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Imagine That...March 2024

In Loving Memory of Damien Tucker-Beck

In Memory of Damien

Eliot with his friend, Audrey

The Imagine Crew at Tiffany's Birthday Party

Ian making a Sponge Bob Trophy for the next Uno winner

Karen and Friend

Sophie getting rugged

Abra In Cat Drag

Twins showing each other sister love

Heidi and Eliot aren't related that we know of.

Ashlee and Alan at the Palentine's Day Party

Garret and Jade at the Palentine's Party and yeah that's a bounce house.

Simone's Grand Entrance

Tom don't need Valentine's Day to love himself

Alan, tuned up for the party after the party and surrounded by lady admirers.

Coming Attractions: Daniel and Laleh

The ED is out

Dear Imagine friends and family,

I want to let everyone know that I'll be on vacation with my family beginning March 20 and returning April 2. I expect I'll be accessibleish but will be trying to vacate as best I can. If I'm slow to react around then, don't take it personally. It's not that I don't care, it's that I'm trying not to (for two weeks.)

A lot of Palentine's Day fun was had when the women of Kennedy House hosted a party. This is how we always want to get together. With generosity, fun and a little impish pre-trouble. The photos for this month will include a lot from that event.

I've decided to make "The Year of The Facilitator" a monthly column for 2024 in order to give you all news of how things are going with the work of improving the work of Faciliators and giving them more balance. This month's edition will be shortish.

Introduction to the newsletter: We've recently added a bunch of new subscribers who might just be readers, so it seems worth explaining a little what is in here. The first thing we want you to know, though, is that we welcome submissions. If you have something you'd like to share with our community and don't mind some light editing, please feel welcome to mail it in.

This column: Rambling by me about whatever is on my mind. If I can't think of anything all month long, I might do something like an explanation of the newsletter for instance.

The Year of...It is necessary, important and slow to improve how an agency does what it does. Over the last few years we have focused annually on some part of the agency to improve in pursuit of better implementation of our mission and better achievement of client outcomes. In the past I have used my main column to discuss what's happening in that pursuit. As of last month, I am experimenting with a running commentary.

Human Resource Corner: This column is written by Assistant Director/HR Patty Lopez. It is targeted for employees of Imagine and worth their time to read as it is where you learn about new policies, new or old parts of our benefits, compensation policies, etc.

The Service Sector: This column talks about things going in our services that are kinda macro or at least effect several clients and their teams at once. Operations Manager Heather Cahill and Lead Facilitator Stephanie Urbina take turns writing this column.

Person-Centered Evolution: In our last Strategic Plan, a key goal was "Person Centered Thinking Everywhere." One of the smaller achievements of that effort was a column of applied person-centered thinking and how we're using that discipline. Most months, we discuss one of the canonical tools from Person-Centered Thinking/Essential Lifestyle Planning and occasionally we have a mini essay.

Self-Determination: Imagine has been a supporter, mentor and resource for the self-determination since before it was available in this area. Typically, this column is just an invitation to learn more about the program.

Community Connections: Community Connections is a group put together to share resources, mentoring, fellowship and education in a peer-to-peer way among family members and conservators of Imagine clients. Raul Rekow, Jr., board member currently leads that group. When he plans an event, you'll read about it here.

Transparency at Imagine: This column will let you know when upcoming board meetings occur. Whenever we finish an audit or a federal filing or put together a big policy something we publish it here for busybodies like you.

Advocacy Corner: Imagine's mission is "To empower people with developmental disabilities through service and advocacy." We try to keep our community aware of public policy developments. Mostly by cribbing off of CDCAN.

Spotlights: Each month we celebrate one employee and one client. We're proud of our family and don't mind telling you about it.

We end by celebrating the birthday month of our clients and staff and thanking those employees who have completed a year of service to our community. You can download our activity calendar down there too.

Intermittently, we add content that has been submitted. Semi-regularly, our client, Jake, submits articles about animals he loves. When we have a planned event coming up, you'll read about it in here.

So, now that you know about the newsletter and its' sections, here are the sections in this issue.

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

In The Year of...a few updates on work we're doing to make the Facilitator's job easier to do better.

Patty Lopez, explains our new policies meant to insure that our employees' workweeks are safe and sane.

In The Service Sector this month, Operations Manager Heather Cahill steals my thunder a little by talking about the interviews being conducted by our new Service Support Facilitator, Lia.

It's important to and for the Person-Centered Evolution column to talk this month off.

In Community Connections, big news. We think we have found a leader for the group for 2024.

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

This month we have spotlights on Wendy and Nate, 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,


The Year of The Facilitator

Here's something that is working: Higher staffing levels have reduced Faciliator exhaustion substantially. Our Facilitators are spending more time in the office or working from home keeping their administrative work up than they have in years. They are also spending more quality time with clients and their teams than they have in years.

As importantly, when Faciliators don't have dozens of hours of coverage with one or two clients to cover, they are able to balance where they spend their time. Necessity may be the mother of invention but it's also a mother of a schedule wrecker. To build better relationships with caregivers, better insight into clients' needs, it goes a lot better when the time together lacks urgency and so gains richness. That casual time with clients and caregivers is also the main thing our Facilitators come to the job looking for.

It took a lot to get us here. In 2023, the Year of The Caregiver we used funding increases from the state to provide two rounds of raises each of which was unprecedented. We expanded our benefits. We also added a wonderful recruiter who helps bring candidates in with a desire to work here. Facilitators needed to get in the habit of calling candidates quickly and introducing them to clients expeditiously.

Our plan for Facilitators wasn't audacious enough to include this step, and we mean to carry out the rest. But the opportunity to do our work thoughtfully and slowly might be the biggest improvement we'll manage this year.

-Submitted by Doug

Art Contribution

Photo by Eliot. Monkey Band Forever!

Human Resources Corner

Hello all, 

Recently we have been noticing that some of our very dedicated Direct Care Staff are taking on so much that we have become concerned about health and safety. Thankfully nothing of consequence has occurred. However, we have dedicated a lot of energy into ensuring that everyone follows our day of rest policy, as well as a newly created Maximum Hours policy. The formal policies should have been received for your review through Viventium. Please do let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding these policies. These policies were created with Staff and clients in mind, and I do hope that is how they are received by all. Here is an excerpt of our policy:

It is important that Imagine SLS takes into consideration the safety of our employees and clients. To do so we work together to mitigate fatigue. The first step in mitigating fatigue in the workplace environment is to identify risks that impact fatigue. Workplace environment, schedules, and staffing levels are all areas that play a role in fatigue.


Having adequate staff levels in order to complete job tasks helps to reduce added workload to an individual and minimizes effects of fatigue. Scheduled activities, their frequency and/or deemed importance can create added stress for an employee. Providing clearly stated expectations regarding daily work, projects, response time to abnormal field events can all help to reduce fatigue and ensure that an employee is mentally prepared for the work and activities they will encounter during the day.


Imagine SLS understands that the most effective way to reduce fatigue is allowing employee time to rest. This is why Imagine SLS holds a quality standard of providing work schedules that allow for 8 hours of continuous rest for Home Support Specialists and other nonexempt employees.

On another note, we would like to remind everyone that is available as a tool to use for caresmartz edits, such as missed clock ins/outs that need to be added to the caresmartz360 calendars. 

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. 


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

Greetings Imagine-ers!

We’re now in our third month of 2024! We have been very busy with audits both FHA and Financial. Our Support Facilitator, Lia has begun her check ins with consumers, support staff, and stakeholders. We hope these check ins will give room for everyone to share their concerns, questions, and appreciations.

As we've noted before, in examining how the Facilitators become overwhelmed, we keep finding missed opportunities for prevention. Not all but many preventable problems are hitched to communication, especially people not feeling like they can communicate easily their needs or not finding their concerns addressed in a timely fashion.

Imagine has, for at least a decade, had an open door policy meant to ease the pressure from missed communication. Every Imagine client, family member, conservator, employee or other stakeholder has an open invitation to meet with our Executive Director, Assistant Director, a Facilitator or myself and a promise we will follow up.

Our hope with these interviews is to push that open door outward. Our hope is that the interviews can reach those who might be timid or not mad enough yet so that Facilitators can take action before opportunities to build a better more effective team for our clients has passed.

Each month, Lia plans to interview 10-12 people from different categories of our family and to present findings to senior management who then hope to better mentor our Facilitators. At the beginning, Lia is recording the interviews, not to puncture the anonymity but while the executive team and Lia find common language and interpretation.



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, March 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

Raul Rekow, Jr. a member of the board is responsible for this group. Talk to him that there's no update here.

Transparency At Imagine

The next board meeting is scheduled for April 17. Two and a half weeks after my vacation, I betcha I'll come dewy. Our meetings are open to all and if you email Maggie she'll make sure you get in and fed and heard. The agenda for the meeting will include a proposed budget for our fiscal year that begins July 1.

Our last two delinquent audits are still in process. Pray for us.

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

Quiet season in state government is well and truly over through the Spring. The Governor is projecting a budget shortfall of $38 Billion in the coming year and proposing to address just under half by drawing on our state reserves which had been set aside in case of recession and just under half by reducing expenditures, mostly through temporary measures. The rest is to be settled by internal borrowing from Peter for Paul's comfort.

Senior staff at Imagine are anticipating, and budgeting for, the final round of rate increases to not occur as currently scheduled in law on July 1. Until the state budget is on firmer ground, we will need to be very careful with funds. Until the state sustainably corrects the deficit, it will be important to prepare for the possibility of future funding cuts. That is likely to mean any surpluses we run in the near future will need to be socked into reserves or spent on one-time rather than ongoing expenditures. That means that Imagine is more likely to give bonuses next year than raises and we're likely to not add a Director of Services or other leadership position in the near future. Good thing I'm getting a vacation now.

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 learning log is a great tool for reviewing unusual events in order to learn what you can about an individual. It can be used to prevent something bad from recurring, encourage something good to keep happening or just learn a little more about a person you serve and how they respond.

It's designed with a client's frustrations in mind and makes a great companion to incident reports.

The process begins by recording the event and looking at the environment. Who was there? What happened? What did the person do? What worked well? What worked badly?

The act of filling these columns out invites caregivers and other members of someone's circle of support to consider what happened in view of the stimulus as well as the actions and to record what was done in response that was both successful and unsuccessful. It's an especially good tool for new clients with behavioral or safety challenges and a way for the witnesses to an event to prepare themselves and their colleagues to make better decisions in the future.

Spotlight on Veronica

Veronica's growth as an employee shows how important the right match is. She was a dedicated caregiver to Jake when she arrives, but she's really grown into her role with Linda.

Linda, like Jake, is really really easy to find a fondness for. And she's complicated. And she found a perfect partner in Veronica.

Veronica is great at engaging and great at disengaging and Linda needs both at times. It almost looks choreographed the way Veronica gives space and pulls close as she senses Linda's needs changing. She's been diligent on the details and ready for things to change dramatically at a moment's notice.

Thank you, Veronica, for growing with us.and your constant and constantly flexible care for our mutual friend, Linda.

-Submitted by Doug

Spotlight on Alan

What's that? Don't be fooled. It's just Alan. Look over there! Tap tap! It was you!

Alan is playful and impish. He likes pranks and he can be pretty relentless. You know what else he likes? You! In fact he loves you. He loves you so much.

Alan's sweetness mixed with mischief has made him one of our most popular new clients. In fact, when the idea first came up for the women of Kennedy House to host a Palentine's Day party the staff said "Oh, and Alan has to come. He has to!" That set off a whole round of girlish chatter about how sweet and dreamy he is.

The truth is, my friend Alan is all that and a bag of chips. He is active in church, has a rich social life (kind of easy when you go around hugging strangers and telling them you love them,) and is a great friend to his neighbors and staff. He eats well, takes walks and look out, y'all but he's kind of a gym rat too. Can you imagine when his muscles start bulging and he can open your jar of jalapeños? Lock up your daughters.

-Submitted by Doug

Birthdays & Anniversaries

Staff and Client Birthdays:


Kris A.

Alan L.


Janet E.

Isabella L.

Janett L.

Omar M.

Autumn B. 

Sally B.

Pearl P.

Elena D.

Jessica B.

Alexa G.

Jessica R.

Fidel Z.


Janet P. 7 Years!!!

Brenda L. 4 Years!!

Crystal Z. 3 Years!

Jessica G. 2 Years!

Maria V. 2 Years!

Stephanie E. 1 Year!

Perla L. 1 Year!

Nataly D. 1 Year!

Yulianna E. 1 Year!

Silvia P. 1 Year!

Mariana L. 1 Year!

Thank you for your commitment!

Imagine Supported Living Services
9065 Soquel Drive
Aptos, Ca 95003
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