Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Congratulations to Teri

Congratulations to Teri, who receives support services from Imagine!, and who is celebrating her twenty-fifth year of work with King Soopers in Boulder, CO.

When asked what she likes best about her job as a courtesy clerk, she paused to think for a bit, and then said “simply everything!”

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Imagine!'s CORE/Labor Source in the Winter 2014 Edition of Boulder Magazine

Did you catch the terrific story titled “Ramble on Over” about Ramble on Pearl and CORE/Labor Source in the winter 2014 edition of Boulder Magazine? If not . . . you should check out page 28 of their virtual edition to read more at Boulder Magazine Winter 2014 Virtual Edition.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Imagine! Surrounding Yourself with Smart People - We Do with CU Boulder

A group of University of Colorado Engineering students in a 2014 Fall Semester class taught by Associate Professor Melinda Piket-May spent the semester working on projects to design simple adaptive technologies that aid increased independence for some of the individuals Imagine! serves. I invite you to check out some of the videos of the students demonstrating their projects. The videos are short and well worth your time – this is some amazing stuff.

Resonating Head Band

This device can act as a cost effective hearing aid (even works underwater!) or just as a fun way to listen to music.

Ultimate Music Experience 

This project allows an individual served by Imagine! who has a hearing disability to “hear” music through vibrations in water.

Smart Shower

Created to allow an individual served by Imagine! to shower independently through verbal prompts on an mp3.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Imagine!'s Leadership Development Program Update for December

 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.

One of the highlights of this Leadership Development Group experience has been attending the 14th annual Coleman Institute Conference on Cognitive Disability and Technology. Held at the Omni Hotel in Broomfield, CO, the Coleman Institute Conference is a yearly event focusing on all things tech for people experiencing a cognitively disabled. It is a world-renowned event with a diverse attendance, but all are there for one goal: to bring a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives together for the purpose of collaborating on new ideas to perpetuate the ability of our community to access new technology and information. The LDG was invited along with staff members from Imagine!’s technology department, executive team, and various other departments.  It was an honor for us to be a part of such a progressive group, and to see first hand what is being done in our community and around the country for people with cognitive disabilities and those who provide care.  

With a full day of seminars and breakout sessions, we headed into the conference room anticipating lots of great information, and planning to return to our respective departments with new knowledge and tools to further develop the technology we use for our clients. We expected to enhance our ability to understand the importance of new technology and what those resources mean for our future. The itinerary did not disappoint. 

The first major presentation at the conference focused on The Declaration of the Rights of People with Cognitive Disabilities to Technology and Information Access. Please take a moment to view the declaration and watch an informational video about the document and its history: http://colemaninstitute.org/declaration. It was powerful to listen to the presenters outline the document and how it is being used to enhance the lives of those with cognitive disabilities. This is an incredible collaborative movement toward improving the way people with cognitive disabilities access technology and information, thereby increasing independence and providing equal quality of life for all. 

Another great presentation focused on self-advocacy and how its definition is changing with the use of new technology and platforms. “Selfie Advocacy” showcased new tools for education, health and care for people with intellectual and cognitive disabilities. One of the latest and coolest tools being developed now is the Wiki, a personalized, easy-build website designed for people with varied abilities to show who they are and what they’re all about in a way that previously wasn’t possible. To learn more and to see some other projects, please visit www.rixcentre.org.

Of the many breakout sessions available, a favorite was “Collective Empowerment: The Family Triad.” This session had a panel discussing the understanding of the perspectives of people with disabilities, and also the perspectives of their parents and siblings. As a sibling of a person with a disability, this presentation was of particular interest. We all benefitted from hearing the voice of Cathy, a self-advocate and the vice-president of Self Advocates Becoming Empowered. She brought up interesting points about self-advocacy and how it relates to the way families advocate for their children with disabilities. We also heard from Danielle Frost, a representative of Colorado Parent to Parent, and from Shea Tanis, the Associate Director of the Coleman Institute, who is a sibling advocate. The unique viewpoints from all three presenters made for a well-rounded view of what it means to advocate for people with disabilities, and how they advocate for themselves in new and innovative ways.

We really appreciated the opportunity to take part in such a fantastic day of learning and new ideas. Technology available to us these days is abundant, and making sure that we all have equal access to it is increasingly important as we progress as humanity.

And it rained, which, as a Seattle native, made it even that much more fun.

If you haven’t already, please request to join the Leadership Development Group on Facebook. You will need to click on the “Request to Join” button, and once your request is approved, you will be able to view the comments and be part of the discussion.

Thank you to Mason Turnage for sharing this great update!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Imagine!’s own Stephanie Tilley was the subject of an article in Apostrophe Magazine last month.

Apostrophe is a national publication promoting inclusion of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Their stories and photos show people achieving independence, contributing to their communities, and enjoying life.

In the article, Stephanie explains why using technology is so important to those with developmental and intellectual disabilities, and gives examples of how she has incorporated technology in the classes she taught while working in Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source department.

Check out the story here.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Holiday Cheer at Imagine!'s Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome

On Wednesday of this week, a group of volunteers from the University of Colorado at Boulder stopped by Imagine!’s Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome. The volunteers helped raise the levels of “Holiday Cheer” with art and craft, and a round or three of Christmas Bingo. They even brought small gifts for each of the residents, which if you didn’t know can cause a pizza party to spontaneously erupt. All reports were that the pizza was delicious!

To top off the day, residents from the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome, our new friends from CU Boulder, and residents from Imagine!’s new Santa Fe home in Broomfield all headed out to watch a dress rehearsal of the Christmas Carol that will be playing on the CU Boulder campus.
We'd like to send out a big "thank you" to Shannon who is the supervisor at Imagine!'s Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder for sharing these photos and story with us.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Ramble On Pearl: Shop Saavy and Change Lives

Congratulations to Kate and Kendra, Ramble On Pearl's first two apprentices! They have graduated from the apprenticeship program, and are now Master Apprentices. This means that they may now work shifts as a Ramble Associate without the need of a job coach.

Both gals are amazing workers who have gained a lot of skills while in the apprenticeship program. Kate and Kendra are hoping to someday translate the skills that they’ve developed at Ramble On Pearl into working with animals. Get in touch with Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source (CLS) department if you know of a business that would benefit from these smiling faces working hard for them!

Here is a link to a recent story about Ramble On Pearl from the Daily Camera.

Check out Ramble on Pearl at 1638 Pearl to shop savvy and change lives!

We'd like to send out a big "thank you" to Imagine!'s CORE/Labor Source Department for sharing this story with us.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Mandy’s New Book – “Mandy’s Magical Christmas Story”

Our friend Mandy has published another book! This one is called “Mandy’s Magical Christmas Story.” Learn more, including how to purchse the book and support this talented author, by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Out & About New Participant Feature

Entering a new school year, Out & About has a few new participants in the After School Program. Joining the group this year is Jordyn, a happy 11-year old with a wonderful smile. Searching for a new program since she aged out of her previous situation, her parents found Out & About. “As with any new schedule, it was a challenge at first getting used to the different activities every day, but everyone has been so understanding and patient, and Jordyn is enjoying herself,” said Frank, Jordyn’s father.

Jordyn attends the After School Program every day, which gives her an opportunity to participate in a variety of activities. From splashing in the pool, to cruising around the dance studio to the latest pop tunes, to bowling a strike, Jordyn consistently gives us her contagious smile and has high spirits and energy for each activity.

“Jordyn has always been a very social girl, but I think she has become even more so by getting to interact with all of the other kids in the program at the various activities outside of school,” said Frank.

A big welcome to Jordyn and her family to the Out & About family!

We’d like to send out a big "thank you" to Scott Wendelberger who works with Imagine!'s Out & About program for sharing this story with us.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Night of Elegance

On November 3, 2014, Innovations and the Innovations Advocacy Council hosted a Fall Formal at the Imagine! Coal Creek Building.  Guests received formal invitations to the event, and the event was widely attended by many folks with Innovations and Imagine! staff.
As individuals arrived for the event in their ball gowns, suits, and formal attire, they were greeted by a lighted entryway, sprinkled with red and white rose petals.  The event, which was held from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM, hosted a live band made up of 19th Street Group Home staff members Russ Christiansen and Scott McDermott. The band was an instant success. Their version of “Brown-Eyed Girl” made everyone dance and swing.  There was a craft table where people could make personalized picture frames and a photo booth with derby flair.  There was a raffle and an award for the best derby hat, and everyone sampled dessert of all varieties.  A bouquet of flowers which adorned the dessert table was donated by Lafayette Florist. All the tables were packed with eating, laughing, and good times.  All of the lights were donated by staff members and a special thanks to Brittany Huston and Leeann Danielson for creating all of the fabulous decorations.  Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source participants created paper flowers that were hung all over the room and the desserts were donated by staff members, providers, and family members.  Overall, the event was an amazing success and everyone had a splendid time.  At the end of the night, the only question that people were asking was, “When is the next one?”.
A special thank you to everyone who donated to this amazing event, as well as Brittany Huston, Leeann Danielson, Anna Knott, CORE/Labor Source art class participants, Chris Holder, Russ Christiansen, Scott McDermott, Christina Marshall, Larie Handlin, Dustin Cart, Lafayette Florist, Toni Mowry, and Merribeth Price.

Thank you to Lou Ella Price for sharing this great story!