Volume 1 Issue 3
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The Director's Corner

All six states in ASPIRE are now recruiting and enrolling youth! Arizona began in February, and Montana began in early March. ASPIRE has enrolled over 18% of our target enrollment of 2000. All Staff are very encouraged that we will meet that target by March 30, 2016. In addition to enrollment, each state continues to ready the delivery of interventions to the youth and families. The Formative Evaluation team is busy conducting its first site visits, keeping ASPIRE on track. Next month the ASPIRE team will meet in Salt Lake City, Utah to learn more about Native American cultures, practice ongoing case management and hear from parents of youth with disabilities. The ASPIRE Team enjoys being together, renewing friendships and strategizing.

To learn more about ASPIRE, contact your state’s coordinator. Follow us on Facebook at “aspirewest”. Keep up with us on Twitter at @aspirepromise.

Carol Ruddell
ASPIRE Project Director
March 15,2015

In This Issue:

The Director's Corner

ASPIRE Enrollment Update


North Dakota
South Dakota

Staff Highlight - Douglas Allred
Staff Highlight - Amy Armstrong

ASPIRE in 3 Minutes

ASPIRE Website

"Include Us in YOUR Newsletter!"

ASPIRE Partners

Contact Us

State Updates:

ASPIRE Arizona is very excited to announce the start of recruitment and enrollment. The first group of recruitment letters was sent out on February 27, 2015. Arizona ASPIRE staff began making phone calls to eligible youth and their families and have several enrollments scheduled. The second wave of recruitment letters will be mailed in mid-March.

ASPIRE Arizona staff will continue to meet with schools, agencies, and community organizations to share and promote ASPIRE. Just recently, staff presented to the Navajo Nation Diné Board of Education, and the Board was very excited and supportive of the ASPIRE Project. In the upcoming week, the Navajo Nation Diné Board of Education will present a letter of support for ASPIRE Arizona.

If you are interested in learning more about ASPIRE or have any questions, please contact us toll free at (844) 260-2890.

ASPIRE Colorado continues to recruit and enroll youth, statewide. The most recent mailing of recruitment letters were sent on March 6 and we are continuing to recruit youth and families in Adams, Denver, Arapahoe, Weld, Larimer, Pueblo, Colorado Springs, and Mesa Counties. This recruitment mailing will also include Boulder and Delta Counties.

Case Management is well underway with nearly 100 youth and families in ASPIRE services. Our ASPIRE Colorado Case Managers are busy learning resources in their communities to assist our youth and families connect with services.

Our second ASPIRE State Advisory Committee meeting is scheduled March 19, 2015. Contracts for Self-Determination, Financial Capability and Literacy Training, Parent Education and Training and Benefits Counseling are in the process of review.

The ASPIRE Montana team welcomed members of the ASPIRE Project Leadership staff and the Formative Evaluation team, earlier this month to review the Montana processes and finalize plans to start recruitment and enrollment. Montana plans to send out its first group of recruitment letters later this month.

The first ASPIRE State Advisory Committee Meeting will take place on March 20th in Helena. ASPIRE Montana is looking forward to receiving advice, feedback and direction from the Committee as the enrollment gets underway. Work continues to complete contracts for interventions that will be offered to the youth and families enrolled in the ASPIRE Services group. ASPIRE Montana will continue to promote across the state.

We are excited to begin enrollment and are ready to answer your enrollment questions. Contact us toll free at (844) 442-3167.

North Dakota
The ASPIRE North Dakota staff continue recruiting eligible youth from the central part of the state. To date, staff have enrolled 30 percent of the goal to enroll 50 ASPIRE participants in North Dakota. The third mailing of recruitment letters were sent out earlier this month to the north eastern part of the state which includes the city of Grand Forks and the surrounding communities. ASPIRE North Dakota staff met with some school and agency staff to share information promoting ASPIRE. Later this month staff will continue to meet with community members in the Grand Forks region.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has given permission to ASPIRE to conduct promotions and recruitment on the reservation. ASPIRE North Dakota will coordinate efforts with ASPIRE South Dakota staff to meet with community members, agency and school staff on the Standing Rock Reservation to share information and answer questions before recruitment letters are mailed to families.

We are excited to meet with youth and families assigned to the ASPIRE Services group to provide case management services . As staff get to know the families, their strengths and aspirations, they look forward to working with them to achieve their goals.

ASPIRE North Dakota has been coordinating efforts with agencies who will provide education and training to parents and youth. Some of the information parents and youth enrolled in ASPIRE services will have access to include self-determination, parent training, benefits planning, financial literacy and employment training. We will partner with these agencies to help youth and families meet their goals.

If anyone wants to learn more about ASPIRE or would like brochures to display, please contact us. Youth ages 14-16 who receive SSI are eligible. ASPIRE North Dakota can be reached at 1-800-233-1737.

South Dakota
ASPIRE South Dakota has achieved 50% of the goal of 120 enrollments. Thirty youth and families living in Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Sturgis, Box Elder, Pierre, Tea, Garretson, Brookings, Summit and Milbank are already receiving ASPIRE services. ASPIRE and the families are excited that they are developing goals and looking toward their future with hope.

In February, two evaluators from the ASPIRE Formative Evaluation Team visited the ASPIRE South Dakota staff in Sioux Falls.. The team’s purpose is to review recruitment and enrollment, process, and to conduct focus groups with the ASPIRE staff and with ASPIRE youth and their families.

The ASPIRE State Advisory Committee met for the first time at the end of February. The members were provided with background on the PROMISE initiative, a review of the ASPIRE Project, updates on recruitment and enrollment and an explanation of the ASPIRE Interventions.

We are pleased to join ASPIRE North Dakota to work with the Standing Rock Reservation. ASPIRE South Dakota has also received permission from the Oglala Lakota Nation Tribe. Recruitment and enrollment will begin in these areas in the coming months.

ASPIRE Utah’s case managers and enrollment specialists are developing useful strategies to manage recruitment, enrollment and case management. . Each day we wear multiple hats to coordinate these many activities. As with our fellow ASPIRE sites, we are learning and improving as we go. Recently, ASPIRE Utah surpassed the 100 enrollee milestone representing 40% of the target enrollment of 250.

In the immediate future, we’re preparing for site visits from both the ASPIRE Formative Evaluation Team and Mathematica Policy Research team who will conduct the long-term outcome evaluation. We look forward to meeting with these two teams and improving the work of ASPIRE Utah.

ASPIRE in 3 Minutes:

The ASPIRE Training Staff have put together a 3 minute promotional video explaining the ASPIRE Project.


ASPIRE Enrollment Update

As of March 15, 2015, ASPIRE has enrolled 380 youth and their families in the ASPIRE study.

Enrollment by State

Arizona ...............................................7
Montana.......................Awaiting Start
North Dakota ...................................17
South Dakota ..................................62

Include Us in YOUR Newsletter!

Do you connect with youth and their families through a newsletter, or know of an agency that does? Let us know if you would like information about ASPIRE or PROMISE to include in your newsletter. We will gladly provide you with a brief article and additional information. Simply email us at aspire@aspirewest.org or call 1-844-880-9712.
ASPIRE Website - www.aspirewest.org
The ASPIRE website is a great place to find resources for youth and their families in your area, as well as contact information for all six of the ASPIRE states, and information about ASPIRE and the PROMISE Initiative. If you received this newsletter from a friend or colleafue and would like to be on our mailing list, click on the "Subscribe" link to sign up for our newsletter.

Staff Highlight - Douglas Allred

Douglas Allred

Utah’s site coordinator, Douglas Allred, comes to ASPIRE after 4 years at the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation (USOR). Previous to his work in USOR as the director of a state vocational evaluation unit, he was the managing partner and co-owner of an evaluation firm conducting business and research in 17 states. For nearly 15 years in multiple business enterprises, he tailored services and products to local, national and international entities. He participated in more than 20 private, state and federally funded research projects.

Douglas also developed more than 20 video-based training programs for working with children and students with disabilities. As the lead scriptwriter in designing materials for care givers of children who are deaf and blind, he and his colleagues received a “Telly Award.”

As a professional teacher, he lived and taught oversees as well as instructed in the university and public school settings. He received the “Master Teacher Award” for his work with economically disadvantaged students and non-native English speakers in the nation’s 5th largest school district.

Douglas particularly enjoys his volunteer activities with refugees, incarcerated youth, and animal rescue.

Douglas Allred
Site Coordinator - ASPIRE Utah

Staff Highlight - Amy Armstrong

Amy Armstrong

Amy Armstrong is the Site Coordinator for ASPIRE North Dakota. She has worked at the North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities (NDCPD) located at Minot State University since 2001. In addition to managing ASPIRE, she is the Project Director for the North Dakota Adult Student Transition to Education Program (A-STEP) funded by the US. Department of Education. A-STEP is an inclusive college education program, located on the campus of Minot State University, for students with intellectual disabilities; focusing on career skills, social relationships, independent living skills and academics.

Since joining NDCPD in 2001, Amy has worked on various projects including the ND Medicaid Infrastructure Grant (MIG), the ND Money Follows the Person Housing Project, the ND Real Choice Systems Change Grant – Rebalancing Initiative and the North Dakota Right Track Program. She is also heavily involved in North Dakota’s Employment First Initiative and the state’s APSE chapter. Prior to working at NDCPD, she was an elementary school teacher and early childhood education center director.

Amy holds two Bachelor of Science in Education degrees and a Master of Education concentrating in Special Education, from Minot State University. While not a native North Dakotan (her husband is) she has lived in Minot, ND with her husband, two teenage boys and two dogs (a yellow lab and German wirehair) for 15 years. When not working she stays busy attending her sons’ athletic events, enjoys home remodeling projects and short North Dakota summers fishing on Lake Sakakawea.

Amy Armstrong
Site Coordinator - ASPIRE North Dakota

ASPIRE Partners

ASPIRE is excited to partner with the following agencies:

If you would like to be included in our next newsletter, email us at aspire@aspirewest.org or call 1-844-880-9172.