Wednesday, November 29, 2017

To The Rescue

Earlier this month, staff members at Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source (CLS) site in Longmont responded to an emergency situation that saved someone’s life. A participant, who accepts services at CLS, began to appear ill and a staff member immediately took notice and helped him. The situation escalated to the participant appearing uncomfortable and restless in his wheelchair and little to no breathing.

Five staff members in particular took immediate and careful action. After calling 911 and receiving their instructions, two staff members assisted him to the ground and initiated chest compressions. From giving CPR, to assisting with counting out loud each chest compression, to talking to the participant, to keeping the hallways clear and ready for the paramedics, all bases were covered.

“The paramedics arrived and we walked away with tears in our eyes, letting them take it from there,” said Taylor Smarsty, CLS Instructor. Paramedics helped him regain his breathing and transported him to the hospital. 

“I genuinely enjoy caring for others and being someone who is capable of responding to emergency situations like this. I feel like I have a purpose here,” said Taylor.

 “Everyone did a great job stepping in and knowing what role to play,” said Meagan Little, CLS Instructor. “Our motto is ‘teamwork makes the dream work,’ and it couldn’t be more accurate.”

Equipped with training to respond to all types of situations, the instructors responded to this situation with great poise and effective problem solving. After visiting their classes several times throughout the year, it was very clear to me that the instructors pour their heart and souls into their work. Careful planning goes into each class and activity, along with attention to detail with each participant, ensuring they are comfortable and all needs are met. “My favorite part about this job is working with the clients and seeing them grow and develop new skills,” said Meagan.

After spending six days at the hospital, the participant has made a full recovery and is back to attending services at CLS. We tip our hats to Drew, Taylor, Meagan, Nichole, and Marrisca for keeping this participant safe and healthy. Pictured below are the five instructors receiving awards from their supervisors to recognize their actions. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Imagine! Customer Service Award Recipient - Jeff Near

Congratulations are in order for Jeff Near, who is part of Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source (CLS) team, and was selected as the December 2017 recipient of the Imagine! Excellence in Customer Service Award.

Jeff’s nomination included the following praise:

Jeff’s intimate knowledge of CLS, its staff, and clients, have not only enabled him to be extremely supportive, but it also has given him the knowledge to advocate for our program, our staff, and our clients. He has been able to advocate for our program with the rest of Imagine! throughout the process of adopting Evolve, receiving funding, and redirecting our program to fit new regulations and be an employment priority program. 

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

Friday, November 17, 2017

Imagine! Leadership Development Group Update

The latest update from Imagine!’s Leadership Development Group (LDG), submitted by Jeff Rodarti. 

Self-improvement can sometimes seem to be a mysterious thing. To develop yourself, you need to know what to develop. And no matter how well you know yourself, how we conduct ourselves in our communities and interpersonal interactions defines our relationships with others. As such, receiving feedback is a vital element along the journey of personal and professional growth. This last month, the Leadership and Development Group went through a 360 Assessment, a process that can illuminate one's strengths as well as the qualities one can further develop within themselves.

The 360 Assessment involves receiving anonymous feedback from the individuals with whom they work. This is broken down into three orbits: one's managers, peer group, and direct reports. Feedback is provided through an online form that contains questions involving a wide range of professional attributes and skillsets. In the LDG's case, these questions were grouped into communication, delivering results, dependability, developing oneself and others, emotional control and stability, information management, innovation and openness, management functions, people skills, and task orientation. In addition, we were asked to evaluate ourselves using the same template.

Each member of the LDG met with one of their mentors (members of the executive team) to review the results of their 360 Assessment. To maintain the privacy of the respondents involved, individual feedback is combined with feedback from other individuals within the same group, such as one's peers or supervisors. This presentation has the added benefit of allowing one to see how their relationships function at different levels of their department or organization.

We each relate to feedback in our own way. Personally speaking, I tend to zero in on areas where I can improve. I can become deeply reflective to the detriment of my capacity to see the bigger picture, such as how my strengths and their shadows fit within the context of my team, and how I can use this self-awareness to move our common goals in a positive direction. In short, I sometimes miss the splendor of the forest for the trees. In order to integrate the feedback we have received into the way we understand ourselves, our mentors have given us homework: development planning. After going through our reports, we will be responding to the ratings we have received. For example, how did I react to the report? Do I agree with others' views? Why have I been rated the way that I have? How can I build on the strengths others see in me, and how can I improve in the areas that I haven't developed? What is progress, what do I need to get there, and how can I measure it?

While we are certainly so much more than the sum of our relationships, it is our relationships that define us to those around us. And the health of Imagine!, like any community, is defined by the strengths of those interpersonal connections. Ultimately, the 360 Assessment best serves as a development tool to help us gain an understanding into how others view our strengths and weaknesses. This presents an opportunity to develop skillfulness in how to adjust our work patterns and behaviors, and shines a light on the skillsets in which we should invest in order to continue to grow, not just at Imagine!, but in the course of our lives.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

November Collage

Each month, participants and employees of Imagine! submit photos to create a monthly collage. Below are November's submissions!

Neil and Andrea play charades and act out carving a pumpkin (CLS Longmont).

Bill paints one of the horses at the "Horsin' Around" activity (Out & About).

Carsten cruises around the park on a Strider bike (Out & About).

Dan Fox's automatic trail cam captures this 8 point buck in Nebraska.

Emily Walsh and Brittany Siegel enjoy hot drinks from mugs they were gifted during Care Coordination Appreciation week.

Robin Phillips channeling Cruella de Vil at the Site Supervisor's meeting.

Wendy Breitenfeld sits down with Joel of Channel 4 News Denver to talk about WayToGoTober

Monday, November 13, 2017

Imagine!'s Early Intervention Rockstar: Chrissy Romatzke

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 Chrissy Romatzke as this month’s Rockstar.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Miah and Bridget Dance Performance (part 2)

To read Part 1 of this series, click here

Welcome back! Miah and Bridget performed their original piece titled, "The Starting of Reflection," this past Sunday at the Boulder Canyon Theater. I was honored to sit in the front row and capture their performance. Enjoy!

To introduce their piece, Bridget and Miah shared the following:

Bridget: Hello everyone, my name is Bridget Heddens. We wanted to share a little bit about ourselves before we perform. I'm originally from Iowa, I moved here about a year and a half ago. I went to school in Iowa for dance, then moved out here and am starting to create myself in the dance world here. Miah and I found out that we have a really great passion for dance and that we wanted to create something together. We have hopes of this becoming more someday, maybe a group, or just performing more. But, this is our first time performing together.

Miah: Thank you so much. My name is Miah Yager. I really enjoy dancing a whole lot because it has been with me since I was two years old. I started at a young age and that helped me out a lot. It's quite hard to choose between dance and music, but I think that they are both connected and they are both connected to me in so many ways, and in so many different angles.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Imagine!'s Case Management Unsung Hero: Valerie Cordova

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 Valerie Cordova as this month’s Case Management Unsung Hero!

Valerie always has a smile on her face, even when she is getting ready to call a doctor’s office to request a late Professional Medical Information Plan (PMIP). She is so kind to her co-workers and the providers she speaks with over the phone. Recently, I was working on getting a PMIP for about three weeks. I was swamped with meetings and I asked her for additional support. Even though she doesn’t typically assist with intake/enrollment PMIPs, Valerie offered to help with obtaining the needed document. I came back one hour later and she had the PMIP in my box. She accomplished in one hour what I had been working on for three weeks! Valerie is a miracle worker! She recognized the need to move quickly and offered support above and beyond her current duties and helped to move someone forward with enrollment. 

In another instance, I needed support with redacting Personal Health Information (PHI) from a number of documents in order to scan them into Questys. Valerie offered her assistance and gave me tips on how to efficiently complete this task. She is always willing to take on new tasks/responsibilities and does so happily. Valerie is always working when you walk by her desk and my interactions with her leave me with a smile on my face! We are lucky to have her in Case Management!

Great work, Valerie, and thank you for your dedication!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Imagine! WayToGoTober Final Update

The third annual "Go-Tober Challenge" wrapped up Tuesday in the Denver metro area. Imagine! employees were awarded first place in the “Neighborhood Ninjas” competition, earning the title of 2017 Go-Tober champion.

“We learned a lot during the Go-Tober challenge and we had fun doing it,” said Karen Kalis, HR Director at Imagine!. “Many of our employees now realize there are other healthier, sustainable and more cost-effective ways to commute rather than driving alone.”

The ground rules were simple. Companies of all sizes were categorized by the Regional Transportation District’s (RTD) service level areas, with an effort index applied to equal the playing field between small and large companies. For a complete list of the 52 competing companies, and to see the final results, check out the Go-Tober leaderboard, located here.

A total of 1,719 participants in the Go-Tober challenge logged 36,924 commutes. Their efforts resulted in 440,137 smart commute miles traveled and a reduction of more than 125.12 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Walkers and bikers also burned an extra 2,732,019 calories and saved some $116,007.76 in travel costs.

Go-Tober is presented by Way to Go, a regional partnership between the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) and a group of seven Transportation Management Associations (TMAs) that are dedicated to transforming the way people get around. Go-Tober works directly with employers to introduce new commute options to those who normally drive alone. Ultimately, Go-Tober is designed to inspire lasting changes in commuting behavior to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality. Employees are encouraged to carpool, telework, vanpool, bike, walk, take the light rail or bus their way to prizes and annual bragging rights.

“This campaign offers employers a turn-key program to promote smart commute choices,” said Steve Erickson, director of communications and marketing for the Denver Regional Council of Governments. “Imagine! really went above and beyond by encouraging smarter and less stressful commutes. We hope this inspires employees to continue making those choices more often.”

Here’s Imagine!’s final WayToGoTober stats:

In recognition of the creative ways that employees found to avoid the SOV commute, the following employees are receiving special awards:


The Riding in Style Award goes to Michelle Conkey-Sajban and Hickory the horse from Case Management for obvious reasons.

The Stinky Sneaker Award goes to Scott Wendelberger in Public Relations for commuting 22 miles round trip on foot.

An It’s Better Together Award goes to Foothills Group Home employees for outstanding carpooling efforts.

An It’s Better Together Award also goes to Care Coordination employees for outstanding carpooling efforts.

The Imagine! Grand Prize, which was randomly picked from all employees who logged at least 8 one-way alternative Go-Tober trips, goes to Taylor Manuian. It’s worth noting that Taylor logged 34 alternative trips during Go-Tober! Taylor is the winner of a $125 gift certificate to REI as well as an Imagine! messenger bag!