Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Imagine!’s 2015 / 2016 Leadership Development Group Update: April

In March, Imagine!’s Leadership Development Group (LDG) attended the second of five Great Leaders series of training's. The most recent training focused upon motivation and engagement for the workforce of the twenty-first century. Our training was centered around aspects of the book DRIVE by Daniel Pink and how he focuses on different concepts of motivating employees. Mr. Pink, states that “The question so many people ask – namely ‘How do I motivate people to learn? To do their chores? To take their medicine? are the wrong questions’. They are wrong because they imply that motivation is something that gets done to people rather than something that people do within themselves.”

Simply put, DRIVE asserts that “We cannot motivate other people. People are motivated by their own reasons, and not yours. As a Leader you can only create an environment in which people are motivated to perform at their best, as a self-motivated team player.”

To understand motivation, we must understand human nature itself. An understanding of human nature is a pre-requisite to meaningful motivation, management, and leadership.

LDG members Shannon Bundy, Sterling Wind, Laura Ball, Tim West-Heiss, Maria Klickna
with their Great Leader Instructor, Jan Baller

Here are some additional comments from the LDG members on what they got out of our most recent Great Leaders training:

I really enjoyed the most recent Great Leaders training on how to motivate and engage today’s employees. I was surprised to learn that statistics show that only 26% of employees are engaged, loyal, and productive. An additional 55% of employees are not as engaged and simply do what is required of them. Our job is to create an environment in which employees are motivated to perform at their best. The pay-offs of high engagement are immense: the first pay-off is lower staff turnover, the second is greater customer loyalty, and the third is increased productivity. I believe Imagine! has a much higher level of engagement then the national average, but there is always room for improvement. The LDG recently conducted a staff survey and the top three motivators were: 1) the individuals we serve, 2) the work environment, and 3) co-workers. I encourage all managers to find out what motivates your staff, and then work like heck towards greater engagement! – Laura Ball

I have learned a great deal from the Great Leaders training series. During this last training we discussed how leaders motivate and engage today's employees. We discussed many things in length, starting with the differences in employee engagement of different generations. We focused on the importance of the "millennial" generation and how we need to learn, as leaders, the key ways to motivate these individuals in the workplace. We also focused on the book, DRIVE by Daniel Pink and how he focuses on different concepts of motivating employees. Daniel Pink illustrates the "carrot and stick" idea of how it worked in the past, but that it is the wrong way to motivate people in today's challenges. From this, we moved into the topic of goal setting. I think I took away the most from the goal setting discussion. I have always been one to develop goals in my head but never truly follow through with these goals. I learned that the only way to truly accomplish a goal is to write it down and develop an action plan. Right after our training I went straight home and wrote down all my goals and developed action plans for the first time. I can already feel the increased motivation to work on these goals and strive to accomplish them. – Shannon Bundy

The second training in the Great Leaders series was very interesting and covered “How Great Leaders Motivate and Engage Today’s Employees”. We discussed in great lengths what motivates us and the importance of having a clear passion, purpose, and goals surrounding your work every day. I was affected by a discussion surrounding realizing and internalizing the power of goals. I learned that a well written goal follows the SMART rule (the S stands for Specific, the M stands for Measureable, the A stands for Aligned, the R stands for Realistic and Result Oriented, and the T stands for Time Specific). Writing down your specific professional or personal goals will assist you in internalizing your goals and will get you closer to meeting those goals. There is great power in writing down and revisiting your goals on an ongoing basis. – Maria Klickna

During the second iteration of our Great Leaders series training, we discussed how great leaders motivate and engage today’s employees. This training influenced me in many ways, and something that really stands out is the generational differences in employee engagement strategies. We touched on how the expectations of individuals from “generation x” are different than the expectations of “baby boomers,” and different yet from “millennials,” and how to incorporate these expectations into workplace leadership. This is an important concept that resonates with me since much of what DRIVE, by Daniel Pink, alludes to is the idea that motivation is not something that is done "to you,” it’s done “within you" and only truly occurs when the environment supports your motivational framework! – Tim West-Heiss

Work can be viewed as being either task-oriented or purpose-oriented. The goal for leaders is to create a dynamic environment where each of us can rediscover the role of purpose in our work. Without a clear notion of purpose, we cannot make intelligent choices to tackle our work activities, and thus we’re deprived of a connection to the meaning that our work accomplishes. That’s one of the reasons why I value Imagine!’s new mission statement “Creating a world of opportunity for all abilities.” I believe that through our new purpose driven mission statement we can ask ourselves “How am I working to achieve the mission of Imagine!?” – Sterling Wind

Leadership is not limited by your or my job title. Our challenge as team members is what will be your next move towards contributing to making our shared work environment purposeful so that every team member is performing at their best!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Out & About Cycling Club

Imagine!’s Out & About program has been riding strong since the launch of a Cycling Club last month. Participants have been building their endurance, balance, and enthusiasm for bicycle riding thanks to a generous donation from Strider Sports International.


In the video clip below, Dolores, who is a member of the Out & About Cycling Club, talks about when she last rode a bicycle!

You can read more about the donation that helped launch this Cycling Club by clicking here.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Out & About Centre Stage for Kids: Save the Date

Mark your calendars for April 29 for Imagine!’s Out & About department’s 2016 Centre Stage for Kids performance of “The Princess Who Never Laughed.” This original play was written, produced, and will be performed by our school aged Out & About participants.

The performance showcases participants’ special talents as they each do their best to try and make their Princess laugh. Each student has been working on his/her own individual goals within the larger cast goals, and the progress everyone is making has been impressive.

The performance will be held at Centaurus High School in Lafayette. Doors open at 6:30, the performance is at 7:00, and there will be a reception afterwards. This free event will be fun for the whole family, and I hope to see all of you there!

Special thanks for the contributions made by BackStory Theater of all primary costume pieces and props, and for the support of Out & About staff members. The performance is sponsored by the Parent Engagement Network and the City of Lafayette.

To get a sneak peek of what you will be experiencing at the performance, take a look at the pictures below from a recent dress rehearsal.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Below, you will find an informative video featuring an interview with Patti Micklin, Executive Director of the Imagine! Foundation. The interview was conducted by Richard Ackerman, a member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. Many thanks to Richard and our good friends at RE/MAX of Boulder for creating this video and helping us share our mission.

Can’t see the video? Click here

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Imagine!’s 2015 / 2016 Leadership Development Group Update: March 2016

Tim West-Heiss, Shannon Bundy, Maria Klickna, Laura Ball, Sterling Wind
This year’s Leadership Development Group recently started a leadership training series through Mountain States Employers Council (MSEC) titled Great Leaders and an additional two day course called Leadership Through Influence.

These courses are focused on developing and recognizing leadership skills. The courses tie together nicely and emphasize that with the ability to lead comes the ability to influence. The courses have given LDG members time to reflect on what makes a great leader and leaders that have had an influence on their lives. Here are some comments from LDG members when they were asked about a leader that has had an impact on their lives:

Early in my career in the Human Services field, I was blessed to have the most incredible leader and mentor as a direct manager who has left a long lasting impact on me and on my own career. My mentor possessed many of the qualities a great leader should have. She was innovative, led by example, genuinely cared about her staff and inspired trust within her team as a whole. She was a fantastic leader who was passionate about the work we were doing every day. She inspired me to achieve more than I thought was possible and I find myself striving to emulate her in my own work every day. – Maria Klickna

Someone that instantly comes to mind when I think of a leader is my father. He is someone I’ve always naturally looked up to since he is my dad, but he has been more of an influence on me than I think he is aware of. My father has been the minister for several churches throughout my life and every Sunday growing up he would deliver a message to the congregation about various things. Generally these were inspirational stories or moral guidance messages, but I remember being glued to the content of these messages and realizing that it wasn’t just me who was glued. My dad had a remarkable ability to influence others through these messages and is viewed as a leader by many in this context. He is a great leader and has always been someone of tremendous influence in my life even if he may not know it. – Tim West-Heiss

When I think of a leader in my life that has had an impact on me personally, the first person who comes to mind is my mentor Karen Kalis. She has pushed me to always strive to better myself in all aspects of my career. I admire the way she leads and strive to be more like her. She has made me feel like the ideas I have and directions I take in the company are good ones. This then makes me feel more confident to continue to express my ideas and continue to try and look at different directions to take to better the work environment. Karen has helped me push myself to do my best in every aspect of my job as well as strive to develop more leadership skills for future positions. I enjoy all my mentor meetings with Karen and appreciate all the support she has given me to develop my leadership skills. – Shannon Bundy

I’ve been inspired by many leaders throughout my life. Many have inspired me with their humbleness, concern for others, and desire to leave things a bit better than they originally found them. I appreciate a leader who is willing to jump right in to lend a hand, listening to gather perspective, and then work their tail off to contribute towards strengthening the common good. To me leadership isn’t about perfection, because perfection is the enemy of the good. – Sterling Wind

A leader who has had a significant impact on my life was my college swim coach, Rich Pein. There is no way I could have accomplished what I did without his influence. He cared about all of us and our performance not just in the pool, but also in the classroom and more importantly in our lives. He was passionate and inspired all of us to achieve our personal goals. He built one of the greatest teams I have ever been a part of. I strongly believe that how we perform is a result of the environment and the people we surround ourselves with. – Laura Ball

Many Imagine! employees are role models and leaders to the individuals we serve. Leadership is not limited to a job title. Leadership is a set of skills every member of our organization can master and demonstrate.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Imagine!’s Tuneberg Remote Supports Project Update

Here's an update on Imagine!’s Tuneberg Remote Supports Project from today’s edition of The Daily Camera. It is a great example of how we continue to explore new avenues in providing services.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Fun at Gateway Fun Park

The folks from Imagine!'s Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome had a fantastic outing on Saturday. All staff members and residents were invited to go to Gateway Fun Park in Boulder. They played mini golf, went through a maze, did some go cart racing, and played arcade games. Johnny really enjoyed the mini golf and ended up being really good at it! Rebecca was laughing so hard when she rode the go carts! She said she had so much fun! And all of the residents and staff members really enjoyed playing arcade games and winning prizes.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Social Skills Research Project opportunity for Families with Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing with Special Needs

New information from the Colorado Autism Monitoring Project

The following information is from Kelly Mast, Autism Projects Coordinator for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

I am pleased to announce the release of new data from the CDC’s Autism Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Project – of which Colorado is a part. Roughly every two years we are able to provide new estimates on the number and characteristics of 8-year-old children with autism spectrum disorder. Today we present information for those children who were born in 2004 and 8 years old in 2012. (

Key findings of the new report are:
  • For the Network overall (11 sites), the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder remains similar to two years ago with 1 in 68 children identified with ASD.
  • In the Denver metropolitan area (Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson counties), we identified fewer children with ASD (1 in 92) compared with the Network overall. This estimate, however, is slightly higher than the number we identified last year (1 in 101).
  • In Colorado in 2012, we primarily worked with health care facilities and only a handful of our fabulous school districts. From previous work, we know that school districts play a vital role, along with health care providers, in evaluating and serving children with autism. In fact, in 2008 in the metro area, we found that about 30% of children with ASD only received services in the educational setting. As a result, our estimate this year likely under represents the actual number of children with ASD in the Denver metro area.
  • Despite 87% of children with ASD having a developmental concern indicated in an evaluation prior to age 3, only 41% received a comprehensive evaluation for these concerns by 36 months. I challenge us to narrow this gap. Many communities across Colorado have prioritized early childhood screening in their maternal and child health plans. Please go to and search “early childhood screening” or explore to find out more.
  • Colorado data continue to show that Hispanic children are less likely (2x less likely!) to be identified with autism by age 8 and they also receive developmental evaluations later than white children. I challenge us all to do more to assure all children - regardless of race, ethnicity or socioeconomic situation - are evaluated early. If interested, the Association of University Centers on Disabilities is hosting a webinar on April 21, 2016 at 1:00 Mountain on “Parents Taking Action: Empowering Latina Mothers of Children with ASD” ( ). If others have resources or are spearheading initiatives to address this area, please let me know! At 12:30 today, CDC will host a Partner Discussion about the Network data. Call in information is as follows: Call Line: 888-795-0855 Call Passcode: Autism

Additionally, on April 21, 2016 from 10:00 to 11:30, JFK Partners at the University of Colorado School of Medicine is hosting a webinar on autism spectrum disorder in collaboration with the HCP program at CDPHE. I’ll present a detailed update of the Network data, and you’ll also hear about new research efforts to identify causes of ASD (Susan Hepburn) and interventions for sleep problems (Ann Reynolds). Information can be found on the JFK Partners website ( under “Events.”

Finally, many, many thanks to all of you for your continued support of the Colorado Autism Monitoring Project! Many of you have been active partners in data collection and we could not do this work without your continued partnership. Others have provided guidance and insight into the information we analyze and report. You’re continued collaboration make this effort successful. More information about the ADDM project can be found on the CDC’s website,

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Imagine! Excellence in Customer Service Award: April 2016

Congratulations are in order for Jonathan Brennan, who works at the Longmont CORE/Labor Source (CLS) site, on being selected as the April 2016 recipient of the Imagine! Excellence in Customer Service Award.

Here is some information from Jonathan’s nomination, which ably demonstrates why he selected as this month’s recipient:

Jonny has been an excellent addition to the Longmont CLS team. Jonny's enthusiastic attitude is contagious and truly promotes an extremely positive atmosphere both for our staff and clients. Jonny has a strong drive to learn, and it shows in his dedication to the job. He has demonstrated extreme initiative in many ways. Recently, on his own time, he went to a training at KGNU to learn how to use the equipment so that our KGNU class on Fridays would be able to potentially get airtime on the radio.

During this class, Jonny has also introduced several ideas to engage not just the class, but the greater community. He developed the "CORE Gazette," which includes excerpts from each of the individuals in the KGNU class about various things such as "Today in History" or "Recipes for Favorite Cupcakes," and printed out a few copies and distributed them to other CLS staff. These are just a few examples of how Jonny goes above and beyond his job requirements on a consistent basis to promote quality services and a positive work environment for everyone!

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

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Imagine!'s New Mission Statement

Today we'd like to introduce Imagine!’s new mission statement, and share the graphic poster below, that is one example of how we're introducing our new mission at our offices.


Several people commented about how much they liked the artwork in the background of the graphic. As the graphic points out, it is a piece created by an individual who accepts services from Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source (CLS) department.

In addition to the art above, CLS art classes have been busy creating many beautiful watercolor paintings (like the ones below), and some of them are available for purchase! You are encouraged to check out the CLS Etsy page here to purchase art and support some very talented and creative artists.