Thursday, January 18, 2018

Imagine!’s Family Support Services Life Saver - Maria Klickna

Imagine!’s Family Support Services Program (FSSP) hands out the “Life Saver” award to recognize and honor employees for their overall initiative, positive attitude, and diligent attention to job responsibilities.

This month's recipient is Maria Klickna.

Maria is an exceptional employee of Imagine! and is outstanding in her role as the Family Support Supervisor. Maria supports Imagine! overall by always volunteering for events, tasks, and program operations - while going beyond the requirements of her typical job assignments. She is dependable, loyal, and dedicated to her job and strives to provide excellent customer service to all she works with. We are lucky to have her!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Imagine!'s Early Intervention Rockstar - Doris Franco

Imagine!’s Early Intervention (EI) program has a terrific team working to create a world of opportunity for all abilities. To show their appreciation, this team chooses a “Rockstar” each month within their program. Team members submit nominations describing what the nominee has contributed, going above and beyond to support those we serve.

We would like to recognize Doris Franco as this month’s Rockstar:

"Doris exceeds expectations in her role as an EI Supervisor. She brings a positive and resilient attitude to our EI team and is always exploring creative ways to be proactive. For example, Doris's communication with not only the individuals she directly supervises, but with the entire EI team is stellar. Doris takes the initiative to communicate important information in keeping everyone up to date and supports the entire EI team in understanding the content. Doris also exceeds at customer service when working with family we serve. She creates a positive experience by naturally presenting her personal touch, or going the extra mile to make our families feel like they are receiving the best care and advocacy from us. Finally, Doris supports the greater Imagine! team by offering her Spanish bilingual skills to the entire agency. She takes on tasks to help translate information and always offers a helping hand when communication is needed with our Spanish speaking families. Doris is truly an EI Rock Star!!"

Friday, January 5, 2018

Mara Kuczun: Recipient of the January 2018 Imagine! Excellence in Customer Service Award

Congratulations are in order for Mara Kuczun, who is part of Imagine!’s Dayspring team, on being selected as the January 2018 recipient of the Imagine! Excellence in Customer Service Award.

Mara’s nomination included the following praise:

Mara Kuczun is so good at her job that I feel I sometimes neglect to recognize her. After receiving some positive comments today from the families she serves, I realized that it is time she is recognized for the amazing job she does. She is one of Dayspring's top preferred provider because she advocates for the low income families and is always going above and beyond by accepting any referrals that come her way. She is Dayspring's only bilingual provider and even when she is over booked and receives a Spanish speaking referral, she finds a way to make it work. The service coordinators enjoy working with Mara because she is always on time with her paperwork, writes detailed notes, and is a great communicator. The families love working with Mara because the strategies and techniques she coaches the family on show results. One family said, "The wisdom and professionalism of Mara was wonderful. She not only helped our son, but helped my wife and I with techniques to cope and improve his deficiencies. She was always well prepared and offered abundant suggestions for improvement." Mara deserves to be recognized for the amazing customer service she provides the families she serves. The professionalism, integrity, and respect that she brings to all aspects of her work are pretty rare to find in an employee. 

Great work, Mara, and congratulations on this well-deserved honor!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Leadership Development Group Update - December 2017

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

Early in November, the 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.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Jonny Brennan

Imagine!’s own Jonny Brennan has recently made a splash with his hard work at Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source (CLS) in Longmont, which inspired us to highlight his dedication and compassion. Jonny joined the team about two and a half years ago. At first glance, he was immediately inspired by his coworkers at Imagine! and decided to make a career out of it. Now an intervention specialist and studying to be a Board Certified Behavioral Analyst (BCBA), Jonny feels right at home at CLS, “I have no hesitation calling CLS my family because of the relationships I’ve developed here.”

Jonny (left) receives 2017 Employee of Distinction Award
at Imagine!'s annual Holiday Party. 
On December 1st, the CEO of Imagine!, Mark Emery, awarded Jonny the 2017 Employees of Distinction Award at our annual Holiday party. Jonny is one of eight winners this year, from a population of 700 plus employees.

On December 7th, Jonny played a major role in “Imagine! Night,” an event that featured Imagine! participants as honorary coaches at Longmont High School (LHS) Varsity Wrestling’s home opener.

Aside from working at Imagine!, Jonny is an assistant head coach at LHS for men’s Varsity Wrestling. He started wrestling at age four and later down the road began coaching, totaling 22 years in the sport. “Wrestling continues to be my passion in life. The only thing that has ever come close to meaning as much to me as wrestling does is my work here at Imagine!. It only made sense to try and combine these two worlds,” said Jonny.

With the help of CLS Program Coordinator Tim West-Heiss, Jonny introduced the idea of featuring Imagine! participants at a sporting event to LHS Athletic Director. “When I realized how many of our CLS participants were Longmont alumni, and how proud they were to be Trojans, I knew I had to try and get them involved somehow.” The Athletic Director agreed and Imagine! Night was born.

Jonny introduces Neil, Shawn, and Frank (in order)
as honorary coaches to the wrestling spectators.
The evening showcased an Imagine! sponsored booth at the front entrance where Frank, Shawn, Neil, and Autumn (Imagine! participants) greeted spectators and handed out stickers. To kick off the varsity matches, Jonny introduced the three LHS Alumni, Frank, Shawn, and Neil, to the audience as honorary coaches and everyone cheered loudly! The three also stood in the tunnel before each match and slapped hands with Trojan wrestlers about to take the mat.

Jonny sees this as only the beginning. “Some of our wrestlers will come and volunteer at CLS to learn more about our day program, the services we provide, and how we affect our community,” said Jonny. “As a coach, I feel it is my responsibility to expose my wrestlers to this population, to fight negative stigmas that may be associated with this community, and act as a role model for the younger generation. Who knows, some of my wrestlers might be the next crop of Imagine! staff!”

Jonny hopes to expand the partnership with LHS and have honorary coaches at other sports as well.

We thank you, Jonny, for all your hard work and creating a world of opportunity for all abilities. Jonny mentioned that his coworkers inspired him to fall in love with this line of work. We know that Jonny will pass that along and inspire future employees to do the same.
Jonny coaching men's Varsity Wrestling at Longmont High School 


Innovations Super Hero of the Month - Chantelle Tweten

Every month, Imagine!'s Innovations department presents the “Super Hero of the Month” award to the employee or provider who has best demonstrated excellence in one or more of our Innovations Quality Standards:

  • Health, Safety, and Wellbeing 
  • Effective and Efficient 
  • Respect and Dignity 
  • Opportunities 
  • Integrity 
  • Care 
This month, the award was presented to Chantelle Tweten, who is a Residential Assistant Site Supervisor at the Santa Fe Group Home.

Chantelle was nominated by her Site Supervisor, and various management team members, who wrote:

I would like to recognize Chantelle Tweten for her hard work and dedication. Santa Fe was recently put in a tough spot last week with the loss of their dryer. Staff did as much as they could at the house, but both Chantelle and another staff took it upon themselves to take home laundry and do it at their homes for all of the individuals here at the Santa Fe House. Chantelle has shown over and over her dedication to the individuals Innovations serves in the daily encounters she has with the folks, and in keeping Santa Fe a well running machine. 

Additionally, Chantelle has been recognized by for being very helpful, and for her assistance in obtaining needed paperwork with a tight time-frame that could have impacted a person’s benefits. Chantelle was able to get the paperwork signed and sent back within an hour, and this allowed the County to continue processing paperwork without interruption of funding.