Friday, February 16, 2018

Imagine! Leadership Development Group Update - February 2018

The latest update from Imagine!’s Leadership Development Group (LDG), submitted by LDG member Ally Joel. 


What is motivation? And why is it important? Identifying what motivates us and how to foster more of it depends on the task at hand, who we are, and what changes we are willing to make, at least according to Daniel H. Pink, author of “Drive.”

Imagine!’s Leadership Development Group chose “Drive” as one of the three books we will read over the course of the year. I found it to be useful to better understand how to harness my own motivation, and how to foster an environment that enables employees I supervise to harness their own motivation.

Pink classifies motivation into two categories: carrots and sticks and intrinsic motivation. Carrots and sticks may very well be the type of motivation we are all most familiar with—if we perform a task well, we are rewarded (carrots); if we perform a task poorly/fail to perform a task, we are punished (sticks). This approach can serve as temporary motivation, however, Pink reveals that intrinsic motivation can be a more sustainable form of motivation, in that it is driven by performing the task itself, because perhaps there is a higher need for humans beyond being praised and reprimanded.

In 1949, Harry F. Harlow, a psychology professor from Wisconsin University, and his students conducted a test with rhesus macaques, a species of monkey, to solve a puzzle. Contrary to the field’s prior understanding of motivation, Harlow found that the monkeys who were not given tangible rewards completed the puzzle quicker and with fewer errors compared to the group of monkeys who were given tangible rewards.

Based on this study, and his interest in human behavior/motivation, a student of Harlow’s, Abraham Maslow, later developed the field of “Humanistic Psychology,” which combatted the commonly accepted carrots and sticks approach to motivation. Bridging the gap between Maslow’s new motivational theory and the workplace, Douglas McGregor, and MIT management professor who studied Maslow’s behavioral theories, proposed that “people have other, higher drives…And these drives could benefit businesses if managers and business leaders respected them.”

So, businesses gave it a go. Businesses began embracing new approaches to foster motivation among their workforce. Google, for example, used autonomy as a motivational strategy by suggesting that employees spend twenty percent of their time on a personal project (related to the company). Because Google created an environment that fostered autonomy and thus, intrinsic motivation (creating one’s own project), projects such as Gmail, Google Talk, and Google Translate came to fruition. This tells us that with the right structure, people can innovate, continue to challenge processes, and enjoy day-to-day work just because they want to.

Now I ask, what motivates you? How can you contribute to a motivated workforce to better the services of people living with I/DD?

Food for thought.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Imagine! Early Intervention Rockstar - Amy Miller

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 Amy Miller as this month’s Rockstar.


Amy joined the EI team in late October. Although it’s only been a few months, she has made a great impact on our team. She has managed to conquer our daunting task of electronically scanning all of our files into Questys in the short amount of time she has been with us! She brings a smile to every task she is faced with. We are lucky to have Amy on our team!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Mackie's Giving Heart

Mackie's big smile after losing her two
front teeth on both top and bottom.
Photo credit to Elizabeth Hill
Imagine! is very grateful to all of our generous donors throughout the years. Today’s spotlight focuses on perhaps our youngest donor yet, seven-year old Mackie Ball.

Late last month, Mackie noticed her mom getting dressed up for a fancy event and asked why. She found out that her mom, Laura, was going to the Imagine! Celebration, our annual fundraising gala. Laura works in Imagine!’s Human Resources department and attended the event as a volunteer to help with behind the scenes work.

“What is that?” asked Mackie. Laura explained to her daughter what the event was for and that Imagine! helps people with developmental disabilities. Mackie remained curious. Laura then said, “every year, Imagine! makes a video about someone we have helped and it makes me cry happy tears every time.”

“Can I watch the video?” asked Mackie. Her mother told her that the video will be online after the event, but she can watch it after that.

After hearing this, Mackie went into her room, grabbed her purse, took out the $4.00 the Tooth Fairy had given her, brought it to her mother, and asked her to donate it to Imagine!. After asking Mackie what made her decide to donate, she responded, “Because there are kids with disabilities that don’t always get to do the things that I get to do.”

Mackie woke up the next morning and asked her mother about the money and the video. They found the video online and Mackie watched it. “What did you think of the video?” Laura asked. Mackie replied, “I like it because it shows someone’s life getting better and they became happier.” (See below to watch the video Mackie is talking about). 

Mackie’s four dollar donation was given to the Imagine! Foundation and logged in the books. A very special thanks to Mackie and Laura for fostering the spirit of giving, no matter your age.

Imagine!'s Family Support Bulletin - February/March 2018


Imagine!'s latest Family Support Bulletin is available online.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Medicare Issuing New Cards Starting In April

Important information for individuals and families served by Imagine!: 

Medicare will be issuing new Medicare cards starting April 2018. Every Medicare recipient will receive a new card. The new Medicare Number will be randomized, unique to the recipient, and will no longer reveal anything about the client’s benefits. Cards will be mailed between April 2018 – April 2019. The new card will not change any coverage or any benefits. Medicare will provide additional information with the new card.


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Imagine! Case Management Unsung Hero - Mariah Kolhruss-Ecker

Imagine!’s Case Management department works with many great people. To show their appreciation, 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 go above and beyond to support those we serve.

We would like to recognize Mariah Kolhruss-Ecker as this month’s Unsung Hero!


Mariah recently coordinated a very difficult and time-consuming emergency request. She was able to re-prioritize her job tasks to focus on the request, from the time the need was identified to the time the individual was re-located to a safe place. Mariah did all of this with a professional and calm demeanor, even during stressful situations. Mariah worked closely with the client’s team and stayed in constant communication with the team, her supervisor, and the Program Manager until the crisis was resolved, which spanned several days. Thank you, Mariah, for being such a dedicated case manager!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Imagine! Hosts Visitors From China


Earlier today, Imagine! hosted a group of international visitors from China who are interested in learning more about non-profit management in the United States. We enjoyed their company and appreciate their interest in Imagine!. These visitors were invited to the United States under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program, and the visit was arranged by Meridian International Center.

The visitors are spending time going to a variety of non-profits and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) across the county, following these specific objectives:

  • Explore the history and evolution of the non profit sector in the U.S. and the tax structure that supports public/private cooperation; 
  • Illustrate the diversity of the non profit sector in the U.S. and the dynamic relationships between business, government, and non governmental organizations; 
  • Examine innovative technology and management strategies used by non governmental organizations (NGOs) in the U.S.; and 
  • Review NGO methodologies for strengthening leadership; recruiting, training, and retaining volunteers; fundraising; and advocacy. 
This is the second time Imagine! has hosted international visitors as a result of this program, and we are delighted to share our knowledge, to learn from them in return, and to work together on discovering global solutions to challenges facing us all.