Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting with the folks at the Denver Indian Center to bring them on board for using the IMAGO lessons with their participants. These were my impressions of the time we shared and what I am most excited about moving forward!

Denver in February is colder than you expect. I know that you’re thinking, “Rob, it’s Denver in winter… it seems like it would be as cold as you can expect”. While that may be true, it’s like when you see a moose in person for the first time and realize there’s just so much more than you imagined!

9:00 AM on Friday: Arrival. As always, I feel a bit nervous going in, which is weird because it almost always works out just fine. So far, I am the only person at IMAGO to really have interacted with the people I am going to be training today. Maybe that’s where the nerves come from. Knowing that I represent the work of several others and I’ll be the way this group judges that effort.

9:06 AM: After being greeted by the team at the Center and checking in for the day we discovered that the Internet was going to be out for a few hours this morning. “Not to worry” I tell them calmly, “this sort of thing happens all the time.” We often find that our partners experience technical troubles and always make sure we come prepared. Shortly after, our group settles into the large conference room down the hall and begin our day together.

We share stories of ourselves and each other and as we begin to get to know each other better.

I learned that Drew has very recently moved in with his girlfriend, that Jamal is a Penn State alum (which I don’t hold against him), that Sheralda assisted in conducting research on a variety of topics in her graduate level work, and for future stays that Tomas knows everything and anything that you could need to know about the city. Very handy.

Slowly, I feel the nerves I had walking in melt into the flow I have grown to know while conducting these sorts of meetings. It seems as if the rest of the team in the room feels the same as the conversations become more lively and familiar.

9:14 AM: We begin the work by talking about the different programs Denver Indian Center is offering their clients. Our initial goal is to get them set up on using our lessons and content in the Workforce Development area but Drew, in the effort to offer as much as possible to the community, invited the team on the Fatherhood classes side of things to see what they might be able to do with IMAGO access.

9:44 AM: 40 minutes in and we’re groovin’. In these sessions, we ask each of the new users to review our Lesson Index and take 5 minutes to mark the lessons they think are going to make the biggest impact with their participants.

In most cases, when working with our clients serving the Native American community, we tend to see a few trends. First is that the Work Skills are of highest importance. Second that the Life Skills and Industries are almost as important. And third that the Mindsets lessons (those on Social and Emotional Competencies) tend to be–the ring that binds them. That was definitely true with this team and after the 5 minutes I asked them to place their lesson titles up on the board.

10:02 AM: Now we could see the pattern emerge. Once we did that exercise we pulled out the common themes and placed lessons into each of those themes, which would then become the certificates we would build out for the Denver Indian Center to deploy for their participants.

Our group repeated the same with the Fatherhood classes, discovering several overlaps in content areas. What we landed on was to create a certificate for the Fatherhood classes and use those lessons to help draw any reluctant participants into the larger classes held by the Center. It’s a way to create a learning path.

10:51 AM: At the end of all that we went through, we did a quick platform recap before circling to feedback about our day. While our time had been brief, in general I felt the day was a wonderful example of the work that our dedicated partners have been doing for a long time.

I am proud to welcome the team at the Denver Indian Center to the IMAGO community of users and look forward to seeing the great work they are doing continue. To Drew, Sheralda, Jamal, Ryan, Tina, Shawna and Tomas, thank you. Your warm welcome and enthusiasm for your work made for a fantastic experience. I know that with your efforts, the community you serve is already well taken care of. For our part we will do our best to uphold that high level of engagement and look forward to a fun and exciting partnership together!

If you would like more information on the work we did in Denver or with any of our other partners, please feel free to give me a call, email, snail mail, or carrier pigeon (highly preferred)! I would love to share tips, best practices or general info on any of the subjects mentioned.