Grantee Spotlight: Imagine!

For Imagine! – recipient of a grant from your Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund Boulder County – fast and flexible funding during the Coronavirus pandemic helped support the extenuating financial needs of seven group home employees.

“Employees on the front lines providing direct services have faced several challenges – including having their own children at home and needing to find reliable, safe childcare – while they meet the needs of people with intellectual disabilities,” says Patti Micklin, Imagine! Foundation Executive Director.
Specifically, Imagine! provides services designed to incorporate people with developmental, cognitive, and physical challenges into the fabric of our community. Services include educational and therapeutic services, job training and placement, recreation and leisure activities, opportunities for community living, behavioral health services, technology solutions, and support for families.
Patti continues, “Maintaining a stable work force in our group settings has directly impacted the lives of 34 residents, many of whom require 24/7 support with daily living activities.”
To date, Imagine! group homes have not experienced any COVID-19 outbreaks. “We credit our incredible team of employees with their ability to adapt to all the necessary health and safety precautions we’ve put in place,” adds Patti. “Like all of us, the people served by Imagine! are having to learn how to adapt to new rules about how we socialize. This can be especially difficult for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, who may have difficulties with changes in schedules, and may have a hard time understanding why they can’t be with their friends right now.”
Mandy Kretch – a resident of Imagine!’s Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome – shares this perspective: “This quarantine is making me feel helpless because I can’t do the things that are important to me, like going to Community Employment Services and sometimes going out in the community with one of my special friends afterwards.
“My daily routine has been changed. My roommates and I have been doing things to keep ourselves busy during this time. I’ve been tie dyeing t-shirts and using a bread machine to bake some bread – it turned out to be very tasty!
“I can’t wait until everything is back to normal, including our daily routines.”
Concludes Patti, “Not only has Imagine! shifted our service delivery to include many more ways of doing so in a safe manner – via video, in small groups, or one-to-one at homes instead of large group activities out in the community – we’ve also tried to ensure that the connection between the person delivering the service and the person receiving the service remains strong.
“For example, we’re starting to deliver one-to-one services to children who last year would have participated in group activities in our summer camp. Since the employees delivering services will have to wear masks while in the homes, we’ve created nametags with their pictures so the person receiving services can still feel like there’s a real connection.”
Indeed, maintaining connections during COVID-19 is key. Read more community stories during COVID-19 in our TRENDS Diary, and consider donating to our COVID-19 Response Fund Boulder County. Since March, we’ve awarded grants to these nonprofits countywide.