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Imagine That...April 2023

In Loving Memory of Dean Wilson and Dana Hackett
Help support Imagine!

The Ogden Sisters!

Abra & Sophie!

Hayley is ready for bowling!

Cindy on St. Patrick's Day!

Eliot playing guitar!

Eliot practicing guitar!

Jake and KiAna!

Hayley going for a ride!

Ryan and Jessica enjoying the amusement park! 

Sophie enjoying lunch!

Sophie learning how to play guitar!

Combo our Imagine pet!

Fare Well and Welcome

Dear Imagine friends and family,

With a lot of gratitude and more than a little wistfulness, we want to thank the Gomez Sisters for three combined years as Facilitators at Imagine. Yvette begins this very morning as a Service Coordinator at SARC. Anyone out there frustrated that you have no assigned Service Coordinator, cross your fingers. Daisy is with us another couple weeks and then will be chasing her bliss as an entrepreneur. If you, like me, really want to maintain that Daisy splendor in your life, here is a consolation: she plans to write a monthly column, Daisy's Garden, in this very newsletter. I'll have more to say about them in a special section below, but I do want to thank them up here for their good hard work, laughter and friendship given to us.

As we fret, so shall we celebrate. Two new Facilitators have joined the Imagine family. For those who worry about our ability to hire good Facilitators, I want to note that we had more good candidates than we had positions available.

Alina Parra, by coincidence you can read about her in February's staff spotlight, began her career at Imagine working at Summit and continued it in the original Broadway cast for Eliot's self-determination program. She has also spent six weeks supporting the Facilitators, myself, Patty, Heather and Jen in the office. Alina is bright in spirit and of mind, hard working and efficient. She is generous telling her own story and listening to yours. If you like dogs, you'll love Cleo and Mini, deputy Facilitators. I think she is the first person to have Facilitator and Oil Industry Financial Reporter on the same resumé.

Angie Castro is newer to Imagine and recently began with us as lead staff for Damien. She brings with her a great resumé of non-profit work in and outside our field, including with our friends at the Community Action Board, a favorite partner of Imagine, Second Harvest Food Bank and SVS. Like Alina, she comes across as cheerful, kind, eager and grateful for the new project.

With regard to the future Assistant Director of Services, The second round of interviews was postponed due to weather, power outages, a cold and hopefully not someone trying to tell us we're already top-heavy. The first second interview was last weekend and the last later today. If our eventual offer letter gets misrouted to Rudy Giuliani, I give up.

For those of you who doubted my sincerity last month: March returned to the usual level of difficulty despite power outages and the threat of tornadoes. This morning's newsletter is late because I was lazy this weekend.

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

Patty Lopez, Imagine's Assistant Director of Human Resources talks about change and working together through communication as management changes.

In The Service Sector, this month's topic is collegiality and mutual support among Facilitators.

In Community Connections, invites us all to lunch at the Crow's Nest, which is nice of her, promises a Zoom in May on Housing Authority two-room vouchers, a topic where I could use a lot more information and shares a very cool video about Common Roots Farm, well edited to remove the cussing any verité filming on a farm would feature.

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

The Person-Centered Evolution this month talks about choice and scarcity.

This month we have spotlights on Jessica and Elizabeth on Ryan's team and Christian from Cindy's.

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

Thank you, Daisy and Yvette


Daisy Gomez arrived at Imagine about half an hour before the COVID pandemic as our first Client Care Responder (CCR.) The position is now built on what we learned and she taught us. Throughout her time at Imagine she has been a pioneer, looking beyond the emergencies of the moment and thinking through how things can be done better. The Facilitator position, when one came open, was a natural fit.

Daisy's been a joy to work with. I have always appreciated her intelligence and unbreakable positivity. Even more, though, I appreciate her willingness to accept feedback and improve her performance. Her insight and deep thinking has been a real extra asset to Imagine.

Yvette came to Imagine later, with a deep resumé working in our field. She has been efficient, present and forward looking. Every Facilitator has to overcome the crisis-driven temptation to focus on the immediate and the clients whose teams are more crisis proven or less reliable. Yvette was exemplary in keeping her balance, focusing on each client and the future.

I've been very grateful for both the contributions of the Gomez sisters and the pleasure of knowing them. I am sure you all will join me in wishing them the very best. While both of them are stepping away from their positions with Imagine, expect to see them both around, including Daisy in future editions of this newsletter.

-submitted by Doug

Human Resources Corner

Hello all,

Happy Spring! I hope everyone is enjoying the sunshine. The month of March continued the trend of a transition period at Imagine. Some of you may have been notified by your Facilitator that we would be welcoming a new Facilitator to the team and saying goodbye to another who has left for an exciting new opportunity. We understand that change in leadership can bring challenging times while everyone adjusts to the new norm. I want to invite everyone to keep your spirits high and know that we appreciate everyone who is going though this change with us. 

We are working hard to make sure that our new Facilitator is well trained and understands how to best support staff with their clients and team organization. Staff that have been assigned a new Facilitator and supervisor should remember our open door policy. This means that if you have discomfort around speaking to your supervisor, you can feel free to speak to someone at Imagine you feel safe with including other Facilitators, Doug, or myself. 

I am certain that our newest Facilitator will be welcoming and supportive of any issue that you feel needs to be addressed. However, please never hesitate to contact anyone else you might feel comfortable speaking with on the leadership team. 

We sincerely hope that everyone working here enjoys a safe and positive environment. As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

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

Patty Lopez /dp

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

In March we managed to establish most but not all of the Facilitator Support Plans, individualized to the Facilitator's gifts, needs, challenges and clients. That work continues and, in April, we will also take advantage of the turnover to refocus on our culture of mutual support.

In order to balance among clients facing acute challenges and those that still deserve individual attention, between the short term and the future, it takes a lot of support. A Facilitator's job is hard anyway, with forces always pressing against balance. It takes a lot of support to stay upright and looking forward..

To that end, Facilitators (and Executive Directors and Assistant Directors of Services when we have one) need to be ready, willing and able to shift over and help one another. We'll be scheduling time this month to revisit how important and valuable that willingness to sacrifice can be to everyone, how to make it flow easier and the conditions that ethic weaker and stronger.




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 this very day, February 1 at 11AM. The Zoom link is right here.

See below for the family zoom that Susan Douglass planned and please join us if you are interested. Community Connections focuses on the family members of our clients but all are welcome. Email Norma or Me if you would like to attend.

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.

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

Imagine parent lunch by the seashore 

Friday 4/28 at noon

Imagine parents are invited (and Doug too!) to a lunch gathering, meeting upstairs at the Crow’s Nest at the harbor. We can sit inside or out, weather depending, bring a layer. Pencil that date in and look for a reminder notice ahead of the meet up.  Hope to see you there!

Housing Authority’s 2 room voucher program  

In May we will have a Zoom session on this topic, hosted by myself and Janine, Imagine BOD Chair. I’m hoping that parents who have had experience with the second voucher will join us, as well as those who wish to have it. Look for the date in the May newsletter. 

Common Roots Farm

I hope you will watch this wonderful, recently produced video of the farm with lots of great drone footage. It’s inspiring and beautiful!  

Farming season has begun at Common Roots and so has the volunteer program. Contact Lily Lucero, the farm coordinator at <> if you, your special needs loved one, or your friends might be interested in participating. They are a very welcoming and accommodating group, the satisfaction of contributing is uplifting, and new friends await you. 

Susan Douglass, Imagine parent     831-818-2501

Transparency At Imagine

Our next board meeting is scheduled for this Wednesday April 5. If you'd like to participate, please write to Norma so we know to include you. 

Our most recent form 990 is here. You can also find it on our website. Our catch-up audits are in process but not obviously on a catching-up trajectory.

We have completed our 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 independent audits. They are attached to the links in the year. We hope to finish the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 audits by mid-year.

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

-Submitted by Doug

Advocacy Corner

Legislative hearings continue on the Governor's budget. There will no doubt be efforts to add funding and those are pretty unlikely to get very far given the state's projected deficits. We encourage everyone to participate and advocate. We do anticipate that next year's budget discussions will be more critical and/or productive.

An exciting development in the current year budget is a pilot program in "Coordinated Family Support" (CFS.). This pilot program heralds the possibility of SLS-type services to individuals living in their family's home and may go a long way to address long-standing cultural disparities in the provision of support. I have been advocating for something like this for more than a decade and it is exciting to see work starting. Alas, timing is everything and it is hard to feel in this moment like Imagine should be developing a new line of services. But we'll be watching and more than happy to mentor anyone interested in providing this support to San Andreas Regional Center clients.

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

An important challenge in maintaining a person-centered culture is how to recognize choice in scarcity. The most obvious example is in staffing. We always give our clients a choice in who works with them, but except in those wonderful instances where we have more than one candidate for a single position, that amounts to a veto. Likewise with Facilitators, it is unusual that we can offer a choice. Someone has space in their caseload and, typically, nobody else does.

It's important to remember when the choice is yes/no that most people, in most of their transactions, choose from a variety, a spectrum or from individually invented aspirations.

Here are some things Imagine does to maximize our clients' choices when choices are limited:

  • We try to develop, prior to hiring, a profile of what each client likes in a caregiver. While we don't get to build humans from specifications, these profiles are important in recognizing a likely connection between an applicant and a client. They also can help us bring in a new person with awareness of and attention to the ways they fit and don't so the new caregiver has guidance in how best to be someone the client would choose.
  • We try to remember in times of scarcity how important choice is to all of us and get neither used to or complacent with limited options.
  • The connections between all people are the product of circumstance as much as choice. By keeping the caregiver-client relationship personal, aspiring and rigorous, we can help our clients live with people they might not have chosen but are happy to choose now.

-Submitted by Doug

Staff Spotlights on Jessica and Elizabeth

This month’s spotlight goes to not one but two of the most amazing Imagine staff that have been working with our client, Ryan Tracy. Elizabeth Ponce and Jessica Guzman have been more than a housemate and a lead staff to Ryan and treat him like family and advocate like such as well. We had a difficult month as Ryan moves out of his home of many years and also gains a new housemate after being familiar with his team, but these two women have made this transition seamless and have poured their heart into helping Ryan navigate uncertainty and change. Ryan and I as their facilitator were lucky to have been dealt such an amazing team and will continue to gloat about the amazing spirit these two have. I am honored to have been part of THEIR team as they made my job such a joy and I will forever be grateful for the support and true love they have for Imagine & Ryan as a whole.

-Submitted by Yvette Gomez

Staff Spotlight on Christian


I would like to spotlight Christian Thorson. Christian has been taking superb care of her client Cindy for a couple years now. She is innovative and comes up with different ways to create a more pleasant environment for Cindy. Christian and I really gelled when I became the facilitator and we both had the same vision for the quality of life and living for Cindy and her partner Malcolm. Over the past two years we worked together to replace their aged and broken furniture, repaint the whole interior of the home, buy homey decorations to create a soft, comfortable environment. Christian is always buying Cindy cute clothes and jewelry for her. She and the team work together to get her dressed up, hair and make-up done almost daily. She is so in-tune with Cindy that she has been a pivotal teammate in supporting me in my role to better Cindy’s care and life. Christian is an amazing team leader, role model and such a lovely individual. Cindy would not be where she is without your attention to detail, devotion, and love. Someone told me the other day that there are people that CAN do this job and that WILL do this job, but to find people who are MEANT to do this job and care for people with love and respect is something that you are born to do. That is Christian. Christian, it has been an honor to work with you and mentor you. I know that one day we will have offices next to each other because this is your calling.


-Submitted by Jessica Ortiz

Client Spotlight on Damien

Damien has been apart of Imagine for over three years, originally apart of our FHA program. Damien recently moved over to the supported living side of Imagine. We are so pleased to have him in our imagine family in any form, after all he is the dungeon master! If you're familiar with D&D (dungeons and dragons) you know what an honor that is. 

Damien has a love for video and card games. He can name any and all of the Pokemon characters and their strengths, as well as the Yu-Gi-Oh franchise! I’ve lost count of how many cards or dice are in his fantastic collection, but i'd say altogether were talking close to the quadruple digits. Damien takes pride in his collection and you can always find him at the local Straw Hut pizza shop deep into a game. He's always willing to add anyone new to the roster, and share a slice of his favorite cheese pizza. 

Damien also dabbles in the realm of the supernatural. If you should have any questions regarding these impressive skills and or need help expelling a ghost, or a duel monster Damien is your guy. 

2023 has been a year of great change for Damien, in the most positive way. We couldn’t be more proud of him, and are excited to see what the future holds for him. 

Birthdays & Anniversaries

Staff and Client Birthdays:

Angie U .

Sarah J.

Gloria R.

Stephanie S.

Yocelyn J.

Robert L.

Gregory B.

Alex S.

Ken C.

Staff Anniversaries:

Pearl P. - 11 Years!!

Mike S. - 10 Years!!

Becky S. - 9 Years!!

Drew C. - 6 Years!!

Elena D. - 6 Years!!

Sidney M. - 6 Years!!

Jose V. - 5 Years!!

Noe R. - 3 Years!!

Erika N. - 1 Year!!

Melissa P. - 1 Year!!

Isabel G. - 1 Year!!

Luis V. - 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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