Thursday, March 23, 2017

Community Living Side By Side: Gerlad's Story

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.

The goal of this month is to create awareness about developmental disabilities, tell stories of people who live with a disability, and show their lives. This year’s Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month has a campaign theme of “Side By Side” to highlight the many ways in which people with and without developmental disabilities come together to form strong, diverse communities. Each week is being set aside for focus on one aspect of that theme.

The different elements of the theme fit in well with Imagine!’s mission of creating a world of opportunity for all abilities, so today we’d like to share a video about an individual who accept services from Imagine!, and whose story demonstrates this week’s theme - Communities Side By Side: Community Living.

If you haven’t seen Gerald’s story yet, get ready to learn how this remarkable man has developed a full and active life in the community despite significant challenges.



#DDawareness17

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Imagine!'s Leadership Development Group Update: March 2017

 Imagine!'s Leadership Development Group Update: March 2017

Submitted by Jessica Gaylord

Pictured above (left to right) are Kathryn Craig, Jessica Gaylord,
Cameron Navis, Alicia Burdick, and MacKenzie Haering

February 15 was the Alliance Awareness Day at the Colorado State Capital. A day when Colorado legislators recognized the Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) community, as well as the Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) who support individuals accepting services.


The day started in the Capitol, where two people accepting services in Colorado recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Then the action started! I sat in the gallery above the Senate Hearing area and watched as different bills were presented and our elected representatives voted on amendments. When Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 17-009 came up, several different state representatives took the stand to share their stories and experiences. It was heartwarming to hear stories from people who don’t work directly in this field, but have still been inspired by someone living with I/DD. After several stories and a few happy tears, a unanimous ‘yes’ vote confirmed that the state will continue recognizing February 15 as a day to celebrate the I/DD community and to continue to support the potential of all – sound familiar?


The second half of the day was spent in a gallery area of the Denver Art Museum. The room was packed with people in celebration of Alliance Awareness Day – State Legislators, Imagine! CEO Mark Emery, people receiving services, and DSPs from a handful of organizations including Imagine!’s own Nicole Jackson who was nominated as our 2017 Direct Service Professional Honoree. Keynote speakers shared stories and thanked the room at large for all their hard work to help the people we serve achieve their goals, but they noted that there’s still room to grow and awareness to spread. However, all their stories faltered in comparison to the speech delivered by Rose Medina.

Rose was born with an intellectual disability. She stood before us and read a speech that she wrote, talking about the trials she endured in school and as she grew up in Texas. She was told she would not be able to read. “But they were wrong” she then read to the crowd. Since moving to Colorado ten years ago, Rose has become gainfully employed, enhanced her independence at home, and now she enjoys a fulfilling and more independent life. Her energy and pride lit the room; she even gave herself pats on the back throughout her speech. What a great reminder for the room at large of what a difference we can become in someone’s life.

The day was full of inspiration, love, and laughter. I’m so glad I was able to be a part of it because it reminded me of the positive impact we all have on the people that we all serve.

Sometimes working in this field can be hard, it can be frustrating, it can feel overwhelming, but this event helped remind me of the valuable opportunities we have as Imagine! team members. Everyone here at Imagine! deserves to be recognized for his or her achievements in this field; it may not be much, but from me to you – thank you for all that you do and the impact you’ve made in creating a world of opportunity for all abilities! I’m proud to be a part of this organization and to work with such amazing people – #allthefeels.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Safety First for Adults

For more information and registration, please contact Julie
by email at jhartman@aclboulder.org, or by telephone at 303.527.0888 ext. 228.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Working Side By Side: Joe's Story

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. The goal of this month is to create awareness about developmental disabilities, tell stories of people who live with a disability, and show their lives.

This year’s Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month has a campaign theme of “Side By Side” to highlight the many ways in which people with and without developmental disabilities come together to form strong, diverse communities.

Each week is being set aside for focus on one aspect of that theme. so for today, we’d like to share a video about an individual who accepts services from Imagine! and whose story demonstrates this week’s theme - Working Side By Side: Employment. The video tells the story of Joe, and how through his work and volunteer efforts he makes a meaningful contribution to his community every day.

Can't see the video? Click here
#DDawareness17

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Case Management Unsung Hero

  Case Management Unsung Hero: March 2017

Submitted by Meagan Rountree

Imagine!’s Case Management department works with many great people. To show how much they are all appreciated, each month they choose an “Unsung Hero” within the department. Case Managers, support staff, and Case Management supervisors all put in nominations describing what the person has contributed to Case Management to go above and beyond to support those we serve.

For March, we’d like to recognize two from our team, Alyssa Ulrey and Chris Barker, as this month’s Case Management Unsung Heroes.

Below is some information which shows why Alyssa and Chris were selected as this month’s recipients by our Case Management team:

Since Alyssa took over her current caseload she has had a client facing significant challenges including abuse of different substances and a family that seems to negatively influence his choices. It appears tough to support him and get him to engage in services. Alyssa has worked hard to find creative ways to meet his needs. She did this with compassion and no judgement of his supports and situation. Alyssa has spent hours on his case and gone above and beyond. Eventually, this client switched to a waiver that better suited his current needs.
Chris is a new Intake Case Manager, who has taken a lead role in a very difficult emergency enrollment. This individual lived up in Greely and was going to be homeless in a few days. Chris took the time to drive up to Greely four separate times, take this client to Social Security, look for resources in the area, and hunt down a hard to obtain Professional Medical Information Page. Chris showed a determination and dedication towards this person that was inspiring for those around him. We are excited to see this continue with other individuals on his caseload. Way to go, Chris, you have now set the bar high!

When you see Alyssa and Chris please congratulate each of them for their hard work and dedication.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Out & About: Celebrating 20 Years of Service


Out & About (O&A)  is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year! To honor this milestone, they're collecting and sharing stories and memories from current and past employees, from the families and individuals they serve, and from the many businesses that support the work of O&A. In fact, we’re collecting and sharing 20 stories from each of those three categories!

Click here to visit the O&A 20th Anniversary page where you can click one of the categories to see the stories.

Would you like to share your story? Contact Fred Hobbs at fhobbs@imaginecolorado.org.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Imagine! Excellence in Customer Service Award: March 2017

Congratulations are in order for Nichole Ricke, who works for Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source (CLS) team, on being selected as the March 2017 recipient of the Imagine! Excellence in Customer Service Award.
Here’s some information from Nichole’s nomination, which ably demonstrates why she was selected as this month’s recipient:

Nichole brings an awesome atmosphere to CLS. She is always smiling and in such a great mood that it inspires those around her, even in tough times. She is extremely patient and understanding with the individuals that we serve and takes the time to slow down and make every experience a learning opportunity. Nichole is also very self-motivated and has worked on several projects in the past year. She has been working with an individual with an extensive behavior plan who attends only community based services. Typically, we have a sort of "primary" for this individual who knows his plan very well, but in this case we haven't for a while. Nichole volunteered to do an in-depth training for this individual and has taken a leadership role in learning who he is and how best to interact with him, and even did an in-depth training on his behavior plan for all of our staff. We have been trying for the past few years to get our "Project RISE" program going, involving in-depth community independence and job skills, but it had fallen through several times. Nichole has been instrumental in getting this program moving and has taken a lead in the process. She created an extensive curriculum, determined class activity days, and has provided each individual with a progress journal that they can write their daily activities in. The ongoing success of the program is due to her diligence in creating quality services and supports for those we serve!

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

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Learning Side By Side: Emily's Story

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. The goal of this month is to create awareness about developmental disabilities, tell stories of people who live with a disability, and show their lives.

This year’s Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month has a campaign theme of “Side By Side” to highlight the many ways in which people with and without developmental disabilities come together to form strong, diverse communities. Each week is being set aside for focus on one aspect of that theme, so for today, we’d like to share a video about an individual who accept services from Imagine!, and whose story demonstrates this week’s theme: Learning Side By Side - Education.

Check out this video about Emily, who through hard work and the support of many surpassed all expectations.


Can't see the video? Click here.

#DDawareness17

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD)

World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) is March 21. The date for WDSD being the 21st day of the 3rd month, was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome.

Click on the logo below to learn more about WDSD.
https://worlddownsyndromeday.org/about-wdsd

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Spread the Word to End the Word

http://www.r-word.org/
Spread the Word to End the Word is an ongoing effort to inspire respect and acceptance through raising the consciousness of society about the R-word and how hurtful words and disrespect can be toward people with intellectual disabilities.
Imagine!'s Innovations department and their Innovations Advocacy Council would like to remind everyone that "Respect" starts with the words that we use on a daily basis.
We all know that it is not always easy to stop using words that have become industry standards, but through the commitment of many, including people accepting service from Imagine!, family members, and those supporting individuals in services, a cultural change can occur.
The Power of a Word:

Words can hold great power and it is through our words that we can potentially hurt or demean others. The council has created some alternative word choices to use:
  • Instead of using “consumer” or “client,” use “individuals with disabilities” or “people with disabilities,” or better yet, refer to individuals simply as people and/or individuals.
  • Instead of using the terminology “high-functioning/low-functioning,” try to explain the parameters of the situation. For example, instead of saying high-functioning, you could say that the person is independent in the community and requires minimal supports. Instead of saying low-functioning, you could say the individual requires additional assistance with daily living tasks
  • Above all else, we should never use the R-Word. While everyone understands that this is an official diagnosis, there are other ways in which to express the diagnosis such as developmental disability or intellectual disability, and plain and simple, this word is offensive regardless if it is used clinically or not.
For further information or to take the pledge to end the use of the R-word, please visit the Spread the Word to End the Word official website at http://www.r-word.org/.