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Imagine That...September 2023

In Loving Memory of Damien Tucker-Beck

Help support Imagine!

Scott & Jess!

Steph & Garett first pumpkin spice of the season!

Jake with a Dahlia!

Briana enjoying her tacos!

Tom lets us know

Gregory Face Painting at the Gathering Event!

Eliot Playing Guitar at Talent Show in the Gathering!


Abra at the Gathering Event!

Eileen helping with balloon set up for the Gathering!

Jessica helping with the tablecloth set up for the Gathering!

In Memory of Damien!

The Gathering Talent Show!

Talent Show!

Eliot wants you to see this

Birthday Beto, enjoying the cherry cheesecake Angie and Costco made him.

Birthday Briana celebrated with staff Tanya at Universal Studios

Seriously celebrated

Very Hungry Caterpillars

Dear Imagine friends and family,

This is another moment of change in the Imagine Community. Most importantly, if you receive this newsletter you should also have received word that our friend, family and client, Damien Tucker-Beck passed away in August after a bout with COVID-19. They are honored throughout this newsletter and in our office, in our community and hearts. We will be honoring them with a memorial celebration on the evening of September 15, with some details to work out. You can RSVP to Stephanie if you want to attend. The intended format is a "last drive" beginning at Imagine's office and ending at a favorite restaurant of Damien's. D loved car rides and pizza. See below for memories of him from Imagine staff.

Also, we want to make our community aware of a fundraiser to help D's family with funeral costs. Just past his 24th birthday, and with no expectation of his passing, the family had not yet set aside funds for honoring his life. His Facilitator, Stephanie, set up a Gofundme to help. As of this writing, the $5,000 goal has nearly been met but we want you to know about and I'm sure a little extra will be a comfort.

The Gathering of Extraordinary People was fantastic. We welcomed Manuel's restaurant as our new caterer. They did a great job and people really enjoyed having their meals cooked for them. Lots of Imagine staff, past and present (looking at you, Lili and Sarge) made sure the event was set up and ready to be the inclusive celebration we all enjoy. Norma and Jessica in particular put a lot into the events and making the whole day great. If you were there, we're grateful and hope you enjoyed yourself. If you weren't, we hope you make it next year. There are photos below.

The Imagine Film Festival now has a date you can save. Wednesday, October 25th will be our 11th Film Festival. For the people new to Imagine, this is something we do to help the community become more inclusive, in a way that centers around individuals with disabilities. The film festival features music, food and short films by, about and/or featuring people with special needs. Typically it has been on a weekend, but there were none available at our venue so we're trying out the Wednesday date. We'd love to see you there. The call for films is below.

Caregiver Raises:Patty has the details below but the board of directors approved the fourth set of caregiver raises in two years, with the new set the largest yet. We will never be satisfied but in a time when most of the world and our county in particular is suffering from a rising cost of living, we are grateful to have our most important coworkers see their incomes grow faster.

Caregiver wages, whether by median or average or from the bottom, have risen by about a third since this time two years ago. This was made possible by three important factors: substantial increases in reimbursement rates provided by the legislature at long last, growth in the number of hours of service we are able to provide and by keeping our overhead lean (figuratively, I mean.). One thing that means is that the raises would have been less if not for the caregivers themselves, their reliability and commitment. The other thing this means is that the administrative team and Facilitators have really stretched themselves to accommodate a growing agency that can afford better wages for others. Please be kind to the folks in the office.

There are more than the usual number of voices in this month's Gnu's letter. (See The Redwood Chronicles below before you assume I'm using bad voice-to-text.) As such, I'll keep my own contributions coy.

Further down, this month's newsletter includes the following:.

The Redwood Chroncles column continues although without a submission. In its place is a parable since I need to make the pun in the headline make sense somehow.

Meet AJ. He doesn't seem to mind attention so we're giving him some.

Patty Lopez, Imagine's Assistant Director of Human Resources gives the details on the raises, referral bonuses and scolds some of the staff more subtly than I would. The Human Resources corner targets employees but stakeholders, especially parents, who worry about direct care wages might want to make time.

Jen, who works harder and explains more in fewer words than I could, joins the newsletter to help some staff with a problem several have recently had: deciphering the confusing pay stubs our new payroll service puts out. If you hate math, you might want to give this a miss but come back to it when you think you weren't paid your time-and-a-half.

In The Service Sector, Stephanie thanks everyone for The Gathering.

In Community Connections, Susan gives you a month off from her hospitality.

Our usual stuff in the columns around advocacy, self-determination, the Imagine Endowment and Transparency.

The Person-Centered Evolution this month is just pictures.

This month we have extra spotlights on Damien and Autumn, his lead staff at the end.

As ever, if you have any questions, feedback or concerns, please don't hesitate to get in touch. You can write me here. I look forward to hearing from you.

Gratefully yours,


The Imagine Endowment

We have an endowment to support Imagine's future. Imagine will receive regular payments of the returns from these funds. Initially, we expect the impact to be small but as the endowment grows, it holds the promise of helping Imagine help others through hard times to come.

If you are considering a gift to the endowment, either right now or as part of a giving plan or bequest, we have information available here. And thank you.

To make direct contributions please make checks payable to; The Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County.  Designate the "Imagine Supported Living Services Fund". Mail to;   Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County, 7807 Soquel Dr., Aptos, Ca.  95003. 

-Submitted by Doug

Memories of Damien

Damien Tucker Beck was one of the funniest, intellectual humans that I have ever met. He claimed he was related to Bigfoot . I can recall when i first started working with him we went up to the summit (Dee loved his car rides and singing his music in the forest was sublime) and he did his Bigfoot call.

I was asked to prove myself in order to become part of his pack. I did my best and Damien laughed and said i sound like a dying bird but there was room for improvement and he will train me in the way of the Bigfoot and take me under his wing.

That was the start of our friendship. We had many discussions about the Paranormal and how he was part alien and robot and he had convincing stories to go with it. He was was an extraordinary storyteller as well as was a beacon of information from anything pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, animal facts as well as gaming, as well as language (he use words i have to Google because i had never heard them before.) Those are just a few of his strengths.

He was extremely passionate about wanting to open up and start his different business adventures, he always included his family, friends and others so nobody would ever be left out. Damien's compassion as well as his life experience were a game changer for me. I have never met anyone like him, and I'm sure I never will. He became family to me and I'm sure I to him. To say he will be missed is an understatement.

"If you are feeling disheartened, that you are somehow, not enough set your heart ablaze" The flame hashira Kyojuro Rengoku from our favorite anime show demon slayer

Submitted by Autumn Beserra, Lead Staff

The Gathering of Extraordinary People Event!

Welcome, AJ!

The newest member of the Imagine family is AJ. He is working with us through an innovative Self-Determination program in which he will hire his own staff, with recruiting, facilitation and administrative support from Imagine. As the picture plainly shows, AJ is both young and kind enough to have attended the gathering with his dog, Milo. For reference, Milo's Dog is named Tock.

If you are a long time member of our community, AJ reminds us of Abra and you'll find a similar charm. The two apparently met at The Gathering but I missed it so can't yet bear witness that they can be seen together at the same time.


AJ comes to Imagine with his family, Stephen, Sigrid and Eloise. If not before, you might meet them at the Film Festival so please let them all know how welcome they are.

AJ grew up in San Francisco and is in the process of moving to Aptos. We're excited to be on the journey with him.

Submitted by Doug

Explaining Paychecks

[Editors note: The way our new payroll service produces pay stubs makes it hard for vigilant staff to make sure they have been paid correctly, especially around time-and-a-half overtime or worked holidays. To make this easier, Jen has worked with the payroll service to make more detailed pay stubs in lieu of the the clearer ones she hopes to help them eventually create. She explains the stubs below so that, with a little mathing,  at least employees can audit their pay in the meanwhile.]

Upcoming change to Pay Stubs

On the 9/10 check, the format will be changing. Instead of seeing total  hours worked , the check will detail out each day worked in the pay period as well as the clock in and out times. 

Code: Hourly = day shift / awake overnight shifts  (included in overtime).

Code : Regular = sleeping night shift   (not included in overtime). 

Example : 

OT Premium Line 

Each shift that is flagged as Overtime is calculated at the main rate straight across to the amount

Example $19x6=$114  

The overtime balance is then calculated based on a weighted average and added into the OT Premium line at the bottom.  A weighted average is all the rates added up and divided by how many rates in that week.  

The check stub will give what the weighted average is for each week in the notes to the right of your stub. 

Below is the example:

The weighted average is approximately $17.45 .  The rates in the example added up and divided by 12. ( The amount of lines of rates for that week)

Then  take $ 17.45 x 1.5 =  $26.18 for the overtime  for the week represented in the example.  

Because the base rate is already calculated. Subtract the overtime from the weighted average to obtain the hourly rate to be added to the overtime premium, line. 

$26.18 – 17.46 = $ 8.73

Calculate each line of overtime : 

6hrs  x $8.73 = $52.38

16 hrs x $8.73 =$ 139.68

2 hrs x $8.73 = $17.46

12hrs  x $ 8.73 = $ 104.76  

2 hrs  x $8.73 = $ 17.46

These total the overtime premium line for the  balance owed in overtime. 

$ 331.74   ( .03 off in this example bc of decimals that are in their calculation.)

[Second Editor's note: Jen intended the image of the paystub below to accompany the math in her example.]

-Submitted by Jen

The Redwood Chronicles

The Gnu and the Yak: Once upon a time, in the African Himalayas, a Gnue trotted out from a river stream and met a Yak pulling a plow. "Boy, this has been a day," the Gnu explained, sitting on the plow, "Do you know how many gnats tried to bite me?" The Gnu put his long horns into the dirt, while the Yak pulled the plow and the Gnu and the Gnu's horns into the soil. "Wow," said the Gnu, leaping onto the Yak's back, "My horns went two feet deep and my neck is killing me! Breaktime?" The Yak answered, "It will be soon. Once I reach the end of the field." The Gnu looked out across the flatness but saw no boundary so she asked, "where does the field end?" The Yak answered "Not sure. I've never been there ."

-Not submitted

Editor's moral: Sympathy is a tax paid by those who can't count to those who do.

Human Resources Corner


I hope you are all well. 
Everyone should have received Doug's email regarding the new wage rate increase. For those of you that did not here is the information:
HSS I: Will move from $17/hour to $18.50/hr for awake shifts and remain at $15.50 for asleep shifts .
HSS II: Will move from $18.15/hour to $19.75/hr for awake shifts and remain at $17 for asleep shifts. 
HSS III: Will move from $20/hour to $22/hr for awake shifts and remain at $18.15 for asleep shifts.
We are all extremely happy to be able to increase wages for our direct care staff who carry one of the most important positions in our agency. We are beyond appreciative of anyone working at Imagine, and in particular those very few HSS III who have been with us for over 8 years and have made their client a part of their family. 
Another subject previously discussed this month is the Employee Referral Bonus. The employee referral bonus amounts are $200 if you referred a candidate that became a Part Time employee, and $400 for a referral that became a Full-Time employee. Unfortunately, we do not consider a referral successful if the employee does not complete a full 30 days of employment with Imagine with reliable attendance. Please consider reliability when referring a friend or acquaintance to one of our positions. 
The referral bonus will be paid on the paycheck of the 25th following the new employee's 30-day completion. If the new employee completes their 30 days less than a week before the payroll is due on the 25th, the bonus is to be paid the following month on the 25th. It is always the responsibility of the employee that referred a new employee to submit their Referral Bonus Form. We do our best to send out periodic reminders about the bonus, however, we need to hear from both the employee that referred a new employee and from the person that was referred, in order for us to approve the bonus. 
Finally, Imagine has been under virtual construction all year. We have been actively creating new systems that will improve transparency and clarify our job responsibilities and yours. A new Employee Handbook was sent out in July. Some folks have yet to review it. I want to stress the importance of understanding Imagine's handbook which has been created as a guideline for you and in protection of our employee rights. 
Still to come will be an updated Injury and Illness Prevention Plan and an Updated Housemate Agreement which will clarify questions that have been asked regarding this role. In the meantime, I am always happy to speak with anyone individually regarding their position at Imagine. 

Best Regards, 
Patty Lopez
Assistant Director of Human Resources
Imagine Supported Living Services
Office: 831-464-8355 ext. 112
Cell: (831) 325-7760
Fax: (831) 612-6384

The Service Sector




I would like to thank everyone who was a part of The Gathering of Extraordinary People or attended. It was such a lovely turn out. The weather was great and seeing all those familiar faces made it that much more special. This year we decided to try a menu change and had a taco truck come out, and with great success. We’ve heard all the feedback and next years food will include more options for all, including vegan options. 

As summer comes to a close this month, I want us all to remember that change is good, and exciting. Whether it’s the time change, starting a new class, or creating new habits change is what you make of it. So with that being said don’t be afraid to start something new this time of year!

Fall is such a beautiful time of year here on the central coast from pumpkin patches, hot cocoa, and cozy nights. I hope you are all as excited as I’am. Imagine will have our annual Film Festival October 25th, a spooktacular Halloween event October 31st, and our Holiday party in December. I look forward to these upcoming events and hope to see you all there. If any one would like to be apart of helping with any of these events we always need help with set up and or transporting our consumers, please reach out to me

-Stephanie Urbina 


Self-Determination is now available for any regional center client who chooses it but it sure ain't running smooth. Tentatively, I think it is getting a little better but boy howdy, is there room for improvement to continue.

If I can be of any help, please feel free to contact me. I'm pleased that there are a few current and recent Imagine employees who are developing Independent Facilitation practices and I'll be glad to connect them with those looking.

This month, the Independent Facilitator Roundtable will be Wednesday, September 6 at 11AM. The Zoom link is right here.

The Independent Facilitator Network, a confederation of professionals working self-determination (which started at Imagine!) has a Slack Channel you can join by clicking here. Individuals receiving services and family members are welcome and it's a great place to have your SDP questions answered by sad, wise experts.

-Submitted by Doug

Community Connections


September 2023


Doug just wouldn't quit yack yack yacking at our get-together on the 20th so we're giving ourselves a month away from that air-bag. We'll be back in October with a new get together.

The August event was otherwise very nice and we enjoyed one another's companionship.

Transparency At Imagine

Our next board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 18 at 11AM although it might be postponed for a week. At the August meeting, the board approved additional direct care wage increases, marking the 5th increase in two years and probably the largest of that set. The October meeting is expected to consider enhanced holiday bonuses.

We are still recruiting board members. We are working to diversify the board and to add a GAAP-trained treasurer. An attorney wouldn't be bad either. Neither would you. We're pleased that Raul Rekow, Jr. of Santa Cruz Supported Living is has joined . If you know someone with a passion for our mission who might like to volunteer, please write to me.

-Submitted by Doug

Advocacy Corner

The State budget has been passed although the legislature is still working on the last trailer bills to describe what it means.

As always, thanks to Marty Omoto of CDCAN for amplifying the transparency and circularity of information between the community and policy-makers. If you would like to receive CDCAN's extensive reporting, write to Marty. CDCAN's work is entirely funded by the donations of those of us who benefit. Write to me or to Marty if you'd like to kick in.

-Submitted by Doug

Person-Centered Evolution

Wishing neither to delete this column nor to write it this mont, I want to share these photos of a person-centered kindness provided by Commonroots Farm and Susan Douglass to caregivers working at Coastal Havens. These are called "Bouquets of Thanks" arranged by Susan.

-Submitted by Tanya

Spotlight on Autumn

Hello everyone. This month’s staff spotlight goes to Autumn. Autumn began her career with imagine working with Damien Tucker in Watsonville back in April 2023. She was such a caring and loving individual to Damien, that only filled his life with positivity. After Damien’s recent passing, Autumn went through a rough patch since there was so much love and care for him.

Even with the sadness and pain, Autumn still managed to cover various shifts with clients throughout Imagine. She just recently joined our newest client’s team and will be starting with him soon. We are excited to have her on and see how she can fill this new client's life with her creativity and good energy,

-Submitted by Angie

Spotlight on Damien

As many of you may know we lost one of our own recently. Damien Tucker Beck, having just celebrated his 24th birthday. It is such a devastating blow to our community and family here at Imagine.

Damien came to us in 2019, where he joined our FHA family and recently joined our SLS side of services. With him he brought his amazing family, whom we’ve had the pleasure to know along with Damien. Our hearts are with them through this difficult journey.

A young man, raised by wolves, related to big foot from other dimensions, your left us with a hole bigger than any black hole in the universe. The first time I met Damien I was invited to sit and learn about this young man and all the things that made him, DD. I never thought I would be sitting here pondering a way to perfectly put into words what he was and what he meant to all of us who loved him so very much. Long car rides through Browns Valley Road or long sits at pizza time spent with Damien were always extraordinary. I had never thought in my life I would understand the world of D&D or Yu-Gi-Yoh but with gratitude to D, I’m very immersed in the world of both. Although D said I asked too many questions about the game(s) I’ll miss those battles and the laughs that came with them.

Damien had so many plans to live out life, and places to see. He was a big believer in the other side and spoke about reincarnation many times. I can only hope that he will find his way back in this world and live out those dreams and aspirations he dreamed of. 

We would like to invite you all to join us on September 15th on a memorial drive with D. The last drive.

Meeting location for drive:

 Straw Hat Pizza, 2026 Freedom Blvd, Freedom CA 95019

 I promise you this D, I’ll always look out for you on days when the moon is full. 

-Submitted by Stephanie

Birthdays & Anniversaries

Staff and Client Birthdays:

Angela A.

Kelly B.

Teddy B.

Joshua D.

Connie G.

Rene M.

Yvonne R.

Maria V.

Tanya W.

Staff Anniversaries:

Veronica L. - 1 Year!!

Maria R. - 2 Years!!

Vanessa M. - 3 Years!!

Elizabeth P. - 7 Years!!

James T. - 18 Years!!

Thank you for your commitment!

Imagine Supported Living Services
9065 Soquel Drive
Aptos, Ca 95003
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