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Imagine That . . . July  2016 Newsletter
In This Issue
Help support Imagine!

Abra Kayaking 

Sophie horseback riding at Brightpath 
Alexis and Dana pretend napping at the beach!
Ian turns 32!
Tom at Men's Group! 
9065 Soquel Drive
Aptos, Ca 95003

Brass bands, big flags, maybe a lapel pin

Friends and family of Imagine;

Happy Independence Day to all of you.  Happy Independence day in particular to all of the people we serve who have their own home for the first time since last July 4 (there are five)  Happy independence day to everyone we serve who started working since last Fourth of July (there is at least one.) Happy Independence to everyone we serve who have found a new relationship or a new family or expanded their natural circle of support in the last year (there are many.)

The first news is that we have three new members joining the Imagine family in July.  We look forward to Patrick, Dianna and Rae.  Two will be joining our SLS program and one will be part of a new Family Home Agency Family.  They will bring with them family members, new staff and friends.  We welcome you all and look forward to a lifetime of getting to know you.

In addition to three new people we have the privilege of serving, we have two new people sharing that privilege that we'd like to introduce.  Heather Cahill is our new Facilitator, but has been an employee of Imagine's since she was young. Well while she was young but going back years.  

Martha Johanson joined the Imagine Board of Directors on Monday.  She is an advocate for people with autism, the mother of a teenager with that diagnosis.  A native of Peru (and a recovering Hoosier,) she has been especially focused on services for the Spanish-speaking and immigrant communities.  In addition to Imagine she is a member of the board of the Autism Society of the San Francisco Bay Area and a member of so many committees focused on the welfare of people with developmental disabilities that I doubt I'll see her 5% more often now that she's my boss.

You might have heard that the State of California will be providing, beginning July 1, new funding for our programs to be used for increasing direct care staff compensation.  At Imagine, all of that new funding will be going to increase the wages for our direct care staff and these are the most meaningful across-the-board wage increases for direct care staff I have seen in 16 years in this field, and I have been trying the whole time.  Fun Imagine Executive Director Trivia Fact: I first became friends with Julie Rienhardt when we were two of a very small number of service providers willing to work with SEIU in the hope of raising wages in the field.

With that said, I am embarrassed how many times people have thanked me since I sent word to staff on Monday.  No substantial credit belongs to me, as the state mandated these funds be used for this purpose.  Some credit belongs to the Imagine Board of Directors who, at their meeting Monday instructed me to add all of the wage pass-through funding to direct care staff wages, with a second, smaller rate increase (meant for administrative costs) to pay the cost of additional workers' compensation and payroll taxes.  A lot of credit belongs to the California Disability Community Action Network, Person Centered Advocacy Partnership and Disability Rights California who first advocated the wage pass-through concept.  And when you see Ernie Huerta, his testimony sure hasn't hurt.  This is a great time to tell your legislators if you're happy about this change. Assemblymember Mark Stone and State Senator Bill Monning both played important roles in helping this to happen.

In some ways, it wouldn't have mattered at Imagine, as we recognize and embrace that compensating direct care staff helps them to stay and that good staff staying is our best strategy for improving outcomes for the people we serve.  But it matters a lot that every agency will be expected to raise wages.  It matters to how people with developmental disabilities are seen that the support they receive is respected.  We can all focus a little bit of our Fourth of July patriotism on the fact that people with developmental disabilities are being valued by their neighbors.

In terms of the connection between direct care staff, compensation and the spirit of Imagine's mission, some other people deserve credit.  Because of our donors, fundraisers and board, Imagine staff will receive nearly $27,000 in bonuses in the payroll just before these new increases take effect.  On behalf of everyone who works here, thank you.

As ever, if you have any questions, concerns or other feedback, please do get in touch.  You can email me here or call me at extension 1.

Happy Fourth of July and mind your fuses,



Shared Adventures will be hosting their Annual Day on the Beach on Saturday, July 16, 2016! Register online at:

The 13th Annual Gathering of Extraordinary People will take place at Harvey West Park on Friday August 19th! For Registration information please look here

Imagine's Fifth Annual Film Festival will be held at the Colligan Theater, Tannery Arts Center this year! Please mark October 6th on your calendars! We are still taking film submission. If you are interested in submitting a film please feel free to email me at

I look forward to seeing all of you at our upcoming events! 

-Submitted by Patty
Coming Soon 

For all of you who were here far back enough to remember, the first few editions of our Newsletter included a segment called "Staff Corner" in which Imagine staff were able to nominate each other for a Spotlight. We have happily decided to revive that segment. Please email me with nominations for a particularly noteworthy coworker! 

Also coming soon, a section similar to the aforementioned. This will particularly special because it will highlight the folks that receive services at imagine. 

One more addition to be added to the newsletter next month will be a small column to be written by yours truly. This section will touch on the culture of imagine and where we hope to find ourselves in the years to come. 

-Submitted by Patty

Self-Determination Learning Community

The Self-Determination Learning Community will celebrate our patriotism and the luxurious timeline provided by negotiations between the state and federal governments on the Self-Determination waiver to skip the July meeting.  We look forward to meeting again on August 3.

-Submitted by Doug
Advocacy Corner

The biggest thing in policy news is the rate enhancements for services to people with developmental disabilities.  This was a colossal improvement in the sustainability in our system and the largest share was for direct care staff.  It's a good time to thank the Governor and tell your legislators what a difference this will make.

And now to be a little churlish although not petty, there is still work to do bringing the Self-Determination program and a lot to do to address disparities  in service.  These are important issues worth annoying people to whom we are deeply grateful.

-Submitted by  Doug
Partnering with Imagine

The board and management of Imagine intend our Julie Rienhardt Village Hall (9063 Soquel Dr, next door to the office) as a resource for neighbors and organizations who share our mission and sense of community.

The Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County, an organization dedicated to ending poverty and injustice in our county has moved their monthly board meetings to here.  We're glad to host them and look forward to working together on other projects. 

The State Council on Developmental Disabilities held a public hearing in the village hall on June 29 to take stakeholder input on a plan we, and probably they, wish weren't a plan to consolidate the regional office for the Silicon Valley and Monterey Bay with the one for the Central Coast.  We appreciate the dedication to openness and transparency and it was nice to visit with old friends.  Still don't like the plan, though. 

-Submitted by Doug
Birthdays & Anniversaries


Happy Birthday!!! 

Craig Arnold 
John Brooks 
Julie Cook 
Carla Gonzalez 
Jasmine Gonzales 
Ian Harrison 
Sergio Ibarra 
Willow Roberge 
Jessica Robinson 
Julie Ross 
Anjana Singh 
Cynthia Velasquez-Gomez 


Nick Apodaca 2 Years 
Robert Dunbar 1 Year 
Carlos Lopez 1 Year 
Angela Reithknecht 1 Year 
Willow Roberge 1 Year 
Lizet Robles 1 Year 
Peggy Siegel 4 Years 
Anjana Singh 1 Year 

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