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Imagine That...October 2023

In Loving Memory of Damien Tucker-Beck

Help support Imagine!

In Memory of Damien!

Eliot and Joel walking downtown Santa Cruz!

Bri and Melissa getting inked by Gregory at the Gathering Event!

Alan at Leo's Haven!

Alan with Ryan and Jo the horse!

Alan and Jo the horse!

Alan at the Jean Kvamme Center!

Scott, Alan, and Kiara swimming on a hot day!

Linda at the Barbie Movie with Jessica!

Eliot having a great day!

Eliot practicing with his guitar!

Eliot creating new music!

Jake stretching his alpha!

Wendy and Jimena being completely serious at All-Staff Training

Slightly less serious Elizabeth, Janet and Bernice

Remembering Damien

Linda Arranging Flowers

Jake with his new team. Don't bet your whole savings on Uno with these sharks.

Yeah, we bowl. Alan and Jake burn the lanes.

Alan and Perla painting

Red Carpet Both Ways

Dear Imagine friends and family,

The film festival returns October 25th. We're excited to bring this premier event back to Santa Cruz and hope you'll join us. You can buy your tickets now, just click RIGHT HERE. If the price seems steep, please reach out to me or Patty. We know people. Caregivers accompanying people with disabilities get in free. In addition to the short films, other standard features are great company, music and food. We really thank our Partner-level sponsors, Aveanna Healthcare and Santa Cruz County Bank. If you see them, pass along our gratitude and maybe add some of your own. It's the sponsorships that allow us to keep this event going in good financial times and harder ones.

The attached calendar at the bottom has a free CrossFit training for 10/25. Me, I'm choosing the film festival.

We were glad to be there with his family and friends when we gathered to Send Damien forward with love. Some of his oldest friends and family were there along with his Imagine Caregivers and friends and even some of the Imagine community who didn't know Damien in life, were there to eat pizza and cake in his honor, dressed like goth fools. I don't believe D'd have had it any other way. You can see pictures in a special section below, curated by Norma.

With substantial direct care compensation having increased substantially this year, we are having, as you'd expect, a better time recruiting. It makes a big difference to have our staffing above crisis levels, because we can focus better on our clients. When staff are stretched and substitutes are rife, maintaining a focus on what we do with our time together is a matter of focus and commitment. As we get closer to having all the people we need, we only have to avoid complacency to put the client and his, her or their program first. This is following up on the May Newsletter to discuss the progress and evolution of the plan

As discussed in this newsletter in May, we think that the best approach to maintaining a positive, empowering and person-centered culture around our clients is through improving how the Facilitators function within the team. We are doing the Facilitators' annual performance reviews throughout October and into November and are hoping to build on a little bit of progress that's been made.

As we have throughout the year, we are working on three primary improvements. We want to support our facilitators to perform better at:

Person-centeredness: Most Imagine Facilitators care deeply about each of their clients and, given time, know them well. We are using a variety of approaches to make the part of that intimacy that isn't chemical more systematic. Using available person-centered thinking tools in conversation with stakeholders, during team meetings and with the client; and then using those tools in everything from the client binders to the ISP to the quarterly and annual reports can help keep the program flexible and vigilant as the the individual we serve changes through their lifetime. We are supporting this goal through new accountability provided by the Lead Facilitator, through better, deeper and more intensive training in Person-Centered Thinking and through the upcoming evaluations.

Prioritization: When Facilitators have to respond to emergencies, those are sometimes but seldom a health event or behavioral episode that is just part of the deal of doing what we do. The overwhelming majority of the time, the emergencies that take up our time are the products of thin staffing, undelivered or underdelivered training, or slow follow up on changes or concerns. We are hoping to help our Facilitators to avoid unnecessary distractions from the joy of the work and the experience of the clients through an audits conducted monthly by Heather, the Operations Manager on the maintenance of key documents and monitoring client budgets and separate audit by Patty of documented trainings and feedback. Through the evaluation process, we intend to offer extra training to help each facilitator with any part of this process that they have challenges approaching.

Responsiveness: This part is almost part b to the above, but over the years a solid minority of Imagine Facilitators have had a history of complaints regarding their responsiveness to phone calls and concerns and ideas from staff, clients and/or families. Failing to connect with people who have concerns takes away an important tool in addressing problems before they become crises, of knowing where attention is needed and for maintaining constructive relationships with other members of the support circle. We don't yet have an easy way to audit this yet, but we continue to train around it and to solicit feedback on how your other feedback is going. Where we know there are challenges, we do request that Facilitators cc me in interactions so I can monitor the flow.

An important thing to remember is that almost every Facilitator who has been successful at Imagine has shared at some point that "it took me at least a year to really understand the job." It's a complicated job in that you manage for 6 individuals separate teams of 3-8 people with lots of other humans providing a stream of input. We don't see value on compromising the purpose or broad functions of the position, but we do recognize that most new Facilitators won't be proficient in their first year. We are hoping that through accountability, encouragement, support and a willingness to reassign people who don't seem able or willing to do the job well, that we can build a robust team that brings positive change for our clients, caregivers and families through a team of Facilitators proud of their work.

How you can help: Feedback is really important, especially where you see improvement. It's important for the senior management to know how the Facilitators are doing and where they may struggle. But because our newest tool focuses on accountability through audits, a lot of their feedback will be negative anyway. Where I have confidence in all of our Faciliators is that they work hard and are here to help. So let us know whenever and however you see them fail but please take the time to also let us know where they succeed.

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

The Redwood Chronicles has Jake's article about the Gnu.

Patty Lopez, Imagine's Assistant Director of Human Resources explains the process of how to get help after an on-the-job injury and some rascal put graffiti at the bottom encouraging caregivers to think ahead toward their holiday plans.

I left Jen's explainer in because we are still getting questions.

The Service Sector and Person-Centered Evolution columns get a one month hiatus because Susan's column used the last of our moveable type.

In Community Connections, Susan planned a meeting

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 Charlie and Sidney.

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

The Redwood Chronicles

I like the Gnu. The Gnu is also called a wildebeest. They live in the African Serengeti Plains, the Savannah. I like the blue wildebeest or the brindled gnu because it has slate grey color and it has black stripes. They have horns, hooves, and a long tail and is the largest can be 600 pounds. They are herbivores and drink a lot of water. I like the Gnu because it lives in Africa. 

-Submitted by Jake Wilkins

[Ed. Moral: If you have horns, hooves and weigh 600 pounds you can be a cool vegetarian.]

GNUn. An animal of South Africa, which in its domesticated state resembles a horse, a buffalo and a stag. In its wild condition it is something like a thunderbolt, an earthquake and a cyclone.

Submitted by Ambrose Bierce, posthumously

Damien's Celebration of Life!

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

Hello all, 

I want to thank everyone that attended the All Staff meeting on Wednesday. I hope that these meetings continue to feel productive and informative. Please feel free to submit any topics that you might want to discuss, or any trainings you feel you would like to receive during these meetings. Our goal is to help everyone at Imagine feel united and supported by each other and by the Leadership and Administrative team at Imagine. 

One of the topics we discussed was how to report a work injury. Below is our Worker's Comp Injury Flow Chart. We want to urge you to report any injury you experience while on shift, even if in the moment you feel it is a minor injury. We want Imagine employees to feel safe and protected while they are on shift and letting us support you through an injury is a part of this. 

While we hope an injury doesn't happen to our employees, we know that accidents happen and that in our field, we can have client incidents that lead to injury. Reporting these incidents immediately and getting the proper care can help us asses the risk of this type of incident reoccurring and help us prevent future incidents to the best of our ability. Remember that work injuries will be denied at your Primary Care Physician's office. That is where Imagine can step in and guide you toward getting the proper care. 

We do our best to train our Facilitators and anyone working after hours in how to report a claim and support someone that has gotten injured after office hours and over the weekend. Please call the afterhours On-call number if you are injured on shift between the hours of 5pm and 8am on weekdays and over the weekend. 

Stress, burnout, and over exhaustion are correlated with injuries in the workplace. Please also remember that as an Imagine employee you have access to our Employee Assistance Program which gives you 5 free counseling sessions per incident. I want to urge everyone that feels stress or burnout at work to reach out to our EAP. 

As always, you are welcome to call me or email me to discuss training, Worker's Comp related issues, or Imagine's EAP. 

In Good Health, 

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

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




If you would like to read a full column, 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, October 4 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


October 2023


Succession Planning

Thursday 10/26/2023 at 6pm

Zoom presentation with Good Shepherd Fund


Stephanie Johnson and Ben Johnson (a family business started in Santa Cruz by their grandfather) will give a Zoom presentation, focusing on succession planning and related services offered by GSF. Ben will address the aspects of trustee appointment and Stephanie will focus on succession planning for conservatorship of person and/or estate, POA and care management. There will be about an hour of presentation, followed by time for questions.


We will also be inviting Santa Cruz SLS and Oceanside SLS parents/conservators to participate. A reminder will be sent out in the days ahead but get it on the calendar and let me know (not Imagine) if you plan to join us. Thanks! 


Susan Douglass, Imagine parent    

(831) 818-2501

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 Trailer bills are about done.

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 month, I want to reshare this 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 Sidney

To all the hardworking staff at Imagine SLS, our programs would be nothing without your dedicated support and care! It is my sincere pleasure to offer this special Spotlight on Sidney Moreno. Sidney began with Imagine in 2017. A lot has happened since then, and what has been 6 years past, feels like a decade. Sidney has weathered the storms of a complex program with grace, and each day she continues to show up no different than her first day of work all the way back in April of 2017. She has an indiminishable calm highlighted with genuine positivity. This is rare. Whenever I reach out to Sidney for any number of program needs or last minute changes, I am met with a friendly and prompt response. This makes my life easier and the client she cares for is much better off having her as a solid pillar of support and friendship. 


Sidney has helped form the integral backbone of our program. I am grateful for her presence in our lives that words cannot due justice. I only hope the unassailable energy and endurance she currently has lets her continue on as a team member for many years to come. 


-Submitted by Gregory

Spotlight on Charlie

I am naming this special spotlight on Charlie Tygiel, Charlie’s angels! I met Charlie in Pennslyvania in 2003 where he was living at a life sharing community for individuals with disabilities called Camphill Beaver Farm. He had recently graduated from Camphill Special School, Beaver Run and was in a transition program waiting to discover what his next big step would be as an adult. The first time I visited the Camphill community I thought it was magical. They had biodynamic gardens, therapeutic horses, produced plays, music in the afternoons, a weaving studio, art workshops, classrooms and much more. I knew right then Charlie was living his best life and was surrounded by amazing people who loved and cared for him. 


Charlie is dynamic in every sense of the word. His life is not always easy, however he himself is full of life. Sometimes he can be a flash storm moving rapidly over the landscape, and at other times, a ray of sunshine brightening the smiles of everyone in the room. He loves to laugh, animals of all kinds, reading books, up for any community outing, long drives, weaving, visiting with mom, and enjoys writing and painting. But most of all Charlie loves to connect with his family and friends old and new. Stop by Trader Joes and all the staff knows Charlie by name and will jump right into a conversation about his favorite guitar player, Raffi. His mom calls and Charlie’s hello is bursting with excitement. He wants you to know he has brother named Sam. If you are out walking your dog and see Charlie, be sure to say hello. 


I have witnessed Charlie’s personal magic unfold over the past 21 years. He brings people together in simple and often profound ways. He has friends from all over the world, Germany, Hungary, Brazil, Poland, England, Mexico and Ireland. Often these friends form deep connections with Charlie but also equally lasting friendships with each other. In some of the darkest times, Charlie has been surrounded by the love and support of any one of these special connections. He has powerfully and intently called forth angels in his life. We are blessed for Charlie has revealed to us a little sliver of Heaven here on Earth.  

-Submitted by Gregory

Birthdays & Anniversaries

Staff and Client Birthdays:

Noelia C.

Gilbert C.

Nataly D.

Olivia L.

Patty L.

Heather M.

Janet P.

Wendy T.

Norma V.

Kaelynn W.

Staff Anniversaries:

Raquel N. - 9 Years!

Kristin M. - 9 Years!

Tlayeli N. - 6 Years!

Vanessa M. - 6 Years!

Leslie R. - 6 Years!

Alexa G. - 4 Years!

Kena V. - 3 Years!

Allah R. - 3 Years!

John A. - 3 Years!

Myrissa V. - 3 Years!

Norma V. - 2 Years!

Silvia L. - 1 Year!

Linda T. - 1 Year!

Crystal Z. - 1 Year!

Thank you for your commitment!

Imagine Supported Living Services
9065 Soquel Drive
Aptos, Ca 95003
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and choose Imagine as the charitable organization to receive a donation of 0.5% of each purchase!

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