!’s Out & About program from scratch. Out & About remains a unique program in our state, and the many families, children, and adults who have learned life changing skills through the program have Colette to thank for that opportunity.

I share this news with mixed feelings because while I am happy that Colette is moving into the next phase of her life and comfortable in the knowledge that the difference she has made in the lives of local citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities is enormous, I am sad that she is leaving, because her strength, grace, intelligence, humor, and commitment to our organization and the people we serve will be sorely missed.

Thank you, Colette, for all that you have done for Imagine!, and good luck!

To learn more about Colette’s contributions to Imagine! and the birth of Out & About, click here.

If you'd like to pay it forward and make a donation in honor of Colette to support Out & About, click here.

And check out this video to hear from Colette and one family whose lives were made better by her work:

Friday, May 25, 2018

Good News Friday!

Thanks to University of Colorado Leadership Studies Minor students Mackenzie Arena, Soren Fuchs, Lindsey Allen, Brooke Bower, and Jonah Yaden for their hard work on a Leadership Challenge Project to help support Imagine!’s Out & About department in their efforts to promote active community involvement for people who experience cognitive and developmental disabilities. The presented to the Out & About team earlier this month, and their fresh insight and thoughtful suggestions were very well received.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Meet The Newest Imagine! Foundation Board Members

Today, I’d like to welcome the newest members of the Imagine! Foundation Board of Directors. 

Courtney Gimeno, Business Banking Relationship Manager, Elevations Credit Union

Meg McClellan, Chief Legal Officer, UCAR 

Zoe Polk, Store Manager, Pedestrian Corporation 

Ed Wassom, Sunrise Eagle Ranch, LLC 

The four met last week with Foundation Board President Don Brown and Foundation Executive Director Patti Micklin for orientation, and they hit the ground running! I am so grateful that they are willing to offer their time, service and efforts toward helping the Imagine! Foundation support Imagine!’s mission.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Good News Friday!

Our generous friends at McGuckin Hardware have set aside the dates of May 18 – May 27 to help support the Imagine! Foundation and our mission of creating a world of opportunities for all abilities.

During that time period, shoppers are encouraged to round up their bill at the cash registers, with the extra portion going to the Imagine! Foundation.

We thank McGuckin Hardware for their commitment to their community, and we invite you all to visit the most amazing hardware store you’ll ever see and help local citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities at the same time.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Good News Friday!

Art plays a key role in so much of what Imagine! does to meet its mission of creating a world of opportunity for all abilities. Here are a couple of examples:

Ian Markiewicz creates original works of art using some very unique methods every Thursday through Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source (CLS) program. Ian’s work is getting noticed: the Longmont Times-Call recently did a feature story on him!

Check out the story here

And if you’d like to see some of Ian’s work in person, along with a bunch of other CLS artists, they will have their artwork displayed on Saturday, May 19, during ArtWalk Longmont, a free arts festival in downtown Longmont. Join them if you can!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Technology Tuesday

Readers of my blog interested in how technology can (and is) being used to enhance the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are encouraged to check out the:

Sat., June 23, 2018 – 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM 

A "meet and greet" picnic will be held Friday June 22 5PM-8PM at Sayre Park 1702 Grand Avenue, Glenwood Springs, CO 
  • Personal Assistants with Google Home and Amazon Alexa 
  • Behavioral supports with technology 
  • Updates and creative ways to utilize technology with communication 
  • Employment supports 
  • Independent Living 
  • Maintaining Privacy - as we enter more and more into the internet of things 
Conference Location: 
Glenwood Springs Colorado 
815 Cooper Avenue Glenwood Springs, CO 81601 

Families at the Forefront of Technology is honored to bring this event as a recipient of a DIGS grant from The Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities and additional support from The Arc of Colorado 

Monday, May 7, 2018

Home Is Where ...?

One of the biggest challenges facing providers of services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) is the lack of housing available to them. Not everyone with an I/DD is able to live independently, or have family they can live with. The options for those individuals are extremely limited, and continue to dwindle, especially in Colorado. I’ve written about this before.

I recently came across a letter, which you can read below (click on the images to make them larger and more legible), from a large group of interested parties offering one potential solution to this crisis. The letter is addressed to key leaders at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

I’m not sharing this letter as an official endorsement by Imagine!, however, we can endorse the conversation. Imagine! has always been at its best when we have listened to parents and the people we serve offering new ideas and ways of delivering services. We owe it to ourselves as a community to think about our approach to housing individuals with I/DD and explore if there may be ways we can do it better.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Good News Friday!

A couple of weeks ago, Girl Scout Troop 3302 honored the Imagine! SmartHome as their “Hometown Heroes” and brought boxes and boxes of scrumptious Girl Scout cookies. They also enjoyed a tour of the home. Thank you girls and your leaders!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Technology Tuesday

The spring semester is coming to a close, and for us at Imagine!, that means another opportunity to share projects created by University of Colorado Engineering students in a class taught by Associate Professor Melinda Piket-May.

For the past eight years, students in these classes have worked on projects to design adaptive technologies to aid increased independence for some of the individuals Imagine! serves. This past Saturday, the students presented their projects at the Engineering Projects Expo. Student projects designed to assist individuals served by Imagine! (and others with disabilities) that were debuted at the event included:

Various Interfaces With Smart Home Devices 
Products like Google Home or Amazon Echo and Alexa can use verbal commands to operate any number of household devices or control entertainment options. However, there is still a gap for individuals who are non-verbal, as these devices may not be able to “understand” the commands. Several projects were designed to improve the ability of non-verbal individuals to access these devices.

Automated Wago Opener
Wago products are designed for electronic interfaces. Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source department provides staffing for GE Lighting, which uses these Wago products. The device created by the students allows one of the employees who has limited range of motion in his arms to effectively and efficiently open the Wagos at GE, making him a more productive employee.

Panic Button
A low cost alert system to be used in Imagine! group homes or other residences.

Musical Shopping Cart 
Designed for an individual with limited motor skills who is encouraged to push a shopping cart around in order to improve his physical fitness. Since the individual tended to get bored just pushing the cart around, this project added a musical component to the cart to make the exercise more interesting and rewarding.

Our good friends at Oskar Blues Brewery provide employment for individuals served by Imagine! who make Oskar Blues “Can Bling” – necklaces with a beer can with the top removed for use at events such as beer festivals. However, connecting the necklaces to the beer can can be difficult for those with a limited range of motion. The Twister-O-Matic makes that process much easier, therefore making for more productive employees.

iPad Wheelchair Arm
Designed for a woman served by Imagine! who uses a wheelchair for mobility, and doesn’t have the range of motion required to use an iPad while in her chair. This arm make it possible for her to do so.

Adaptive Locker Opener
Designed for an elementary school student with limited mobility, the button makes it much easier to open his locker independently.

Data Tracking Device
This was designed to track noises made by a non-verbal individual to gather data to help caregivers better understand the individual’s needs. The hope is the data will allow caregivers to correlate certain sounds with specific needs, it will decrease outbursts and allow the individual to better communicate with those around her.

Automatic Door Opener
Designed for an individual who uses a wheelchair and whose limited range of motion means she can't access standard accessible door opener buttons. This device "speaks" to the door, allowing the individual to open it using a button attached to her wheelchair.