Thursday, January 29, 2015

Lana Visits The Humane Society

Lana, who lives in Imagine!'s Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder, visited the Humane Society earlier this month to play and visit with all the cats and dogs there. Lana says she loves animals and wanted to share her experience with everyone! Thank you to Shannon Bundy who is the site supervisor at the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome for sharing these pictures.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Emily’s Story

The video below debuted at the Imagine! Celebration this past Friday night, January 23, 2015. It tells the powerful and moving story of Emily Micklin, and why her family, including Patti Micklin, Executive Director of the Imagine! Foundation), is grateful for the support they receive from Imagine!. Get out your tissues!

Can’t see the video? Click here

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Apps for Learning

Imagine!’s Dayspring department provides educational and therapeutic services that promote and support children ages birth to three who have developmental delays or disabilities, their families, and the community.

Dayspring therapists have long used the latest in technology to help in delivering meaningful and impactful services. Today, they share some online apps and videos that they have found useful in their work.

Duck Duck Moose has a variety of apps for both Android and Apple devices that interactively delight children while encouraging cognitive, language, and motor development. Here are just a few Duck Duck Moose app recommendations from Dayspring therapists:

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Old MacDonald

Wheels on the Bus

Duck Duck Moose apps are available on Google Play and iTunes.

Imagine!’s Dayspring therapists also suggest BabyU and BabyFirst Video at BabyFirst as a place for young children to explore. Below are a few recommended activities. Each activity even tracks data so you can see how the child is progressing!

Numbers and Counting 1 to 5

Basic Shapes





BabyFirst Videos and Apps are available on Google Play and on iTunes.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

HCPF Seeks Focus Group/Advisory Council Participants

The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF) and the Department of Human Services are working to redesign and improve methods for people to learn about their options for long-term services and supports and to enroll in programs. The first step in this process is to facilitate focus groups through a series of conference calls. The Departments are seeking input from people who currently access long-term services and supports, and those who work with them. As a consumer, caregiver, or frontline staff member, your ideas and experiences are particularly important.

The purpose of this call is to gather information about your personal experiences as a consumer, caregiver, or frontline staff member. State employees will not be on any of the calls. All comments will be shared in summary (i.e. you will not be quoted directly in any way, unless you request it). Each call will be limited to 8-10 participants and will be professionally facilitated by a consultant (not a state employee) to assure that your time is respected. Your input about what works – and particularly, what doesn’t work – about the current system will be invaluable as the state plans for a more coordinated, consumer-friendly system.

Call in times for consumers and caregivers:
  • Monday, February 2nd from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. 
  • Thursday, February 5th from 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. 
  • Thursday, February 5th from 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. 
  • Tuesday, February 10th from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. 
Call in times for frontline staff members:
  • Tuesday, February 3rd from 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. 
  • Monday, February 9th from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. 
  • Thursday, February 12th from 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. 

Participation is based on a first-come, first-served basis. To RSVP or if you have any questions, please contact Aron Snyder at or 303-866-3312. Call-in information will be provided to you after you RSVP. To compensate you for your time, all participants will be given $15 gift cards following the call.

Additionally, HCPF is creating a Member and Family Advisory Council.

The goal of this advisory council is to gather feedback and ideas on how to integrate more person- and family-centered practices into policies, partnerships and programs. The advisory council plans to meet six to eight times in 2015. Mileage reimbursement and incentives for participation are available. To apply, print out the application below and fax to 303-866-2505.

For more information, or to have an application emailed to you, contact Olivia Covey at 303-866-2324 or

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Imagine!'s Leadership Development Program Update for January

Pictured from left to right are: Mason Turnage, who works for Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source department; Sarah Baglee, who works for Imagine!’s Early Intervention department; Emily Pitt, who works for Imagine!’s Innovations department; Elena Ciaravino, who works for Imagine!’s Out & About department; Cassie Rogers, who works for Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source department; and Meagan Rountree, who works for Imagine!’s Case Management department.

December has been a busy month for the Leadership Development Group. Members of the group attended the Joint Budget Committee Briefings and Hearings at the Capitol in Denver. This month we will begin meeting and assigning task towards the development of our two case studies we will be working on for the next six months. We have also concluded reading our first book, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” by Patrick Lencioni. This month also held some fun and joy for the group, as we attended holiday parties, including the Imagine! Holiday Party on December 5.

Attending the Joint Budget Committee briefing was an eye opening experience. It is always a learning experience for me to see how the Colorado General Assembly directly affects Imagine! and those with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) receiving services across the state. The majority of our group attended the Joint Budget Committee briefing on December 5.

To my own personal surprise, a lot of this briefing was spent explaining terms, acronyms, and general information about services to the committee, made up of Representatives and Senators of the Colorado General Assembly. I was, however, grateful for the explanations, as a lot of the information presented was fast paced and seemed to be out of my immediate scope of knowledge of services and their funding in our state. I became aware of the transfer of I/DD Waiver Services from the Department of Human Services to the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. I learned a lot of the differences between Community Centered Boards (CCBs), such as Imagine!, and Regional Centers in our state and how and why they are funded differently. I also learned and heard about current waitlists and how some services are struggling to grow as fast as people are coming off the waitlist. You can view the briefing summary and final hearing decisions at the two links below.

This month we will be meeting up in two groups to begin discussions on our case study topics to get the ball rolling. Elena, Sarah and I will be pursuing the topic of Employee Compensation Packages and the benefits employees receive. We will be exploring what it would mean to Imagine! if all employees who were eligible accessed their benefits. We will also be measuring the cost of how wages would change if benefits were allocated to wages instead of compensation packages.

Meagan, Emily, and Mason will be working on a case study on the topic of Person Centered Thinking. This past year, a federal rule was made to ensure that our individuals in long term services, and supports and in home and community based services will receive fairness in their opportunities for employment, control and choice over their life and finances, and integration into the community, just as those outside of services are granted. The goal of this case study is to explore the avenues in which Imagine! is already training for and implementing Person Centered Thinking and compare it to other similar organizations. This group will determine if Imagine!’s current training and implementation are sufficient, prior to the state potentially mandating its own methodology. Findings will be formally presented to the Strategic Planning Committee in May.

As a group, we finished reading our first book, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” and will be meeting to discuss it soon. This book was a great read and we highly recommend it to any and all! Personally, I could relate this book not only to my work team, but also in my personal relationships outside of work. The book is written as a fable telling the story of a woman in a new CEO position with a dysfunctional executive team. The book goes through the five dysfunctions of this team and how they are made better by working through each dysfunction as a team. The book talks a lot about how teams need accountability and a common goal, as well as what it takes to get a team to a place where they can hold one another accountable to that common goal. Again, we highly recommend this book to all!

In the upcoming months, we are looking forward to a lot of hard work towards our case studies, reading our second book, “The Reason I Jump,” by Naoki Higashida, and attending the Mountain States Employers Council’s two day “Leadership Through Influence” conference in February. Thank you all so much for your interest in our progress and support!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Imagine! Ambassador

Imagine! Ambassador Jessie Irvin, who both receives services from Imagine! and volunteers with Imagine!’s Dayspring program, shared her story with the Board of Directors of the Imagine! Foundation on January 13. As an Imagine! Ambassador, Jessie’s goal is to help business, community and political leaders to connect with the people that Imagine! serves on a personal level and to help the broader community understand that we all have more similarities than real differences.

If you’d like to learn more about Jessie, check out the story that she shared about herself by clicking here.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Let There Be Music . . .

Today we’d like to spotlight Imagine!’s Longmont CORE/Labor Source (CLS) hub and the Music Composition Class that is taught by Kelly Faus. Everyone in class has the opportunity to build into the song; the most popular means is by using CLS’s digital drum kit’s MIDI capabilities. If you’re not familiar with MIDI technologies or what you can do with them, Kelly offers a quick overview in the video below.
Can’t see the video? Click here.

The great advantage to using the drum kit specifically is that it allows individuals with largely varying fine and gross motor skill levels to be able to play drums, guitar, bass, keyboard, any wind instrument, and many more, simply activating each pressure pad in the kit as he or she sees fit.

Now, on to the musical composition. For each project, the class first reviewed four primary sections to a musical composition: rhythm, a bass line, harmony, and a melody. The class would then layer in each of these components to produce the final composition.

For the rhythm section, the class decided together on a drum loop they’d like to put together. There were a lot of considerations the class discussed, including musical style, theme, and tempo. For this project, the general consensus was a “Happy Funky Psychedelic” beat (a pretty tall order). After trying out a couple of loops, the gang settled on one that they felt best fits the bill.

Next on deck was the bass line. Scott decided to step in and lay down the bass track. After deciding on which bass sound he felt would fit the composition, he was able to lay the track down in real time, as you can see in this video. Once the bass line was set and everyone was satisfied, other participants tried their hand at a melody.
Can’t see the video? Click here.

Once a melody was established, other harmonies were introduced. In this way, everyone had the chance to lay down one or more tracks until they all agreed the composition was complete. Have a listen below to see what they came up with!
Can’t see the video? Click here.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Imagine!'s Out & About Program Partners with the YMCA of Boulder Valley

The YMCA of Boulder Valley has an after school program for students, and a handful of their staff work one-on-one with students with developmental disabilities. This group of YMCA staff met at Imagine! in early November to discuss positive instruction methods with Out & About Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) Lisa Bargatze and Beth Gessert. “We opened the floor and allowed them to bring up particular situations they find challenging with the kiddos they work with,” said Lisa.

For example: one student in particular had a rough time accepting he was “out” during a game in the gym. He yelled and insisted he was still “in.” With the help of Lisa and Beth, the group brainstormed how to help this student transition out of the game. One idea: before the game starts, prompt the student to choose a spot in the building that he can call his “special spot.” Once he is tagged out, go to the spot and let him hang out in his “cool, special spot” until the next round begins.

“The training O&A provided for our staff was something we would not of had anyone in house with the same experience,” said Tasia Krause, YMCA of Boulder Valley Vice President of School Age Programs.

In return for the training session, the Y opened their Arapahoe and 95th facility to our School Closure Day group during the Thanksgiving break. Our participants had access to swimming, ice skating, bike riding, basketball, yoga, and other fitness activities. “A highlight for me was watching two participants in particular ice skate,” said Lisa. “They initially held onto the wall or an instructor, but with time, found their balance and skated around for a while on their own!” We look forward to working with YMCA of Boulder Valley again!

Rachel and Jackie ice skating with their instructors at the YMCA

We'd like to send a big thank you to Scott Wendelberger for sharing this story