Volume 2 Issue 2
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The Director's Corner

It’s winter!  Snow is piling up in many of the ASPIRE states.  Even in Arizona, the temperatures have been dipping to freezing.  Families are struggling with their heating bills, getting to the grocery and pharmacy, and accessing many other critical services.

ASPIRE Case Managers know their communities, and what is available.  The ASPIRE staff share information on the H.E.A.T programs, to assist the families to keeping the heat on in their homes. They are providing help so families can get the food or medications they need. With tax season coming soon, ASPIRE Case Managers are telling the families about the V.I.T.A programs to assist with tax preparation. 

As ASPIRE staff meet with youth and families each month, they listen carefully to the families’ needs.  Then they provide information to help those needs to be met.  This is just one essential piece of how the Case Managers are implementing ASPRIE and working with families.

On a side note – In January, ASPIRE began a monthly prize drawing for youth and families who go to workshops or trainings for the self-determination, parent and financial interventions.  Twelve names are drawn each month and a $25 gift card is awarded to each.  So congratulations to the January winners!   I hope more and more youth and families attend in February!

Carol Ruddell
ASPIRE Project Director

February 15, 2016

In This Issue:

The Director's Corner

Enrollment Ends April 2016

ASPIRE Enrollment Update

North Dakota
South Dakota

Staff Highlight - Becky Daigneault
Staff Highlight - Fa'a Apelu

ASPIRE Website

Follow ASPIRE on Facebook

"Include Us in YOUR Newsletter!"

ASPIRE Partners

Contact Us

State Updates:

ASPIRE Arizona currently has 597 teens and their families enrolled. Teens and their families who choose to enroll have the opportunity to learn how to further their education and employment. The chance to enroll in ASPIRE Arizona will end on April 30, 2016! Don’t miss this opportunity. Call (844 )260-2890 to learn more and enroll in the project.

ASPIRE Arizona has two upcoming open houses where youth and families can learn about ASPIRE and enroll in the project, if eligible. Come join us at one of the following ASPIRE Arizona Open Houses:

February 6, 2016 - Phoenix (AZ Department of Education)
February 10, 2015 – Tucson (Quincie Douglas Center)

Don’t miss out on this opportunity. Call (844)260-2890 to learn more and enroll in the project, or RSVP for one of the Open Houses.

Several ASPIRE Colorado youth are graduating high school in May. Post-Secondary education and employment are the main conversation points when Case Managers meet with the youth and family members. From Interest inventories to college campus tours, the ASPIRE Colorado Case Managers are introducing youth to career pathways.

Frank Carcellero, a Case manager shares this story of one ASPIRE youth, Mary. Mary had dropped out of school for over a semester. She was frustrated because she’d not found success in three different high schools and had given up. Together, Mary and Frank investigated her options for getting back into school. She’s now enrolled in high school, and with the necessary supports, is succeeding in her academic classes. Way to go, Mary and Frank!

The month of February brings us closer to the end of our recruitment and enrollment process in Montana. To date we have enrolled 123 of 130 targeted youth and families. There are only a few slots left! If you would like more information about ASPIRE Montana, please contact us toll free at (844) 442-3167 or visit our website at www.aspirewest.org. Don’t delay, the slots are filling up quickly.

We have also been working to hire a new case manager in eastern Montana. Lenny Brown, our case manager in the Billings area, has moved on to new endeavors. Interviews were held the first week of February and we are hoping to have a new case manager in place within the next few weeks.

Rural Dynamics, Inc. held its first Financial Planning and Specials Needs Trusts training for ASPIRE families on January 18th in Billings. They will be holding another training for ASPIRE families in the Great Falls area in February.

Coming up in March, Self Determination Training will be offered to ASPIRE Services families living in the Billings area. ASPIRE Services families who attend any of the trainings sponsored by the ASPIRE Project will have a chance to win a $25 gift card.

North Dakota
Following promotional activities and recruitment in the Turtle Mountain reservation area, ASPIRE North Dakota finished enrolling all 50 ASPIRE youth!

The ASPIRE North Dakota team has continuously worked for increased participation in parent and youth self-determination trainings. We asked the families for the best day and times to attend. The team is now scheduling trainings to accommodate families’ preferences as well as brainstorming how to increase benefits/incentives for families’ to attend. Case Managers have been connecting families with a Benefits Specialist to aid families in understanding their youths’ SSI benefit including redetermination at age 18, how work will affect SSI and other considerations. ASPIRE North Dakota is also coordinating with North Dakota Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (ND DVR) to connect youth to their 2016 Summer Work Experience program as well as to the new WIOA projects working with younger youth who are interested in employment. The Rehab Services, Inc. Transition Program in Minot is one of those WIOA programs contracted by ND DVR. Parents of youth have been encouraged to take advantage of stipends available to attend the upcoming 2016 Parent Involvement Conference in Fargo, ND, March 3rd - 5th.

Recently, ASPIRE held an Advisory Committee meeting providing stakeholders. Stakeholders were updated on recruitment and enrollment and discussed collaboration with ASPIRE, success stories, 12 month surveys and ASPIRE interventions.

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
In January, South Dakota ASPIRE enrolled the 120th ASPIRE youth which completed the enrollments for our state as part of the six state consortium. Now the Case Managers can completely focus on their work with the ASPIRE Services youth and family members. Since we started the enrollment process in October of 2014, many of the youth and their parents have gotten to know more about the ASPIRE interventions and have begun learning about transitioning into the adult world. Some of the more recent enrollees are just getting to know their Case Manager and beginning to learn more about the ASPIRE interventions as well as the services and resources that are available for transition age youth with disabilities in South Dakota.

One resource for youth who have completed high school and are age 18-21 is Project Search. Project SEARCH is a unique business-led transition program for students with disabilities. It provides students who want to work a chance to explore careers and develop transferable job skills. The ultimate outcome is to have independent adults working in sustainable employment. In South Dakota there are four Project Search Sites. The locations are Aberdeen at the Avera St. Luke’s Hospital, Brookings at South Dakota State University, Sioux Falls at the Avera McKennan Hospital and the most recent location is Rapid City at the Rapid City Regional Hospital. If you are interested in learning more about Project Search, speak with your ASPIRE Case Manager for more details.

A “shout out” this month to all of the trainers at the Independent Living Centers! Each location is up and running its self-determination classes. Many of the youth who now attend are returning because of the excellent instruction. At one site, a youth reportedly asks his mother almost every day whether that day is his self-determination class. How about that?!

We also want to give a BIG thanks to Jennie at Utah Parent Center and Scott at Fair Credit Foundation. They are working hard to collaborate with ASPIRE case manager to better inform and accommodate ASPIRE parents. A genuine team effort!

Finally, we express our appreciation to the ASPIRE State Advisory Committee. After hearing case managers share a number of their recent experiences, committee members offered their insights and organizations’ resources to further enhance the quality of services offered to our youth and families.

ASPIRE Enrollment Update

As of February 15, 2015, ASPIRE has enrolled 1540 youth and their families in the ASPIRE study.

Enrollment by State

Arizona .............................................597
North Dakota .....................................50
South Dakota ..................................120


Spread the Word - Enrollment Ends Soon!

Running OutEnrollment for ASPIRE will end April 30, 2016, and space is limited. ASPIRE Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota Utah have met their enrollment goals, but there are still openings in Arizona and Montana. Don't miss this chance to help a youth and their family achieve their school and work goals. Call their local ASPIRE office, or email aspire@aspirewest.org today.


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 colleague and would like to be on our mailing list, click on the "Subscribe" link to sign up for our newsletter.

Staff Highlight - Becky Daigneault

Becky Daigneault

Becky Daigneault is a Case Manager for ASPIRE North Dakota. She has over 15 years of experience in the field of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities as a family member, friend, Direct Support Provider, Service Coordinator, and Case Manager. Over the years, she has worked in various settings in North Dakota, Colorado, and New Mexico. Becky has a Master of Social Work degree, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and is currently receiving supervision hours towards an independent social work license. Becky has a 50% FTE on ASPIRE and also works for the North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities (NDCPD) as a Research Associate. Becky also serves as the leader of the center’s cultural and linguistic competence initiative, which started in the fall of 2014.

Becky is married to her college sweetheart and they have two daughters, ages 3 and 5. Becky and her family enjoy the outdoors and staying active. Since moving back to North Dakota, they have enjoyed being closer to Saskatchewan and being able to visit family and friends more often.


Becky Daigneault.
Case Manager

Staff Highlight - Fa'a Apelu

Fa'a ApeluFa’a comes to ASPIRE Utah from Juvenile Justice Services. He has a degree in Social Services from BYU Hawaii and he is fluent in 3 languages. He was raised in Samoa and tells wonderful stories of life there on the island.

Fa’a is married with 3 teenaged children. He enjoys reading, listening to music and visiting art galleries. ;

Fa'a Apelu
Case Manager

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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.