Friday, December 28, 2018

Good News Friday!

Today seems like a perfect day to recap the last year at Imagine!.

About The People We Served 

Click on the image to make it larger

How We Served Our Community

In the past year,

Imagine!’s Care Coordination team … 

Provided information and referral to 2,346 families providing at-home care for an individual with intellectual disabilities.

Distributed $1,144,502 to help 459 families with the extraordinary costs of raising a child with autism or other special needs.

Distributed $143,359 in emergency funds to 104 individuals and families facing crisis situations requiring immediate financial intervention.

Imagine!’s Early Intervention Team …

Coordinated services for 1,126 babies and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities. 

Helped 333 babies and toddlers with developmental delays improve their communication, motor, and/or social skills through early intervention therapies.

Hosted 138 community-based activities designed for children to meet their goals in a fun and playful environment.

Imagine!’s School Age Services

Assisted 80 children with developmental disabilities in developing life-long skills through summer camp, after school, and community activities.

Imagine!’s Adult Services … 

Supported 496 adults with intellectual disabilities through enriching and therapeutic programs and classes.

Imagine!’s Employment Services

Provided job training and placement for 144 adults with intellectual disabilities.

Imagine!’s Residential Services

Provided a variety of residential options for 165 adults with intellectual disabilities.

Imagine! also … 

Provided mental health services and behavioral health services to 365 individuals with intellectual disability diagnoses.

Supported 232 family recruited employees.

How Our Community Served Imagine!

In the past year,

412 Imagine! volunteers served 12,311 hours of their time.

At last year’s Imagine! Celebration, 499 guests raised $430,000 to help Imagine! meet its mission of creating a world of opportunity for all abilities.

Click here to see a list of all Imagine! donors from last year.

Wow! I’d say that was a pretty impressive year. But don't worry, we aren’t resting on our laurels – we’re already working to make next year even better!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Good News Friday!

Imagine!’s Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2017-18 is available online. I think will find it impressive and full of fun facts demonstrating how Imagine! and our community work together to create a world of opportunity for all abilities.

Check it out here

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Boy In The Bubble

Throughout my now 35-year (yikes) career at Imagine!, I have heard many words used to describe individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Some of those words, fortunately, are no longer considered appropriate, and entire movements are dedicated to eliminating their use, while others remain, still subtly influencing society’s expectations of what people with I/DD are capable of achieving. Words like “unfortunate” and “vulnerable.”

If this were just a case of diminished expectations, I probably wouldn’t be writing about those terms. However, those words that influence diminished expectations have resulted in a regulatory environment that doesn’t support reaching for goals and dreams for people with I/DD. At least in Colorado, services for people with I/DD are designed and regulated in ways that recall “The Boy in the Bubble.” If you aren’t familiar with that term, the Boy in Bubble was a prominent sufferer of severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), a hereditary disease which dramatically weakens the immune system. The name was a reference to the complex containment system, which resembled a plastic bubble, used as part of the management of his SCID. It also inspired a Paul Simon song.

Our State’s system and the rules and regulations surrounding them makes it very difficult to deliver services with an aim of exploring one’s potential. Instead, they tend to be focused on health and safety. Of course we want people with I/DD to be healthy and safe. But that’s not all they want. That’s not all that any of us wants. 

There needs to be a balance between safety and the dignity of risk taking, but has our State had the leadership and vision necessary to create services that find that balance? Have we instead put people with I/DD in a bubble and then called it a day? In some respects, services in Colorado are only a step away from from institutional settings. 

This is a complex issue, I know. I appreciate that families want to protect their loved ones. And more community access and more independent decision making among the population with I/DD is not entirely risk free. But those things aren’t risk free for any of us. Shouldn’t we allow people with I/DD live their lives to the fullest extent possible, free to make mistakes and learn from them? Or do we just put them in figurative bubbles and “protect” them while failing to provide them real opportunities to engage in their communities. 

Where is the line between those two choices? I don’t claim to know exactly. But those of us on the services side haven’t had much opportunity to weigh in on those choices recently. Neither have the people we serve. Someone is drawing that line, and I don’t really know who, but I’d argue the line drawing activity should be closer to the person, and certainly we should be asking service providers and especially the people in services where they’d like to see the line drawn. 

Maybe it is time to bring back a healthy dose of customization into services. Give the people in services a larger voice in determining how they want to engage in the world. Keep the bubbles for those who want them, and let the rest of our fellow citizens with I/DD have the opportunity to make choices and live their lives in the way they see fit. 

Then again, what do I know?

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Thanks For The Visit, Congressman-elect Neguse!

I’d like to offer my thanks to Colorado Second Congressional District Congressman-elect Joe Neguse, who visited Imagine! yesterday.

The Congressman-elect joined us to discuss ways to improve the lives of Colorado citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I appreciate his willingness to take part in an honest and wide-ranging conversation, and I look forward to working with him in the future.

Joining us at the meeting were Katie Wallace, Congressman-elect Neguse’s Field Director, Tanya Kelly-Bowry, President of Policy Matters, and Imagine!’s Jenna Corder and Fred Hobbs.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Good News Friday!

Today, I’d like to thank Boulder Area Alumnae Panhellenic for hosting a special Sensory Friendly time to visit Santa's House for children served by Imagine!'s Dayspring program. Boulder Area Alumnae Panhellenic enhances the fraternity system through scholarship awards, annual educational informational functions for prospective college freshman, philanthropic projects, community participation and civic leadership. They have been longtime supporters of Imagine! and Dayspring, not only by hosting this special time for kids with sensory challenges to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, but also by donating a portion of the proceeds of Santa's House to Imagine!.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Good News Friday!

Last Friday night I had the pleasure and honor of introducing the 2018 Imagine! Employees of Distinction to my fellow employees. Today, I’d like to share that good news further by recognizing them on my blog.

Steve Conley

Steve’s knowledge and experience are unmatched, and his positivity and willingness to help others are huge value to Imagine!’s Case Management department. He cares about his clients, families, and co-workers and goes out of his way to offer his assistance in any way. 

Congratulations, Steve!

Dan Fox

In his role as Transportation Coordinator, Dan has always said the safety and comfort of the participants in our program (and all services at Imagine!) are his number one objectives. Dan has demonstrated nothing but kindness, support, and advocacy for all those working alongside him and for participants being served by Imagine!. 

Congratulations, Dan!

Marrisca Juvan

Marrisca is usually the first one in the door in the morning and last to leave at Longmont CORE/Labor Source, and makes sure that all the schedules of the consumers and staff she supports are up to date and functional. On top of all of the duties she assumes with her position, she is also a tremendous role model for all staff on how to interact with consumers, teams, and community members. 

Congratulations, Marrisca!

Shanda Kinch

Shanda came in to her new role at the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome with a cheerful, kind, and collaborative attitude. She has created an environment in which people want to work. She is Imagine!’s own Mary Poppins. 

Congratulations, Shanda!

Mara Kuczun

Currently Mara runs Dayspring’s Monday Community Calendar Activity for Spanish speaking families, which we were able to add because of her willingness to help. Before she agreed to run this class our Spanish speaking families were not able to attend as many classes due to the language barrier. Now we are able to offer this unique class to many more families.

Congratulations, Mara!

Danielle Smelcer

Danielle motivates the team on a daily basis, and is always ready to bond over laughs and accomplishments throughout the day. She is so dedicated to being an incredible Lead Counselor at CORE/Labor Source, and Imagine! would not be the same without her contributions. 

Congratulations, Danielle!

Jamie Zimenoff

Jamie is not only good at his job as a Nurse Case Manager at Imagine!, staying on top of his patients’ health needs, he also does not hesitate to help his co-workers, and does so with a great sense of humor and a smile. He even saved someone’s life this summer while playing softball for team Imagine!, which was an amazing thing to witness! 

Congratulations, Jamie!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Today Is Colorado Gives Day!

Today is Colorado Gives Day! 

By giving your support online through Colorado Gives Day, Imagine! will be eligible for a portion of the 1stBank and Community First Foundation incentive fund. Your donation will go further toward helping people Imagine! serves of all ages!

Click here to donate.