Imagine! Voices Blog

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Imagine! Voices provides a forum for folks in the Imagine! community to share what is going on in their lives and reflect on their experiences. Imagine!
Updated: 10 hours 35 min ago

Imagine! At Saturday’s Food Truck Rally … For A Cause

September 22, 2017 - 8:48am
 Join Imagine! and lots of other great organizations tomorrow (Sept. 23, 12-3) at Erie United Methodist Church for Food Truck Rally...For A Cause. Come out and support your favorite food trucks and learn more about the non-profits that serve our community.

Support The Innovations Advocacy Council’s Fall Formal

September 21, 2017 - 4:27pm
This Friday, from 8-noon, you are invited to stop by Imagine!’s Coal Creek building (1665 Coal Creek Drive, Lafayette, CO 80026) to purchase some drinks and treats in support of Imagine!’s Innovations department’s upcoming Fall Formal. The Fall Formal is a celebration for all of the individuals who receive services from Innovations. It promises to be a fun and social atmosphere full of dancing, friends, and community, and you can help make it happen by joining Innovations on Friday. We hope to see you there!

Life Saver Award - Emily Stamm

September 15, 2017 - 9:00am
Imagine!'s Family Support Services Program (FSSP) uses the “Life Saver” award to recognize and honor outstanding employee performance for their overall initiative, positive attitude, and attention detail to job responsibilities.

This month’s recipient is Erica Stamm

"Erica brings a positive and resilient attitude to our FSSP team and she is always exploring creative ways to be proactive. Erica’s main focus has been to guide parents and families with a “hands-on” approach to support her families in any way they need. Erica is a valued FSSP Navigator and is extremely active in the day-to-day mission of FSSP. Erica brings an honest outlook to our team and lets her passion guide her in the work that she does at Imagine!."

Imagine! Innovations Super Hero of the Month: Andrea Kintop

September 13, 2017 - 9:02am
Every month, Imagine!’s Innovations department presents the “Super Hero of the Month” award to the employee or provider who has best demonstrated excellence in one or more of our Innovations Quality Standards:
  • Health, Safety, and Wellbeing 
  • Effective and Efficient 
  • Respect and Dignity 
  • Opportunities 
  • Integrity 
  • Care 
This month, the award was presented to Andrea Kintop, who is a Primary Residential Counselor at the Foothills Group Home.

Andrea was nominated by her Site Supervisor, who wrote:

I'd like to nominate Andrea Kintop for the Innovations Heroic Award. Andrea brings a positive attitude to work with her every day and it makes a huge difference in the overall atmosphere here at Foothills. She constantly has new and creative ideas for the residents and the house in general. You can tell that Andrea sincerely cares for the residents very deeply and focuses on giving them the best quality care. She gladly took on a weekly task to go to Food Share, which is not part of the typical primary residential counselor role, so that she could take one of the residents who loves to go there on his day off. Recently she planned birthday celebrations for two residents who have a birthday on the same day. She took one resident out for lunch and to Food Share, which was what he wanted to do. Later that same day she took two more residents out to dinner together to celebrate. She stayed much passed her scheduled hours to be able to celebrate with them and make it possible for them to do what they wanted to do on their birthdays. Andrea is an outstanding employee and role model at Foothills.

Sarah Fenton – Imagine!’s Early Intervention Rockstar

September 11, 2017 - 11:43am
Imagine!’s Early Intervention (EI) program has a terrific team working to create a world of opportunity for all abilities. To show how much they’re appreciated, each month this team chooses a “Rockstar” within their program. Team members submit nominations describing what each nominee has contributed, going above and beyond to support those we serve.

We would like to recognize Sarah Fenton as this month’s Rockstar.

Kevin Dresses as Neku

September 8, 2017 - 9:00am
Kevin is 16 years old and attends Summer Camp through Imagine!. Over the years, he has developed a strong interest in gaming and anime, and the conventions highlighting them. Kevin had a successful summer attending both Comic-Con and NDK in Denver.

What is a cosplay and tell me about yours:
A cosplay is a better costume. It’s a full out costume length rather than the random costumes you see in the store. Better texture. Like a cosplay of a Storm Trooper has the full armor, helmet, and all the pads. It’s more authentic. This year, I am Neku Sakurama from World Ends With You. The game came out 6-7 years ago and so when I brought him back, people liked it. It took me about a day to put that cosplay together. I bought his headset and added some duct tape and other decorations. The tricky part is finding the props and weapons for the character. Some people take about two weeks to make their cosplay, like for Game of Thrones or Star Wars.

How were the conventions this year?
I like Comic-Con because it has more to do with gaming and has panels with speakers and presentations about the games.

NDK is full of people walking around in their cosplay. I walked up to Jack Sparrow and he asked me if I have a key to unlock Davy Jone’s lock. (Laughs), I said no, but you can try this one (in a British accent) and handed him an imaginary key.

I took A LOT of pictures of people in their cosplays, they posed for me. Deadpool was a fun one to see, I told him Spider-Man was looking for him and he said ‘What? Where?’ And frantically crawled away.

You meet more friends, meet people and make best friends in seconds. I saw some people I met last year. You talk about the same specific thing that artists, or actors, or studios, or a publication talks about. You meet people with same interests. (Kevin’s mother shared, “It’s so nice for him to be at an activity where EVERYBODY knows what he’s talking about and is interested in the same thing.”)

The gift shops are cool. It’s like a bigger version of Gamestop, only for each game they have movies, magazines, posters, action figures as well. For food, we had to cross the street from the convention and it was funny, everyone in their cosplays in public. People in their cars looking at us and taking pictures of us.

Imagine! Case Management Unsung Hero – Alicia Burdick

September 6, 2017 - 10:12am
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.

We would like to recognize Alicia Burdick as this month’s Case Management Unsung Hero.

Alicia has gone above and beyond during her first few weeks as a new supervisor. You can tell she truly cares about her employees and making sure they feel supported is her first priority. It’s obvious that Alicia has a lot on her plate and is trying to balance multiple things, however she had never made me feel like she doesn’t have time to listen to my frustrations, concerns, or questions.

Leaders at Imagine!

September 1, 2017 - 10:00am
Every year, Imagine! facilitates a Leadership Development Group (LDG), comprised of 5-6 employees who want to strengthen their leadership skills. This ten month program offers mentorship, training opportunities, self-study, attendance at executive meetings, and includes a case study to address a specific challenge that Imagine! is facing. 

Below is the brand new class of LDG 2017-2018!  
1) What is your definition of a leader? 2) Favorite Super Hero?

Ally Joel
1) A leader is someone who has clear and obtainable goals to work towards and communicates those to the group they are leading and supporting. Leaders make themselves available to those who need support and holds an empathetic approach using empowerment rather than enabling them. Best of all, leaders have a unique sense of intrinsic-motivation and can motivate others to accomplish a shared goal/objective.

2) Wonder Woman

Britt McWilliams
1) A leader is someone who is able to establish a trusting relationship within a group by being authentic in their own communication, receptive to others’ ideas, and is willing to remain open-minded and flexible.

2) Master Splinter (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

Brodie Schulz
1) A good leader is one that does not, initially, aspire to lead, but rather aspires to serve and through serving others begins to lead as they place the care and needs of those served as their highest priority. A leader believes in the potential of all and recognizes and supports the need to be creative and innovative. They also recognize their own limitations and understand that they cannot be successful alone, but can only achieve through the service and support of others.

2) Green Lantern

Jeff Rodarti
1) A leader understands the value of optimism, that change begins with oneself, and that listening is where it all begins.

2) Professor X

Jen McIntyre
1) A leader is someone who is honest with themselves and with their team. It is someone others can rely on for support and encouragement. A leader recognizes the potential of others and works hard to build upon those strengths. A leader is someone who can lead from the front, just as well as from the back and recognizes that success doesn’t occur due to 1 person’s abilities but from the talents of all team members combined.

2) Batman

Erica Krowiorz: Recipient of the September 2017 Imagine! Excellence in Customer Service Award

August 28, 2017 - 2:53pm
Congratulations are in order for Erica Krowiorz, who was selected as the September 2017 recipient of the Imagine! Excellence in Customer Service Award.

Erica’s nomination included the following praise:

Erica has shown time and again her dedication to meet the health and safety needs of the individuals we serve. Erica has made meals for group home individuals, and she has taken individuals to doctor appointments when other staff members have duties they needed to attend to. She has gone to the hospital and stayed with individuals until staff members are available, even continuing to interact with hospital staff until discharge to ensure continuity of care. 

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

Jada Brings her Experience to Imagine!

August 25, 2017 - 12:52pm
Jada is two weeks from completing her internship through Imagine!’s Out & About department. She will graduate from Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina with a degree in Therapeutic Recreation and then head back to NC to start a new job. I sat down with Jada to reflect on her time at Out & About, what led her to this field, and what’s next.

What is your final project for the internship?
My project is to create an American Sign Language (ASL) training for employees at Imagine!. It’ll be a PowerPoint that teaches how to communicate with participants who use ASL. Not many instructors know ASL to the level that our participants need. There are so many signs considering the many different activities we do. This way the instructors can help facilitate communication between ALL of the participants, that way the participants who primarily use ASL can connect with their peers. I minored in Deaf studies at College.

How did you get involved in the field of developmental disabilities?
My mom is an occupational therapist and through her, I started volunteering for an annual art festival that showcased work from students in the special needs classroom. That’s how I got introduced to this population. After that, I took a class in high school that allowed me to volunteer in a teacher’s class room to practice being a leader and I chose a special needs classroom. I really fell in love with those kiddos and that’s when I decided I wanted to be in this field. In addition to my studies and this internship, I worked at a summer camp in North Carolina for individuals on the spectrum.

What is big picture for you?
Well, after this internship and graduation, I start a job back home as a Supported Employment Employer. I will assist individuals on the spectrum with writing resumes, applying for jobs, and then interviewing for the job. Once they start working, I offer on-the-job training and skill development. At some point in the future, I always thought it would be fun to be a travel OT and see different parts of the country, or even world, while still getting paid for it.

What advice do you have for business owners or employees who work side by side with folks on the spectrum?
Definitely be open minded. I heard a quote once, “If you’ve met one person with Autism, you’ve met one person with Autism.” There’s no main thing you can assume about a person with a disability because each person is different in their own way. Understand THAT person and then each person you meet you can learn something different. They are doing their best to communicate with you and to get to know you, be open minded and patient.

Thanks for being here and supporting Imagine!.
I loved being here. I can’t get over seeing the mountains everywhere I go, I will miss Colorado!

Tavio's Hat Collection

August 18, 2017 - 9:00am
Featured this week is Tavio, a resident at an Imagine! Group Home, and Chelsea, Residential Counselor at the Group Home. The two of them tell a fun story about Tavio’s lifelong collection of hats.

Tavio and I took some time to look through and reminisce about all his hats this morning while waiting for his ride to program. He started by telling me that his niece gave him the hat that he is wearing now, a brown, floppy, cowboy/sun hat. It is one of 60+ hats.

"I put different hats on every morning" he says as he pulls out all of his hats from the large box, one at a time. Sometimes Tavio wears multiple hats throughout the day. "Yeah, on Saturday and Sunday," is when he wears up to 5 or 6 hats (not all at the same time), changing them out at random times whenever he feels like he wants a new one on his head.

Tavio pulled out a hat with the character "Goofy" on it. "I got this one at Disney Land." He pulled out some peculiar hats, too. One of them was a police hat he wore for Halloween last year, and another one was a plastic green Irish bucket hat he got from Food Share. He wears these even when it's not a holiday. Sometimes he just feels like looking like a police officer. Sometimes he strolls around the house wearing a Santa Claus hat, and last week he wore it out in the community. Christmas in August!

I asked him which hats were his favorite. He responded with "all of them are my favorites. My sister got me this one, my Superman hat." Tavio remembers most of the people who gave him hats, even people who he has not seen in a very long time. "Oh yeah, that guy that worked with me a long time ago. I think his name was Keith, I don't know. He don't work there anymore. He gave me this one," a green fisherman hat. He has multiple Imagine! hats, too.

What Tavio loves about hats the most is that they keep his head warm. Tavio wants people to know that it "feels good to have all these hats."

Alonzo Impacts 5th Grade Class

August 11, 2017 - 9:00am
Alonzo Clemons accepts services from Imagine! and lives in Boulder, CO. He has received a great deal of media exposure over the years, spot lighting his diagnosis of Savant Syndrome and achievements with clay sculpting. 60 minutes, Geraldo, Discovery Channel … just to name a few, are outlets that have recognized Alonzo’s talents and compassion for art and life.

Along with this worldwide attention and exposure, Alonzo remains active in his community and offers sculpting presentations to local schools. Last year, Alonzo visited a 5th grade class at Lyons Elementary. Prior to Alonzo’s visit, this class studied human rights and social injustices throughout history. They read novels with characters who had disabilities and also focused on African American history, gaining an understanding for discrimination all this while.

Alonzo was their last speaker to wrap up the human rights curriculum. While giving the class a live demonstration of clay sculpting, his assistant shared stories from Alonzo’s experience and answered questions. During the presentation, Alonzo mentioned that one of his goals was to have a lot of customers in his sculpting business.

The 5th graders were left inspired and empowered. They had group discussions to debrief the human rights curriculum and after much thought, one group decided to dedicate their final project to raising enough money to be one of Alonzo’s customers. The students prepared and shared a presentation with the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) as first steps for fundraising and reached out to the community for support. After many months of planning and organizing with community, family, and PTO assistance, the 5th graders raised enough money and commissioned a 14-inch long sculpture of a mountain lion for the school.

 After this project and experience, one of the students wrote, “I learned to never judge someone on how they look or any apparent disability you think you see. We all have amazing strengths and talents to contribute to our world.”

We are fortunate to have Alonzo in our community and that he uses his experience and talents to be an education to the youth. I asked Alonzo if he has any advice for young artists, he responded, “Do not look at the picture you want to make, start with your own mind.”

To learn more about Alonzo and to purchase his art, go to

This sculpture was custom made by Alonzo for the Lyons Elementary School. 

Imagine! Case Management Unsung Hero: Kristen Kernan

August 7, 2017 - 8:30am
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 the department to go above and beyond while supporting those we serve.

For August, we would like to recognize Kristen Kernan as this month’s Case Management Unsung Hero.

Kristen is the definition of “going above and beyond.” She recently uncovered a situation in which an individual served by Imagine! and her daughter were residing in unlivable conditions. This particular case is one of the most extreme we have ever seen and Kristen jumped in without hesitation. She has worked tirelessly to address the situation, recruiting support from other organizations, and getting the family into a hotel. She organized junk movers, disposal of biohazards, mold remediation, and more, spending hours on site at the house to coordinate efforts and make sure things went smoothly. She even bought the family dinner out of her own pocket when they had no food, then arranged to get them grocery cards. Because of Kristen’s efforts, this family will eventually be able to move back into their home under the DD Waiver and start receiving the services they need to stay safe in their own home. Kristen’s work on this case exemplifies Imagine!’s values of respect, communication, creativity, and community.


August 4, 2017 - 11:00am
Robert accepts services from Imagine! and lives at one of the Imagine! group homes in Boulder. He and I hung out on the back patio one Sunday afternoon and reminisced about music and life. 
You can catch Robert hanging on the back porch, keeping an eye on his garden. “I water every day and basically at night because we’ve been getting a heat wave. I started the garden in early June.”
When I arrived we talked music, gardening, and life. We turned on some tunes and sang along to Pink Floyd and John Denver. “My favorite Floyd song is ‘Wish You Were Here.’ I wanted to play the drums as a kid. People asked me why and it’s because that’s the first thing you hear when the band starts playing.” When Robert plays music at program or at the house, “I just let other people play the instruments and I’m the singer.”
“If I had a million dollars, I would buy my own place in the mountains. It would have a gym with weights and a treadmill, and Jacuzzi on the back patio. I would throw parties.”
“I have a thing about cigarettes, put your butts in the ash tray or trash can. I don't mind if you smoke, just put them away. I remember when I had to go out to the street and pick up one cigarette butt after the other. I will be frank, if you're going to smoke, try to pick up your butts, or don't smoke at all."
“Enjoy the best you can out of life. You only have one life to live, so why not get the most out of it. And if there's something you can't do, then go onto something you can do, rather than making a big fuss about it. If you can't do anything, don't be afraid to ask, cause there's always gonna be someone there to help you out. All you have to do is speak up.” 

Sarah Fenton and Kerry Robison: Recipients of the August 2017 Imagine! Excellence in Customer Service Award

August 2, 2017 - 2:46pm
Congratulations are in order for Sarah Fenton and Kerry Robison, who were selected as the August 2017 recipients of the Imagine! Excellence in Customer Service Award.

Sarah and Kerry were selected because:

At Imagine!’s Santa Fe Group Home, we have been working really hard on getting information about a resident’s mother's location and contact information for quite some time. One afternoon, Sarah Fenton visited here at Santa Fe Group Home, and together with Kerry Robinson went full P.I. and tracked the mom down. 

Kerry manned the computer and Sarah the phone, and together, over the course of a couple of hours, navigated the hoops and loops necessary to get the resident in contact with his mom. We'll be taking the resident to visit her very soon. 

This has been a very long, frustrating process, with roadblocks at every turn. Sarah and Kerry punched through the final layers and made the contact. The resident is extremely excited and thankful. 

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


July 28, 2017 - 9:00am
This week's write up features Jessica who accepts services from Imagine! We hung out at the group home one day and she wrote down all the things she enjoys in life :)

Megan Wieck: Imagine! Early Intervention Rockstar

July 24, 2017 - 9:57am
Imagine!’s Early Intervention (EI) program has a terrific team working to create a world of opportunity for all abilities. To show how much they’re appreciated, each month this team chooses a “Rockstar” within their program. Team members submit nominations describing what each nominee has contributed, going above and beyond to support those we serve.

We would like to recognize Megan Wieck as this month’s Rockstar.

Mike Spreads The Word

July 21, 2017 - 10:34am
This week's write up features Mike from Boulder, Colorado, who accepts services from Imagine! Using his communication device and assistance from his mother, Mike shares his experience being active in public policy. 
I think I need to tell everyone how important it is to be active in advocating for yourself and others. I need to tell you that this year in the Colorado Legislature I gave testimony for two very important bills. One was to prevent the use of prove restraints in the schools. I can’t believe they are still doing it. I helped prevent it now for the future and parents will have to be notified about any restraint use. I had good schools where they knew better ways to help students be safe. Both the classmates and the student who loses self control. I also gave testimony to try to keep schools from suspending and ejecting students ages three to second grade. It passed one body but lobbyists defeated it in the other chamber. In Colorado, the session each year goes from January to early May. Then it goes to recess until the next year. That gives time to focus on national bills. Right now the focus is to prevent cuts and caps to Medicaid. It’s very important that your Legislators hear your stories. Call or write them.

I have been involved in public policy since high school. I have been at the Colorado legislature every year since graduation. I know many legislators personally and I was introduced on the floor of the house. I also have been in rallies supporting issues in Colorado and on Capitol Hill in Washington. Senator Kefalas asked me to come because in its first hearing in committee the chairman told him he planned to table the bill, but since people came to testify he gave us a chance. He told senator Kefalas that my testimony convinced him to ask for a vote. It passed and went on to become a bill.

Imagine! Case Management Unsung Heroes

July 17, 2017 - 2:56pm
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 June, we’d like to recognize two outstanding members from our team, Jen McIntyre and Becca Webster, as this month’s Case Management Unsung Heroes.

Case Management Super Hero
Jen is the best boss I have ever had. I have had some good bosses and some crappy bosses…but Jen is definitely the best. Why, you may ask? Because Jen is sincere and goes out of her way to show you how much you mean to her team. In a work environment where turnover is a common reality, Jen makes the folks on her team feel valued. Jen never micromanages, and she trusts the competence of those who she supervises. She is there to listen to any questions and concerns her subordinates have, no matter how many questions she may get or how random those questions may be. She helps her team members grow individually and together, and every criticism comes coupled with praise. This provides a foundation on which growth can occur. Quite possibly the greatest gift Jen brings is how all these things combine to make Jen seem human and vulnerable in her role as supervisor, which empowers her team to trust her and follow her lead in a high stress and high stakes profession.

Becca Webster
As a new Case Manager, Becca has gone above and beyond the usual learning curve and duties of a new Case Manager. Becca covered a caseload of complex and difficult cases for the past three months, including the addition of her own new cases added. Becca has completed these duties with a high quality of service. At the same time Becca has dealt admirably with learning system changes of both the State Benefit Utilization system and Imagine!’s new Health Record Maintenance system. Becca has achieved results through perseverance and continual improvement.

Evan Dittig

July 13, 2017 - 12:26pm
Evan Dittig is from Jersey and founded Skate.Now, a skateboard instructional service. He visited Imagine!’s Out & About one morning to offer free skateboard lessons. I sat down with Evan after the lesson and he shared how Skate.Now got started and why.

How was the clinic with Out & About?
It went so well. I didn’t know what to expect at first being 30 kiddos and one of me. It was so well organized and I had a blast. Seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces were amazing. Skateboarding is a universal language. We had a couple of kids today who are non-verbal and they were able to ride just like anyone else. You just hop on and cruise. When I assisted the girl who used the stroller up and down the ramps, seeing her smile was so awesome. Some of the kids today weren’t riding it but putting their hands on the board and rolling it back and forth and still getting enjoyment out of it. You can enjoy it without riding.

What are your take home lessons during a class?
Skateboarding is not for a specific person, we’re trying to break the stereotypes of a “skater.” Anyone can go skateboarding and have a blast doing it. That’s why we like to offer the skills and guidance it takes to learn this sport to everybody, not based on any position. It builds resilience. If you fall down and get back up, and you try again, it shows you that failure is temporary. You can’t let it break your spirit because everyone falls. That’s a huge part of life, you can fail at something and it’s all about getting back up and trying again and really making it.

What’s your story and how did this business start?
I’ve been skateboarding for 12 years, teaching for 5-6 years. I used to work with local camps and skateboard shops offering lessons. I gained relationships and bonds with the kids and those turned into private lessons. I ended up with a ton of different clients so I decided to start a little business and let it grow. In my last year of college, I learned a lot about philanthropic work and giving back and I understood a greater concept of what it feels like to help those that are less fortunate. Really hit me in the heart. What’s the point of being an entrepreneur to just make money? Anybody can have money. You really just want to make an impact and better the world because this world needs it. That’s why I was in Colorado for a week and some of us went to Nicaragua last month and gave free lessons at local schools. 

 If I could support myself while giving out free skateboard lessons my entire life, I would. Our business model allows us to generate revenue and then, in turn, use that money to take trips and help out more people.

Visit the Skate.Now website to learn more about the business and follow them on Facebook to see their latest philanthropic missions!