|Volume 2 Issue 1|
Another year has come and gone! It’s hard to believe its 2016 already. As with most of us this time of year, the ASPIRE staff is reflecting on what has been accomplished, and what remains to be done.
ASPIRE is just over two years old. In that two years, a lot of work has been done: Staff have been hired and trained; procedures for recruitment, enrollment and case management have been finalized and implemented; contracts have been completed for ASPIRE interventions; over 1400 youth and families have enrolled; Colorado and Utah have completed their enrollments; Staff are sharing, and families are learning about resources and supports. Everyone – youth, families and staff can be very proud of what’s been accomplished.
Looking forward, there’s still a lot to do! There are just 3 months remaining to enroll 600 more youth in Arizona, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. Once enrollment is complete, ASPIRE staff will shift to doing only case management. The youth and families will be asked to complete surveys about their ASPIRE experience. Working with community partners will increase to help youth and families access existing and ASPIRE services to become more independent. There’s so much still to do!
So as we begin 2016, ASPIRE is celebrating our work with youth, families, community partners and agencies. We look forward to even more in the coming two and a half years!
|January 15, 2016|
In This Issue:
On December 22, 2015, ASPIRE Arizona held their first ASPIRE Open House at the Cesar Chavez Public Library. Families from South Phoenix attended this open house to learn more ASPIRE, share their stories, and enroll on the spot. We would like to thank Sheila Levine for allowing us to use her facilities! Watch for additional open houses throughout the state of Arizona. Call (844)260-2890 to ask about upcoming ASPIRE Open House events in your area.
ASPIRE Colorado State Advisory Committee met last month. Case Managers discussed their specific caseloads with our stakeholder to generate conversations on systematic issues they are experiencing. Each Case Manager closed with a success story.
In December the ASPIRE Montana Advisory Committee gathered for its quarterly meeting and discussed the recruitment and enrollment plan, coordination of vocational rehabilitation services and employment opportunities for ASPIRE Services youth.
Later in January, Rural Dynamics, Inc. will be offering a financial planning and special needs trust training to our ASPIRE Services families in the Billings area. They will offer the same training in February to our ASPIRE Services families in the Great Falls area.
We are working with the Salish and Kootenai Confederated Tribes and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe on the ASPIRE Project and have invited youth living on the Flathead and Northern Cheyenne Reservation to participate. We are continuing our efforts to work with other tribes in Montana.
To learn more about ASPIRE Montana, please call toll free at (844) 442-3167 or visit our website at www.aspirewest.org. Don’t delay, the slots are filling up quickly.
The ASPIRE North Dakota team has been brainstorming ideas to increase parent and youth participation in self-determination and parent trainings. A brief questionnaire will be given to families to determine days of the week and time frames that work best with their schedules. They will also be informed that by participating in trainings, they will have a chance of winning a Walmart gift card.
ASPIRE North Dakota will soon be offering Financial Education and Capability training to ASPIRE youth and parents. In addition, ASPIRE case managers connect youth and parents to Benefits Counseling services to help families understand their youths’ SSI benefits and learn other important information.
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.
Barry Gravatt, ASPIRE Case Manager in Western South Dakota, shares his experiences as a case manager:
“The last couple of months have been especially rewarding with opportunities to reflect back on a year of case management with many families. The last year has allowed me to meet some amazing students and families from many different parts of Western SD. There have been many challenges and accomplishments over this time as well. I have assisted ten students with enrolling for services with Vocational Rehabilitation and five of those have participated in a paid work experience while in high school. I have helped facilitate ten students to attend Self Determination Training and worked with three families to develop a Benefits Summary Analysis for their benefits planning. One parent attended a Parent Training on advocacy and the IEP process. It was such a great experience to later be invited to her son’s IEP where she utilized those skills to advocate for the classes he wanted.. I am looking forward to sharing more of these moments and the journey ahead.” Barry Gravatt
ASPIRE parents and families are participating in the many interventions! They are attending Financial Education and Capability trainings to understand budgeting and planning for both the present and the future. They are also attending trainings to learn about the IEP Process, how to avoid power struggles with their child, navigating the transition to middle school or adulthood, and more. .
For the ASPIRE youth, we also have free training. Topics include: problem-solving skills, self-advocacy, safety, how to ask for reasonable accommodations, and more.. We hope to see more and more ASPIRE youth at these trainings.
As a reminder, the State Advisory Committee will meet on Tuesday, January 26, from 1:00 to 2:00 at the Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind in Salt Lake City.
As of January 15, 2015, ASPIRE has enrolled 1449 youth and their families in the ASPIRE study.
Enrollment by State
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|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.|
Susan Burleigh is the ASPIRE Case Manager on the Western Slope in Co. She is from Grand Junction. She received her MSW at Colorado State University and worked in community mental health for almost 13 years obtaining her Clinical License in 1997. During this time she had the opportunity to teach Psychology classes at Colorado Mountain College as well as teach classes, assess needs and provide therapy for the Driving with Care Program. In 2007, Susan left mental health and became a Rehabilitation Counselor where she was fortunate to work in many different offices around the state.Susan enjoys all kinds of sports and activities including skiing, she most enjoys walking with her dog PAC. She would like to someday return to teaching.
Staff Highlight - Jennifer Winders
Jennifer was born and raised in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She received her Bachelors degree in Psychology at the University of Northern Colorado and her Masters in Social Work from Colorado State University. A majority of her career has been in child welfare so ASPIRE is a new experience for her.
When not working, Jennifer spends time with her husband of 18 years, and two kids. Her son is fourteen and enjoys playing baseball and hockey. Her daughter is eleven and is a great swimmer and artist.
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