Volume 1 Issue 9
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The Director's Corner

Congratulations to ASPIRE Colorado for meeting the goal to enroll 400 Colorado youth in ASPIRE.

The remaining five ASPIRE states are still working to reach their enrollment goals.  How will each state do this?  ASPIRE needs all its Partners to encourage youth and families to enroll.  Who are ASPIRE’s Partners?  They are agencies such as Vocational Rehabilitation, Workforce or Medicaid.  They are local organizations and advocacy groups.  They are community members who live with disabilities and their families. 

So Partners – please invite ASPIRE to your staff meetings, events and fairs.  Share ASPIRE brochures with your staff and your clients.  Host informational meetings to meet ASPIRE staff and learn more. 

Everyone, but especially the youth, benefit when ASPIRE reaches its target enrollment.  As a national study, Congress and federal agencies want to know what services help youth with disabilities more self-sufficient in the future.  You’ll find your State Coordinator’s contact information below.  Call today!  Working together, we all make a difference!

Carol Ruddell
ASPIRE Project Director

September 15, 2015

In This Issue:

The Director's Corner

ASPIRE Enrollment Update


North Dakota
South Dakota

Staff Highlight - Tynell Millner
Staff Highlight - Becky Kinyon

ASPIRE Website

Follow ASPIRE on Facebook

"Include Us in YOUR Newsletter!"

ASPIRE Partners

Contact Us

State Updates:

The ASPIRE Arizona team is busy with enrollments and case management as we move into September. All eleven case managers are busy in every corner of the state. We are maintaining our presence in the community by attending presentations, meetings and collaborating with various agencies who focus on transition age youth and family interventions. ASPIRE Arizona also continues to experience positive responses with tribal councils within the state.

The 2015 Arizona Department of Education Transition Conference at the Talking Stick Resort was fantastic! The conference presented two fabulous key note speakers. On Monday morning, Mario Arnauz Bonds spoke on “What Disability? Redefining What It Means to Be Disabled”. On Tuesday, Father Michael Oleksa spoke on “My Culture? Your Culture? Our Culture? Their Culture?” The ASPIRE team represented well at the conference with our staff assisting with conference preparations, conference staffing as well as two splendid presentations.

Please welcome Nancy Chavarin to the ASPIRE team. She will be a great asset to our team and we are happy to have her with us. If you have questions, would like more information, or to schedule an informational ASPIRE presentation, please contact us at (844)260-2890.

ASPIRE Colorado reached our targeted enrollment goal of 400 youth and families during the month of August! We are in 18 counties across Colorado: Adams, Alamos, Arapahoe, Boulder, Delta, Denver, El Paso, Fremont, Garfield, Jefferson, Larimer, Logan, Mesa, Montrose, Morgan, Pueblo, Rio Blanco, and Weld. Thank you to our case managers who worked so hard to complete this very difficult task ahead of schedule!

PEAK Parent Center will begin facilitating the Parent Training and Self-Determination Training this month. The first training will take place in Colorado Springs.

ASPIRE Colorado will also be hosting our State Advisory Committee this month. The ASPIRE Advisory Committee will be discussing the relationship between Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, ASPIRE and Workforce Opportunity Innovation Act (WIOA).

Enrollments numbers have just reached 50 in Montana, as the ASPIRE Montana staff work diligently to schedule meetings with youth and families across the state.  Montana will continue to recruit in Flathead, Yellowstone and Missoula County in September, and will soon add Lake County to the mix, with the recent approval from the Salish and Kootenai Confederated Tribes to recruit on the Flathead Indian Reservation.  ASPIRE Montana is also working this month to get meetings set up with the Crow and Northern Cheyenne Tribes in south eastern Montana.

Several contracts were signed this past month with organizations that will be working with ASPIRE Montana to provide services to youth in the ASPIRE Services Group.  Parents, Let’s Unite for Kids (PLUK) will be providing parent education and training; Rural Dynamics, Inc. will be providing financial education and capability training; North Central Independent Living Services, Living Independently for Today and Tomorrow, Summit Independent Living Center and Montana Independent Living Project will be providing self-determination training.  Montana is in the process of contracting for Benefits Counseling services.  ASPIRE is excited to work with these outstanding organizations as we strive to help our youth and families explore resources, access services and reach their goals.   

ASPIRE Montana is also preparing for its next ASPIRE Advisory Committee Meeting, to be held on Friday, September 18th.

If you would like more information on ASPIRE Montana, please contact us toll free at (844) 442-3167.  We look forward to hearing from you!    

North Dakota
ASPIRE North Dakota has enrolled 37 youth with the goal of enrolling 50 by March of 2016! In August, our largest wave of recruitment letters were sent to families in the Fargo area. This month, ASPIRE staff have been contacting families and conducting enrollment meetings with interested youth and families in the Fargo region.

Parents and youth from Minot, Bismarck and Grand Forks regions attended Self-Determination and Parent Training sessions late this summer. Many youth and their families are also meeting with Benefits Counselors to discuss SSI and other benefits and how working affects their benefits. Students are back to school so Case Managers are meeting with youth in the schools again, and working on coordinating services, supports and goals setting with students’ IEPs.

Recently, ASPIRE North Dakota staff attended a two day “Bridges Out of Poverty Training” that was very beneficial and included some great ideas to consider when working with families. ASPIRE staff also participated in Minot's largest volunteer coordinated day of giving on Friday, Sept. 11th called the Minot “Magic Day of Giving.” This was a fun day to give back to the community and make the city a cleaner place!

As always, please contact ASPIRE North Dakota to learn more, request information or schedule a meeting. We are happy to meet with you! Please contact ASPIRE North Dakota at (800) 233-1737.

South Dakota
ASPIRE South Dakota is moving closer to the target enrollment of 120 youth. Total current enrollments are at 92. Recruitment and enrollments are currently occurring in Mitchell, Yankton, Madison, Hot Springs, Deadwood, Lead, Belle Fourche, Spearfish and surrounding areas. When 120 youth are enrolled, enrollment comes to a close. So if you know of any youth in these locations or anywhere in the state that might be eligible for ASPIRE, please suggest that they contact the South Dakota ASPIRE office by calling 1-800-224-5336.

It is important for ASPIRE youth to understand the services which are available to help them as they move through high school and transition into the adult world.  The South Dakota Transition Services Liaison Project (TSLP) sponsors Transition Forums throughout the state from September to November. The forums are geared toward youth, family members and teachers to help them become acquainted with adult agencies and to learn what services those agencies provide and how to access them.  If you or someone you know are interested in attending a Transition Forum, contact the TSLP staff at 1-800-224-5336 to register or an ASPIRE staff person for more information.

To learn more about ASPIRE in South Dakota, call 1-800-224-5336.

Recently, we said farewell to our friend and colleague, Rachon Duran, as she advances in her field of interest. We wish her well.

One of the essential components of the ASPIRE project is self-determination training for youth. Starting in August, youth began enrolling at the Salt Lake Independent Living Center and Ability 1st Utah (Provo) to receive this valuable service. The number of youth who participated in the intake interview with a self-determination trainer were few, but we are happy to get this important service started. The Red Rock Center for Independence in St George is also conducting intake interviews with youth in preparation for self-determination activities.

Beginning in September, the Utah Advisory Committee will be formed with partner agencies and organizations. The purpose of this committee is to provide advice and feedback on the implementation of ASPIRE Utah as well as to ensure that programs and services are accessible to ASPIRE youth and families.

For additional information on ASPIRE Utah, especially enrollment, we invite you to contact us at (844) 880-9171 toll free.

ASPIRE Enrollment Update

As of August 15, 2015, ASPIRE has enrolled 1113 youth and their families in the ASPIRE study.

Enrollment by State

Arizona .............................................327
North Dakota .....................................37
South Dakota .....................................92

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Watch for activities in your area.

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 - Tynell Millner

Debi Gilsoul

Tynell Millner is the Enrollment Specialist for the ASPIRE South Dakota team. She works for Black Hills Special Services Cooperative in Pierre, South Dakota. Tynell also provides case management for youth in central South Dakota as well as self-determination training for youth across the state. Prior to working for ASPIRE, Tynell worked for the Pierre School District in the Native American Education department where she helped high school students work toward high school graduation and plan for post secondary education.

Tynell lives in Pierre, South Dakota with her new husband, step son, and their dog. She enjoys spending time with her family and spending summers on the Missouri River. She loves sports and participates in softball, volleyball, and bowling leagues. Tynell was a member of the University of Minnesota-Morris women’s basketball team from 2005-2009.

Tynell Millner
Enrollment Specialist

Staff Highlight - Becky Kinyon

Becky KinyonBecky Kinyon is a case manager in Denver, Colorado. She received her master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Northern Colorado. Becky also has earned bachelor degrees in Business Finance and Marketing from University of Colorado and a bachelor degree in Audiology, Speech, and Language Sciences from University of Northern Colorado.

In her personal life Becky loves to be with her friends and family, especially her nieces and nephews. She is known as everyone’s favorite aunt. Becky also loves to travel, play golf, and go out. Becky is also involved in her community, volunteering for the Down Syndrome Association and volunteering with her church.

Becky Kinyon
Case Manager

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 on Facebook:

For links to articles and information to help youth and families, follow us on Facebook.


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.