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Imagine That...December 2023

In Loving Memory of Damien Tucker-Beck

In Memory of Damien

David and Omar at Common Roots Farm with a ball

Eliot at the Lagoon

Angie at Common Roots Farm not at all afraid of chickens

Wendy and Scott

at almost certainly Target

Mariana and Sophie at Nate's party.

Ryan and Alina at Nate's party averaging out to very cheerful

Alina and Sophie esteeming cake

Nate and Tom Celebrating Nate and Tom, an epic friendship

Nate and Teddy don't just think they are so cool.

E-Dub and his close personal friend on the bus

Hayley at The Wharf

Meet Jhonny!

Jhonny, we see you. Be well and be back.

Eliot Gets Around

Alan at Common Roots Farm

Eliot Shreds at the shed. At The Sandbar.

How Eliot Gets Chronicled. Thanks, Chloe, for the two fisted historical record.

Eliot with Todd Bear

One more photo of Nate's party with, from Ryan and clockwise, well, Ryan, Joel, Chris, Jessica O, Alina, Jessica G.

Mega Beto

Giving Thanks

Dear Imagine friends and family,

First of all, the Imagine Winter Party is tonight! 6PM! The Santa Cruz Masonic Temple at 828 Branciforte in Santa Cruz. Parking around back. Friends inside. Come on. Arranging this year's event has been an unusually turbulent process so the time we get to be together will be even more meaningful to me. I hope you'll join us.

We had a lot of fun at Nathan's birthday party! He wanted it Sports Themed, which I love. He wanted it Detroit themed and I'm kind of a Chicago sports fan so I'm just going to say that this is a person centered organization. Lots of the community came out and had fun and you'll find some photographic proof in the photos this month. Happy birthday friend.

Roaring Camp has once again donated a Holiday Train to the special needs community. Limited seats available but it's fun every year and we sure look forward to it. The train is this Sunday, December 3, arrive at 7:30 with your baggage. So that we don't exceed our ticket allotment, please let me know if you will join us. This event is for our clients and their caregivers with an occasional family member thrown in. Pictures to follow next month.

We have completed our annual Form 990 filing with the IRS. It is attached below so you can enjoy it. It sounds boring but I will make my case for reading it every year. It is a statement, under penalty of perjury, made by a nonprofit explaining where our funds come from and how they are used. It's a great way to find out what an organization prioritizes and catch them being honest. It's also a freely available alternative to glib bitterness. Informed cynicism is just a click away.

Rae's bake sale. Our friend, Rae, is planning a bake sale at Imagine's Community building on December 15 from 3-5. The flyer is below. She promises a wide array of goodies and, always thoughtful, has promised to include gluten and dairy free options. If you are hungry on the 15th, please drop by and support Rae.

Best wishes to Jhonny! Jhonny wasn't with us long but we sure enjoyed our time together. Jhonny left Imagine (for now) to return home to Colombia to help with family matters. We look forward to him coming back, thank him for his time with us so far and wish him the very best.

There continue to be significant transitions on the Imagine Leadership Team. Alina Parra, a caring, smart and effective Facilitator has decided to step down from her position at the end of this month. She has really done great work and stakeholders on every side are sorry to see this but we're grateful we get to keep her. She will be taking the housemate position with Sophie at Imagine. We have hired Lia Vargas as a new Facilitator. Lia is unusually qualified for the position with more than a decade in the field and substantial management experience. She will be taking half of the combined Alina and Brenda caseload and a player to be named later will take the other half. In the meanwhile every

If it helps, we have never stopped working on how to make the Facilitator job easier to prioritize the most important work and likely never will. It's also important, in terms of how we treat our Facilitators and show them empathy, that every single current facilitator came into their job with substantial catching up to do on day one. There's a lot of shoulders behind the wheel ahead we reach a place where Facilitators can sustainably build newer teams into the kind of robust, respectful, reliable, person-centered cultures all Imagine's client's deserve.

Finally, there won't be a fundraising campaign this year. I'll explain below in the Note To Donors.

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

The Flyer for Rae's Bake sale

The Redwood Chronicles has a joke from Jake, aka the Riddler for a second month because it's his birthday and we didn't want to pressure plus it's a pretty good joke and today's his birthday but you didn't hear it here.

Patty Lopez, gets to talk events instead of processes. Her soul is nourished.

The Service Sector Welcomes Lia Vargas to Imagine, you to our Winter Party and pilot project people to give feedback.

The Person-Centered Evolution column talks about the "Perfect Week" tool.

In Community Connections, Here's the deal- this will be another column I write until someone someone steps up and takes it off my hands. That's not a threat, just facts.

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 spotlights on Angie Urbina and the wonderful Briana, whose time as an imagine client ended 6 hours ago and whose time as part of the Imagine community continues for life.

As ever, I am at your service. 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,


A Note To Donors

Sincere Holiday Greetings to you all;

I want to explain why there won't be a fundraising campaign this year in a transparent and clear way but I will also start where I usually end, that if you have any questions or concerns you are very welcome to reach out. Both the federal and California governments require that Non-profits with more than $2 million in annual revenues submit to and pay for an independent audit each year. This is a standard Imagine always met before the pandemic and will be back in compliance with soon.

However, the audits that should have been done in 2020 and 2021 were not completed until earlier this year and the two that should have been done in 2022 and this year are in process now and expected to be concluded by Spring. We already have a plan and provider for the subsequent and hope to be fully on schedule by fall.

However, as it should, The California Attorney General's Office which manages the non-profit registry takes the independent audits seriously and has suspended our enrollment until we catch up. Imagine cannot solicit donations during our suspension.

However, the IRS is not yet showing signs of being impatient with us, which means that your donations remain tax deductible and unimpacted as long as we catch up before the IRS loses patience with us too (which we expect to do.)

We are taking this seriously and focusing on complying with this requirement that we support, because we do believe in transparency.

So we have removed the "donate" button from this newsletter and will not request any support until the suspension is lifted. We do, however, appreciate you very much. The support of our community made an enormous difference when the financial winds were against us or when the pandemic required reducing hours and buying lots of expensive PPE. This is probably the best year of my ten for us not to fundraise. You can expect us to reach out after the suspension is lifted.

As ever, thank you for your support, and we are accepting kind words during this period.

-Submitted by Doug

The Redwood Chronicles

Riddle. What do you call a blood-sucker with antlers? (Answer below)

-Submitted by Jake Wilkins

[Ed. Moral: Puns are a way to draw blood without needles.]

Human Resources Corner

Hello all, 

It's December again and that means everyone is busy and that the end of the year is around the corner. At Imagine, that always means renewals and end of year audits. This year, we introduced a new system that has felt complicated and daunting to a lot of people. With that said, we are working every day to add support for Leads and Facilitators in order to make Caresmartz easier for everyone. Last month we sent out a new protocol for support with schedule changes. I trust that everyone reviewed that protocol either through the email that was sent or through the document submitted through Viventium for your acknowledgement. For those of you who missed it, here is the link: 

We are continuously grateful for all the work our Direct Care employees do. And with that appreciation, we also want to make sure that you don't only feel supported by the Leadership Team but also by your team's Lead Staff and your coworkers. I will be sending out protocols that will go into place at the beginning of the year that have to do with attendance, training, and smoother communication. 

As always, I want to invite everyone reading this to call me, text me, or email me with any questions or concerns. 

Wishing you a beautiful Winter Season, Happy Holidays, and a great start to a new year. 

In Good Health, 

Patty Lopez

Assistant Director of Human Resources

Imagine Supported Living Services

Cell: (831) 325-7760

A Plea: This is Doug hijacking the end of Patty's column to say this: The holidays are coming. Between extra pay and fun events, we try to make it worthwhile for people who give care but also recognize that a lot of employees will want that time off. If you expect to need time off during the holidays, please start now by letting us know and seeking coverage.

The Service Sector

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” ― John Steinbeck


Speaking of sweetness, we hope to see you at our Winter Party tonight at the Masonic Lodge, 828 N Branciforte Ave., from 6-8 pm. We will have many sweet treats for you to enjoy! 


We would like to welcome our newest Facilitator, Lia Vargas, to our team! She comes to Imagine with tons of knowledge in the world of developmental disabilities, having worked in many roles, such as a lead caregiver, program manager, staffing manager, and medical coordinator. We are excited to have Lia start with Imagine, and we are sure you will enjoy working with her, too.


In September, we piloted 7 teams with computers to clock in and out of shifts and take Shift Notes as well as Task Sign-off in CareSmartz. I would love to hear feedback from direct care staff on how this is going. If you are working on one of the piloted teams, please send feedback to me, Heather.


See you all in January 2024!!!

-Heather Miller 


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, December 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

We really appreciate Susan's leadership making the network of parents and conservators something lively, informative, collective and constructive. She will no longer be leading the group and it feels much better if this group stays native to its composition, as opposed to becoming an activity that Imagine staff arrange and provide the logistics for. Please reach out to me if you would be willing to be the one who makes sure these opportunities happen. Plus you get to write a monthly column in our newsletter. This paragraph will stay here until one of y'all steps up.

Transparency At Imagine

Our next board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, December 18 at 11AM. At the October meeting, the board voted to provide a pay adjustment via bonus just ahead of Thanksgiving and to continue our usual holiday bonus ahead of Christmas. The December meeting has a pretty sparse agenda so far but should include a preliminary look at our 2024-2025 budget. If you need a break from your Christmas malaise for some drama and fun, please join us. it's kind of like a Hallmark movie in a spreadsheet. 

Our last two delinquent audits are in process, after which we might just be able to produce a multi-year annual report for the first time since COVID.

Our most recent Form 990 was completed and is available here. A hint on the currency of it: The "Year" listed on the form is the year that the fiscal year began so it never feels like the latest since it is typically two years later that the form goes in. The "year" is 2021-2022.

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. If you know someone with a passion for our mission who might like to volunteer, please write to me.

-Submitted by Doug

Advocacy Corner

This is the quiet season in government advocacy but local matters too. A group is developing an inclusive playground for Jade Street park in Capitola. Our own Julia H is a leader in the group with her parents. To learn more and consider supporting, click right here.

The next major step in the government cycle will come mid-January when the Governor will release a budget proposal and we'll all go wild trying to find the good or bad news.

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

The holidays are here and I'm wishing all of you and especially our clients perfect weeks. So this is a tool I forget exists but it is very helpful especially for people who prefer or rely on structure.

The tool can be combined with the "Important To/Important For" tool to insure that preferences and needs are represented in the course of the week in appropriate amounts and it can produce a repeatable structure to time that may be reassuring for some individuals (or annoying to others.) Not every client will benefit from this tool but, hey, person-centered.

Spotlight on Angie U.


Angie joined our team of SLS CCRs a few months ago. Angie has been a lifeline for both me and my teams. She is always eager to step in and assist, asking what she can do and ensuring that the client is treated with the utmost respect. I had the pleasure of speaking with her on the phone when she was on shift. During one of those calls, the client began to speak to her and was anxious about something. Angie (rightfully so) cut me off and began talking to her client. I was glued to my phone listening in. I found myself emotional and speechless due to the kindness, love, respect, and grace Angie showed the client. 
Just this week Angie helped a client with a crisis. She was watchful, vigilant, and unwavering in her regard for the client. Her reporting to me was mainly person centered and wanting to honor how he felt and was constantly finding ways to help him advocate for himself to receive the care he needed. I am truly honored to work with Angie. As Facilitators, our greatest hope is for our staff to treat our clients in the exact way that Angie does. Thank you deeply Angie for all you do for Imagine and for being an amazing example of how loving and respectful SLS is and should be.

-Submitted by Jessica

Photo: We couldn't find one but Batgirl is close enough.

Spotlight on Briana

Briana, the magnificent, is a creative, fun, funny and, by the way, Bri, Permanent member of the Imagine family. If you come to our film festivals, she has written and acted in several of our homemade entries. If you've been to one of our parties, wherever people are laughing the loudest, I bet you found her in the middle of it all.

I have many great memories of her and she's talking in all of them. The first time we ever spent time significant together was when I gave her a ride home after the Imagine summer bonfire. I learned a lot about Hope Services and her love of Disney and her plans for writing and acting. She's a great sharer.

So we will follow her example and be great sharers too. Briana is moving soon and moving her support, today to Santa Cruz Supported Living. We think highly of SCSL and of Bri and we look forward to seeing what comes from this good match. Good luck, Bri, and be in touch.

P.S. We conspired to make this happen because Briana is a spy plotting to get SCSL to quit flaking on the film festival.

Photo: Briana and Melissa at The Gathering. They are tougher than they might seem. Note the tattoos.

-Submitted by Doug

Birthdays & Anniversaries

Staff and Client Birthdays:

Yulianna D.!
Lorena F.!
Adam G.!
Jessica G.!
Jazleen J.!
Christopher L.!
Shannon M.!
Savana S.!
Melani S.!
Russell S.!
Crystal Z.!

December Anniversaries:
Doug P. - 10 Years!
Leslie E. - 4 Years!
Evelyn L. - 3 Years!
Christian T. - 3 Years!
Myrissa V. - 1 Year!
Angelique U. - 1 Year!
Gilberto C. - 1 Year!
Eileen H. - 1 Year!

Thank you for your commitment!

Imagine Supported Living Services
9065 Soquel Drive
Aptos, Ca 95003
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