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Imagine That...February 2024

In Loving Memory of Damien Tucker-Beck

In loving memory of Damien

Chris at his birthday party. If you didn't go, you don't know.

Zaki Rides Again!

My art, directed by Scott G

Ian's art, inspired by Grayson

Scott and friends at the Felton covered bridge

Eliot playing Laser Tag. I bet he blasted Joel about a second after this photo was taken.

Charlie, Rachel and Manny at Chris' birthday feast

Becky, Tiffany, Dave and Briana brought their A-game to Neptune's Kingdom

Heidi and Eliot enjoying the great outdoors with green zone awesomeness

Chris really knows how to party (the secret is pizza, turns out). And I finally got to meet illustrious Imagine alumna Chandra.

Fond Farewell to Fabi

Scott and Alicia go deep

Alan, Perla and Kiara at Scott's House

Eliot and Joel by the "Pumpkin Pie Factory."

Welcome Zaki!

Dear Imagine friends and family,

First of all, we want to welcome Zaki and his family to the Imagine family. Zaki is a young man from Aptos with sweet hands for catch, a fond ear for music and a horseman. He will start services this month with Imagine through the self-determination program. He is shown here at home with his father, Shamim. When you meet them, please make sure to let them know how welcome they are.

We had to part with Fabi, alas. Fabi joined us, subbing for Patty when Patty went on maternity leave and then had her own in 2023. In between, Fabi did the hard and vital work of recruiting caregivers. She's been fun to work with, engaged and proud to help Imagine and our next employees find one another. We're keeping her husband (one of her fine recruits) and hope to see a lot of her baby daughter, Ximena, who is also an excellent recruiter. Fabi is going on to a position helping people in Monterey County qualify for benefits. Fabi leaves Imagine when, for the first time in my tenure, the big stress in recruiting is good candidates without a matching position open. We wish her and the family the best and look forward to seeing her at our events.

Which brings us to a brief note about the state of the agency. Imagine has not been this well staffed in years. We have lots of new caregivers many of whom seem excellent and some of whom I haven't met. There are still a few positions open but those are mostly a failure to match well.

For my friends who fret about how I spend my time, I did only 14 hours of coverage in all of January. I bet I beat most Facilitators too. Full staffing is not doing the job, but it does allow attention to rest with our clients, their struggles and well-being. It's a better agency where that focus can be a habit instead of a discipline.

We still haven't settled on a job title for Lia's new position. As a recap from last month's newsletter, we are very eager to improve the work lives and focus of our Facilitators. We are running a test from now through June where one Facilitator has half a caseload and the others add one client and the yet-untitled (but named Lia) Facilitator supports her peers in various ways.

One of those ways, is that Lia will be reaching out to 10-12 stakeholders each month for 1:1 interviews. These will be broad conversations built around the "What's Working/What's Not Working" Person-Centered Thinking tool. (See below for a description of the tool.) The goal is to push our Open-Door policy outward and so to get more offers of exciting ideas, earlier warnings about frustrations building and better documentation of how stakeholders on our teams are feeling over time.

This work, we hope, assists Facilitators by giving them information which may not flow as easily face-to-face between them and their clients, staff, families and other members of the circle of support. We hope this will also assist senior management by giving us insight that doesn't come to us on our own.

Imagine has many stakeholders from every group that are generous with their thoughts, concerns and opinions but we have more that senior management seldom hears from. We are looking at these interviews as a way to hear from those who don't reach out to management and/or facilitators. For that reason, we are not asking for volunteers. Lia will reach out or I will to those selected each month to set up the meetings.

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

Patty Lopez, welcomes you into the new year and wishes you well.

In The Service Sector this month, Heather helps you rest your tired eyes with a short column about a big party coming up and some computers coming out.

The Person-Centered Evolution column talks about What's Working/What's Not Working as a tool.

In Community Connections, big news. We have a column from the new leader of the group.

In the Advocacy Corner, the start of California's first budget of the latest state budget deficit.

Our usual stuff in the columns around self-determination and Transparency.

This month we have spotlights on Wendy and Hayley, who is going to be his own employer of his staff through self-determination in 2024.

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,


Human Resources Corner

It's Doug again. After three straight months of slowly creeping into Patty's columns- a sentence or two at the end of this one, a run-on paragraph in the next, this month I am going full pirate. The Arabella is mine! Ahoy, y'all.

I have two main topics I want to follow up with our caregivers on. The first is, I want to recognize how much turnover we've had among Facilitators and how hard that must be for our caregivers. The Facilitator's job may not be harder than a caregiver's or an Executive Director's, but it requires a lot of skills that aren't closely related and few if any new Facilitators have them all. Most successful facilitators during my time said and seemed like they didn't really get the hang of it for a year. Depending on which team you are on, you may have had 2-3 different new Facilitators in the last two years which means you haven't had a fully developed and ready leader in that position to support you.

I have been wanting to recognize that and thank you for your patience. To those of you who reached out with concerns, you have been helping a lot (filling the sails?). Anyway, thank you. We obviously haven't cracked it, but we're far from done trying.

And the other thing I wanted to share comes from the first. If you read my usual article (the one I do when I'm not jacking Patty's) just above either last month or this, you know that we are experimenting with a new position to better support Facilitators getting the hang of the job. Many of the details are in the other columns and some are still in development. But the one I wanted to discuss are the interviews upcoming.

We are asking the new Support Facilitator to conduct 10-12 interviews per month that are meant to find what is going well and what needs attention on each team. The majority of those will be with caregivers because (1) there are more of you than any other group of stakeholders and (2) the purpose of the interviews, to help us better manage and support Facilitators, requires rich information from the people who benefit or suffer the most from each Facilitator's strengths and weaknesses.

I want to make some reassurances about the integrity of those interviews. The best guidance we can give depends on the most honest feedback. At first, we will be recording zoom calls with you, but we want to reassure you that Lia, Patty and I will be the only ones permitted to see them. The feedback, when it is presented to Facilitators will come without attribution. We want and hope and train for candor between Facilitators and direct care staff, but if there's something you have been itching to say and felt timid, worried or awkward about it, say it to Lia. Once we are comfortable that the interviews are happening in a constructive way, we will reduce the recordings and future interviews can remain fully anonymous.

OK, so who votes that I let Patty have her column back next month? To answer or to follow up with any questions and concerns, you know where to find me, my number is in your house binder and you can email me here.

Submitted by Doug "Pegleg" Pascover Argh

The Service Sector

Greetings, Imagine Readers!


HUGE Special Thank You to Jay Leiner and nCino for donating ten used laptops to Imagine! These laptops will be disbursed throughout Imagine to the consumer’s homes so caregivers can clock in and out of their shifts, take shift notes, and sign off tasks in CareSmartz. We currently have seven teams that are working on the pilot program. If you are part of one of the piloting teams and have comments, concerns, or feedback, please contact me


The Lovely Kennedy House Ladies have put together a Valentine’s Day Party for February 9th from 2:30-5pm. There will be food, drinks, desserts, games, arts and crafts, and a photo booth! Please RSVP to your facilitator or here!

-Submitted by Heather



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 continued improvement.

We do love serving people through self-determination, though, which has allowed us to improve the client:nonsense ratio in our attention. I bring this up because I still hear about service providers who are reluctant to provide care through SDP. If you are an SDP-cautious provider, please do reach out to me for my biased reasoning.

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, February 7 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

Raul Rekow, Jr., Imagine's newest board member is taking the reins of the Community Connections group that works to connect and inform Imagine stakeholders beyond clients and staff. Upcoming events will include a self-determination program (SDP) basic training on Independent Facilitation. Here's Raul's first Community Connections newsletter article:

As the newest member of Imagine's Board of Directors, I am responsible for being involved in a board committee. It is with great excitement that I am happy to announce that I will be helping to lead the efforts of the Community ConnectionsCommittee, formerly led by Susan Douglass.  

I look forward to meeting with those involved and anyone interested, as we take on new topics to cover. It is my understanding that Community Connections is dedicated to helping, family members, conservators and circles of support to find access to resources for those that Imagine supports, to network, mentor one another and stay in touch with the community of Imagine stakeholders.

Being so new, I was hoping to dedicate a meeting in March to getting to know more of you here at Imagine. I am hoping to have a more informal discussion and find out what may resonate with all of you and what topics or resources were discussed in the past year.

I am hoping we can then aim to meet at least quarterly and use meetings as a space for both brainstorming and providing information. Each meeting can focus on a chosen resource to learn more about and also be forward looking in determining a topic for the next meeting.

If you are interested in participating or helping to run the committee, I would love to hear from you. If you had participated previously, I would love to hear from you even moreso.

As you express interest please let me know what day of the month in either February or March may be best for you to meet? Maybe the last Wednesday of the month or the 3rd Thursday? I am sure we can establish something regularly after a meeting or two.

Please feel free to reach out to me via email at:



Transparency At Imagine

We're working on calendaring our 2024 meetings and I lost my bet last month. We're meeting on February 21. At this meeting, staff intend to present to the board a basic budget projection as well as several possible new structures with estimated budgetary implications. Our meetings are open to all and if you email Maggie she'll make sure you get in and fed and heard.

Our last two delinquent audits are still 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

The Governor's budget proposal is out and it partially addresses major shortfalls in state funding. Direct impact to Imagine is that rate increases enacted for July are proposed to be delayed a year while the upcoming quality incentives program remains in place. Generally, the developmental disability system came out better than a lot of areas of government spending, including those that support other challenged communities. Hearings in the legislature begin now.

As a note, Imagine's draft budget for next year, which has been shared with the Budget and Finance Committee and will go before the board at our February meeting predicted that the state deficit would impact spending increases and does not need to be revised at this point.

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

For management nerds on the spectrum, the What's Working and What's not Working tool is a fan favorite. It's a way of avoiding complacency, celebrating success and learning to improve, all at once.

It's also a tool that comes from outside the PCT-ELP hive mind. Those of us who were management nerds on the spectrum before our involvement with this community recognize it's form from Peter Senge's The Fifth Discipline.

Conversations using this tool are familiar to many people from various walks of life. Which is why this tool will be the basis of the interviews to be done by Lia starting this month.

Spotlight on Becky

Becky is a member of our community with roots so deep and broad in the community we can only kind of claim her. She works at Imagine, works at Community Life, is a parent at Imagine, has worked with many of our clients at one time or another. She's also the reason when we cater from a bakery, we go to Gayle's.

What I want to appreciate about Becky is that she, along with her husband, Dave, is a genuine and authentic friend to so many of our clients. She hangs out off the clock and has been with many of our clients in hard times and in good times. She was with Dana at the end of her life, with Dana and Chris at my kid's eighth birthday party.

There are so many ways of running into Becky in our community that I often forget which role she is in. Another reason I forget that is, while she may be on the clock or off the clock, she's always herself, in her natural setting and with her favorite companions. (At left you see her with Tiffany at Chris' birthday party.)

It means a lot to our clients when a caregiver so clearly does not need to be paid to be with them, show true affection and an appetite for their company. Becky, whichever role you are in, you enrich the lives of the people we all care about. I'm proud to know you and glad you are here.

-Submitted by Doug

Spotlight on Hayley

I would love to spotlight my client, Hayley. Many people don’t know this, but Hayley and I go way back. Like late 2000’s way back.

Working in this field it’s a really great experience to grow along with some of the consumers in the area. Being teenagers together and growing in our 30’s together is a rare beauty.

Here is what I want you all to know about my friend Hayley. Hayley is just like her mom, strong minded, blunt, hardworking, sassy, on a mission to do what is right and bursting at the seams with love.

Hayley loves to stay busy doing art, going on walks, and has expressed wanting to volunteer. It is her hope to go grocery shopping for a fellow Imagine Participant very soon.

Hayley is nosy, but this is part of what makes Hayley’s love language so special. She wants to love who you love, she wants to defend your honor, and if you are sad, she is sad. If you get cut off while driving, she is saying what you are thinking… to defend your honor. Hayley gets the greatest giggle fits of anyone I have ever known and can get you in a giggle fit with her, which is just what anyone needs these days.

Hayley is an incredible person that wants to live life to her fullest and have fun doing it. As you can see in her spotlight picture, she is also one of the kindest, gentlest, and caring people you will ever meet. Hayley, I am so happy to be your facilitator and continue our journey from when we were teenagers for as long as we are able to. I admire you and have much to learn from you. Keep on rockin girl! 

-Submitted by Jessica

Birthdays & Anniversaries


Adam G. 4 Years!

Tonya S. 4 Years!

Jimena A. 1 Year!


Linda H!

Tiffany D!

Fermina M.

Joel E.

Chloe S.

John A.

Terry J.

Leslie E.

Eileen H.

Drew C.

Raquel N.

Rebecca N.

Tonya S.

Izalia M.

Isabella R.

Sandra F.

Alejandro P.

Thank you for your commitment!

Imagine Supported Living Services
9065 Soquel Drive
Aptos, Ca 95003
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