Thursday, September 30, 2010

Engineering a Dream

Really fun news to report today.

A few weeks back, members of the SmartHome team met with Melinda Piket-May, a professor at CU’s College of Engineering and Applied Science.

Following the discussion, Professor Piket-May broke up her class into several teams, and assigned each team a project intended to create some simple tools that would allow some of Imagine!’s consumers, including SmartHome residents, to be more independent and able to complete everyday activities on their own.

Want some examples? Well, one team has agreed to create a wheelchair laundry carrier and wash machine loader for Anthony, one of the residents of the Charles Family SmartHome in Longmont. The carrier and loader will allow Anthony to transport his own laundry and place it in a front loading washing machine.

Another team is working on creating a wheelchair broom attachment that will allow Anthony to help with cleaning chores around the house.

These projects will help in providing individuals with limited mobility such as Anthony the opportunity to take control of their own lives and activities. Most of us take those opportunities for granted, but if you have never had the ability to do your own laundry in your life, the chance to do that work on your own for the first time can have a profound impact on your self-esteem as well as your ability to live independently.

The class isn’t just doing projects for Anthony and SmartHome residents, though. Other activities include creating a wheelchair tray that can be folded and stowed and would have a contoured edge with magnetic plates bowls and cups, and developing a five switch programmable infra-red remote control that will give simple access to environmental functions for individuals with limited mobility.

We would like to offer our sincere thanks to Professor Piket-May and her students! Your commitment to your community is impressive!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More Of Mandy On The Radio

Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome resident Mandy is part of a radio class at Imagine!’s C.O.R.E./Labor Source department. The class recently produced a piece about Colorado Pit Bull Rescue for KGNU radio in Boulder.

Take a listen.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Donna's Diary - September 2010

How did SmartHome residents (and lovebirds) Gerald and Donna celebrate their first anniversary? Here’s a hint: it involved cliff divers and sopapillas. Find the answer in Donna’s latest online diary entry below.

And check out all of Donna's diary entries here.

A couple of weeks ago, Gerald, J.T. Glover, and I went to Casa Bonita in Denver to celebrate the first wedding anniversary for me and Gerald. It was great. I had chicken, potatoes, and vegetables. I got a kick out of how you can raise the little flag at your table and your waiter or waitress will come by and bring you more to eat or drink. They also had a diver, jumping off a cliff inside the restaurant into the water below. That was fun to see. We also had a band playing behind us. It’s not your typical restaurant, that’s for sure. Being out with our friend J.T. and my husband Gerald was a wonderful way to spend our anniversary.

Things are going well. I still go to church on Sunday, I take some classes with C.O.R.E./Labor Source (art), and I’m still working at In Clover through C.O.R.E./Labor Source. I sure like the people who run that place, it’s a great place to work. I’m bowling in Lafayette about once a week, and continue to enjoy my time at the SmartHome with my housemates and staff. All in all, this has been another good month for me.

And thank you Gerald Stopa, the original Stopa, for a wonderful first year of marriage, and for the many more years to come.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Colorado Housing Now Ignite! Presentation

SmartHome guru Greg Wellems and Imagine! PR Director Fred Hobbs will be presenting on our SmartHomes project to the Housing Colorado NOW Conference on October 15. Take a sneak peek below!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mandy's Movie Review

Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome resident Mandy has been learning to use a computer with the help of some assistive technology, and she recently wrote her very own movie review for the Imagine! employee newsletter using her new skills. Take a look at it below. Way to go, Mandy!

Monday, September 20, 2010

SmartHomes Featured at TASH Conference

Early this December, TASH will be hosting its 35th Annual Conference, entitled “Embracing Difference.....It's Time!” TASH has been a voice for equity, opportunity, and inclusion for people with disabilities since 1975.

We are very excited to have the SmartHomes featured in this conference - is a great way to spread the word to a very interested audience about new approaches in delivering services for individuals with disabilities.

How is Imagine!’s SmartHome team participating in this gathering?

One way is through a presentation entitled “Using Social Media To Connect, Communicate And Network Regardless Of Ability/Disability.” SmartHomes Project Manager Sterling Wind and Imagine! Director of Public Relations Fred Hobbs will be giving this presentation, which will discuss the incredible potential of Social Media in terms of connecting people with disabilities with communities of shared interest.

In addition, Imagine! will be offering SmartHome tours to attendees of the TASH 2010 Conference. In this way, conference attendees will have the opportunity to see first hand how technology can improve the lives of individuals with disabilities.

We are excited to be part of this conference, and we appreciate the opportunity the folks at TASH have given us.

We hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

DC Legislative Meetings

Imagine! CEO Mark Emery and SmartHome guru Greg Wellems were in Washington, DC this week meeting with legislators to discuss new ways of providing services for individuals with developmental disabilities, including our SmartHome and SmartSupports models.

Mark and Greg met with Dan Spienza, Legislative Assistant to Representative Betsy Markey, Joy Silvern, Legislative Assistant to Senator Michael Bennet, Jake Swanton, Legislative Assistant to Senator Mark Udall.

They also met directly with Representative Jared Polis.

Reports back are that their messages of the issues and potential solutions were well-received.

Way to go, guys!

Imagine! CEO Mark Emery with Joy Silvern, Legislative Assistant to Michael Bennet

Mark with Representative Jared Polis

Mark with Jake Swanton, Legislative Assistant to Mark Udall

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Anthony at Work

Charles Family SmartHome resident Anthony has worked at Eco-Cycle for more than 10 years. Here’s a couple of pictures of him hard at work.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Honoring Our SmartHome DSPs

The week beginning September 12 has been designated as “National Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week” by the U.S. Senate. The designation recognizes the invaluable supports Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) provide and the difference this workforce makes in the lives of Americans with disabilities.

Direct Support Professionals, often referred to as caregivers, personal assistants, or home care aides, are the lynchpin to the ultimate success or failure of community-based long-term supports. DSP workers build close, trusted relationships with the millions of seniors and people with disabilities they assist each day. They work in community settings assisting people with disabilities with medications, preparing and eating meals, dressing, mobility, and handling daily affairs.

Unfortunately, these critical supports are being threatened by a growing workforce crisis. The U.S. Department of Labor statistics show that the average U.S. worker makes about $16.75 an hour, while the average DSP makes about $9.26 an hour for the close, nurturing, and intimate critical support they provide. Many DSPs work two jobs to make ends meet for their own families. The daily challenges these front-line workers face are both physically and emotionally demanding. Inadequate wages have led to high turnover (as high as 86% in some residential settings) and ongoing vacancies in the direct support workforce.

Despite these significant challenges, we are so fortunate here at Imagine! to have so many dedicated, talented, and passionate people who are willing not only to take on this difficult job, but to excel at it.

In honor of DSP Recognition Week, here's a big shout out to the DSPs at both SmartHomes - Jessica Brennan, JT Glover, Andrew Goforth, Alex Johnstone, Cailin McCarthy, Nathan Railla, Philip Robinson, and Joseph Tonelli (Boulder), and Pramila Adhikari, Emily Laks, Michelle Larkin, Taylor Sims, Michael Ulfstam, Jennifer Vaughan (Longmont). You guys are the best!!!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Congratulations Greg!

Congratulations are in order for SmartHome guru Greg Wellems on his election to the ANCOR Board of Directors. His election puts him in a great position to promote the use of assistive technology and SmartSupports as a new way of providing services to some of our most vulnerable populations. Way to go, Greg!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Anthony in Pagosa Springs

This past weekend, Charles Family SmartHome resident Anthony took a little vacation to the Four Corners Folks Festival in Pagosa Springs. Check out some of the pictures!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Congratulations Infotility

Congratulations to our SmartHomes partner Infotility for their grant award from the State of Colorado for “using innovation and cutting-edge technology to create clean-tech solutions with long-term benefits to our New Energy Economy and the nation.”

Read about all the grant awards here.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Leona's Presentation

Imagine! Foundation president Leona Stoecker will be presenting on the Charles Family SmartHome in Longmont Sept. 7. You can get a preview of her slideshow now! It has some great photos of the residents, and pictures following construction from the very beginning to completion. Check it out.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

More Pictures: Anthony and Sarah's B-Day

More pictures from the birthday celebration of Charles Family SmartHome residents Anthony and Sarah. Check ‘em out!