Imagine That...December 2021
In Loving Memory of Dean Wilson and Dana Hackett
The Imagine Endowment
We have an endowment to support Imagine's future. Beginning next year, 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
The Service Sector
Greetings Imagine Family, At the beginning of last month we knew that December could potentially be a very challenging time for Imagine with the vaccination mandate deadline taking effect. I’m incredibly grateful how hard the agency worked to ensure we prepared well for this, and I am happy to say that there looks to be minimal disruption amongst most of our teams. Though staffing continues to be our biggest challenge, getting over this recent hurdle should be recognized as a success for the agency and I want to thank everyone involved.

This month I would also like to use this platform to give an update on our FHA (Family Home Agency) program. For those unaware of our FHA program, this is where we pair families in Santa Cruz country who have a spare bedroom, with an individual that has developmental disabilities. The family then works with the consumer’s unique support needs and receives a monthly stipend for their service. 
Like many support services our FHA program was hit hard during COVID which resulted in the program shrinking after many years of steady growth. Though we are by no means out of the COVID crisis, having a vaccine available and most day programs now back in session we are hopeful to be looking at some FHA growth soon. If you are reading this article, you may be able to help us spread the word about our FHA program and potentially help us find matching families. Educating Santa Cruz County about the FHA program is half the battle and there are likely many families that would be great matches that just need to know it exists. If you know an individual or family that has a spare bedroom in Santa Cruz County and think they may be interested I strongly encourage you to pass on our contact details. Stephanie our FHA facilitator and I are always happy to schedule time to meet with individuals or families to go over the program and answer any questions they may have. 
Finally, I would like to give a big thanks to FHA Facilitator Stephanie and all the FHA families involved in this year’s annual SARC audit that was completed successfully in November. Great job team!

Happy holidays everyone! 

Charlie.


HR Corner
Hello all, 
I hope this email finds you well. I want to begin by thanking everyone for being so communicative regarding the new COVID-19 Vaccine mandate and providing me with the necessary documentation. I am very happy to report minimal turnover, and great cooperation even amongst staff with such varied beliefs and comfort levels around the COVID-19 Vaccine. Imagine has been so grateful and lucky to have such committed staff that have been willing to work with us during the last two years of this pandemic. Our sincere hope is that everyone has felt safe and supported by everyone in the admin team. 
With the holidays around the corner, I would like to remind everyone share your time off plans with your supervisor to ensure that your time off is approved and that there is proper coverage in place. 
The holidays are often stressful times for some. If you are having a difficult time feeling isolated or feeling stress around the holidays, please feel free to reach out to me. Remember that our Employee Assistance Program provides free counseling sessions to all of our employees. We urge you to utilize this resource if you feel like you need support. 
I wish everyone happy and safe holidays and offer the friendly reminder that we are still living life in a pandemic. In general, it is always advisable to not attend a gathering if you are sick or have symptoms, and to remember outdoors is safer than indoors. 
In good Health, 

Patty Lopez 
HR Manager 
Imagine Supported Living Services 
831-464-8355 ext. 112
Cell: (831) 325-7760


Self-Determination
Self-Determination is now available for any regional center client who chooses it but it seems to be a slow process enrolling. 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 today (December 1) at 11AM. The Zoom link is right here. For people interested in Self-determination, there is also a monthly zoom event to introduce individuals and families to Independent Facilitators. It's the third Friday of each month and the time is supposed to rotate but we seem stuck on 2:30-4. Let me know if you're interested and I'll send the link and confirmation of the time.

-Submitted by Doug
Community Connections
The November family Zoom gathering was a success with 15 participants and some candid conversations. We discussed Imagine’s current vulnerabilities and how we get from where we are to where we need to be. We talked about ways to express appreciation to staff and encouraged one another to make special efforts this year to reach out to friends, families, and the cheerleaders of our Imagine loved one to make special appeals for contributions to Imagine’s year-end fundraising campaign. Much giving of thanks for Imagine, Doug, and the leadership team, the tireless facilitators, and dedicated direct care staff was expressed. Thanks to all who attended, it was connecting and encouraging. 

Look out for a couple family Zoom discussions over the winter (January and March) as we try to stay safe AND connected. I’m envisioning having some informal parent/peer conversations on areas of common interest. Please let me know (see contact info below) what your interests are and I’ll offer up some discussion topics to get us started. Thanks for connecting!

Susan Douglass, Imagine parent, BOD member   
susancruzan50@gmail.com     831-818-2501


Transparency At Imagine
Our next board meeting will be held December 15, at 11:00. Write to Norma if you'd like to attend. Imagine's finances did not immediately rebound following the end of the riskiest part of the pandemic and we'll discussing why and how to repair the trouble.

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.

-Submitted by Doug
Advocacy Corner
As it was last month, so it is now. There have been few new opportunities to advocate for Imagine Direct Care Staff to be included in some of the federal funding that came through the CARES Act, and we remain in a guessing game as to the increase in funding we can expect this coming summer. Actually, we have assurances that the rate increases will take effect April 1 and be ready in time. But let's say summer.

Our hope remains that our budget will be in balance when the rate increase comes through and the majority of new funding can make a difference to staff compensation. The board and management are committed to that as the primary purpose of any new funding.

A separate promising, but too vague, development now in law is that there is to be support for enhanced direct care wages for bilingual staff and those who meet certain professional development goals. As yet, the state hasn't developed or shared much clarity on how, how much, how measured. We very much appreciate the concept and will share more information when it develops.

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.

-submitted by Doug

Birthdays & Anniversaries
Staff and Client Birthdays

Peggy
Cat
Russel
Miriam
Lorena
Toni
Adam
Julianna
Dina
Daisy
Kaitlin
Crystal
Vanessa
Sabrina
Ashley F
Jordan!
Jake!


Staff Anniversaries

Doug P. 8 years
Kellie B. 4 years!
Gabriela V. 3 years!!
Alexa G. 3 Years!!
Leslie E 2 years!! (on this tour)
Martin V. First Anniversary!
Evelyn L. First Anniversary!
Christian T. First Anniversary!