Volume 2 Issue 4
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The Director's Corner

PROMISE is at the half way point.  The Enrollment portion of PROMISE is coming to a close, and our time will now focus solely on case management.

The six PROMISE projects across the country are achieving their enrollment targets.  California, New York and Maryland have all met their targets.  ASPIRE, Arkansas and Wisconsin all plan to the finish by the April 30 deadline.  In total, there will be just over 13,000 youth enrolled in PROMISE.  Half will receive enhanced PROMISE services, and half will access the existing typical services in their communities.   With this large sample, the four federal agencies will look at the differences in the two groups. 

Are the youth in the Services group more likely to stay in school?  Pursue further education?  Gain employment?  Are the families more self-sufficient? Use fewer public benefits?

Thanks to the youth and families who have enrolled.  Joining PROMISE means you may be changing future services of other youth with disabilities.  Thank you to all the many partner agencies and organizations who work with PROMISE to provide services and support the youth and families, as well as this important research. 

Moving forward, PROMISE youth and families across the country will be participating in self-determination and parent training, financial literacy and benefits counseling as well as receiving individualized case management to support youth and families to pursue education and employment.  Additionally, the youth and families will participate in research surveys by both ASPIRE and PROMISE. 

All staff in PROMISE are very excited about this research study, and ready to move into the second phase of the five-year project!

Carol Ruddell
ASPIRE Project Director

April 15, 2016

In This Issue:

The Director's Corner

Enrollment Ends April 2016

ASPIRE Enrollment Update

North Dakota
South Dakota

Staff Highlight - Rebecca Goe

ASPIRE Website

Follow ASPIRE on Facebook

"Include Us in YOUR Newsletter!"

ASPIRE Partners

Contact Us

State Updates:

ASPIRE Arizona currently has 900 teens and their families enrolled. Teens and their families who choose to enroll have the opportunity to learn more about how to further their education and employment. The chance to enroll in ASPIRE Arizona will end on April 30, 2016!

Hurry and enroll, space is limited!!! Don’t miss out on this opportunity and call (844)260-2890 to learn more and enroll in the project.  

ASPIRE Colorado continues to enroll youth and families, statewide!

The ASPIRE Colorado staff is busy enrolling new youth and families into the project and providing case management services to our existing youth and families. With summer approaching, there are many conversations, between Case Managers and the ASPIRE youth and families, surrounding employment particularly, summer employment. The Case Managers, in all regions, will be providing a job club over the summer months, to explore and prepare youth for future employment opportunities.

Peak Parent Center is providing Parent Training, and Youth Self-Determination training to our ASPIRE families throughout the state. The next training will be in Grand Junction on April 16.

ASPIRE Colorado Youth and Family Financial Literacy and Training Documented Quote posted earlier last month with a closing date of March 31.

With several of the youth turning 18 or becoming employed, Ability Connections Colorado will provide CWIC (Community Work Incentive Coordinator) services to our youth in Colorado.

With the onset of spring season things are hopping along in Montana! ASPIRE Montana met its enrollment goal of 130 in March, and is continuing enrollment through the end of April, to help meet our consortium goal of 2,000 enrollments.

ASPIRE families living in the Billings area had the opportunity to participate in a four-part Self-Determination training; youth living in the Great Falls area will have the opportunity this month to participate in similar training. In addition, the ASPIRE State Advisory Committee met in March. One of the topics that was discussed was the strategy for our contractors to work together across interventions to capitalize on time and resources and maximize the attendance of trainings offered across the state to our youth and families.

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.

North Dakota
Even though ASPIRE North Dakota met its goal of 50 enrollments, we are continuing with enrollments to help meet the goal of 2000 total ASPIRE enrollees in all six states combined. ASPIRE North Dakota currently has 53 youth enrolled. This month, we are taking a look at previous enrollment waves to contact any interested youth and families for possible enrollments. If you know of youth interested in participating, please encourage them to contact us.

ASPIRE staff recently received training from a representative of the ND Department of Career and Technical Education (CTE). She shared many of the CTE resources including information about the R U Ready ND website, www.RUReadyND.com , which is an individualized tool for youth education and career planning. R U Ready develops and promotes career resources to align academic and career goals. It also provides professional development opportunities for educators and career professionals serving the needs of students and the workforce of North Dakota.

Youth self-determination and parent trainings are scheduled in two regions of the state and will be held on April 9th and 16th. A training was held for Minot area youth and families on March 31st. Youth were excited and engaged in hands on activities. Parents stayed a few minutes after to continue to discuss important topics and get answers to their questions from Pathfinder Services of ND. In addition to these trainings, Case Managers continue to engage youth and parents in creative ways to ensure a good working relationship and establishment of community connections.

May will be a busy month. ASPIRE staff will be attending an All ASPIRE training in Phoenix the first week. ASPIRE formative evaluators, Catherine and Becca, will be doing a site visit in Minot on May 16th and 17th, which will include a family focus group meeting. A two-day financial literacy training will be held on May 18th and 19th covering the “Four Cornerstones of Financial Literacy” curriculum. This training will help to prepare the financial literacy intervention partners, which will include ND Centers for Independent Living and other interested stakeholders.

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
One of the opportunities available to ASPIRE youth in South Dakota is the Youth Leadership Forum. YLF is a week-long leadership training and career awareness program for high school students with disabilities. YLF enables young adults to learn from each other and from successful adults with disabilities who are recognized leaders and role models. Students have to complete an application process and be chosen by the selection committee. As part of that application process one ASPIRE student wrote this inspiring letter.

“I feel that I am qualified to be a delegate to YLF because I feel that I can make a difference. I have been told by various people that I am an inspiration. I never back down when things become hard. I do the best I can to participate in everything like everybody else. When someone tells me I can’t do something, I do just the opposite and try out whatever it is. Growing up I used to get bullied for being handicapped and not able to do everything exactly like everyone else. But you see, that’s the thing, I love being different because that makes me the person that I came to be. When I can’t do something exactly like everyone else, I find a different way to try things. I never back down on anything. The reason I want to attend YLF is to tell kids like me, my story and how I overcame obstacles to get where I am today, to tell them that it is possible for what they are trying to do. It may take time, but they will find a way and last but not least, to never give up.”

As it is widely reported, enrollment season is again open in Utah for the last and final time until April 28. The most recent enrollments have come from the Richfield area, Cedar City, St George and points in between. All interested and eligible youth and their guardians are encouraged to contact us for more information at (801) 619-3019. You can also visit us online at aspirewest.org.

This past month, our case managers received valuable and useful information from several community service providers. The presenters included Dinah Weldon from the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) as well as Lateesha Clark and Nycole Tylka representing the Department of Workforce Services (DWS).

Speaking of DWS, Lateesha and Nycole will soon become our colleagues as our oversite agency – the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation – will move “lock, stock and barrel” under the administrative management of DWS. We at ASPIRE anticipate this move will enhance the services our ASPIRE case managers can offer their youth and families.

In ASPIRE, we receive frequent and regular training and input to hone our skills. One way this is accomplished is through an onsite visit by a team of experienced evaluators. In March, the evaluators conducted interviews, reviewed procedures and documents, as well conducted focus groups with staff and ASPIRE families. We’re happy to report that everything went off without a hitch! We now look forward to receiving the evaluators’ report and feedback.

ASPIRE Enrollment Update

As of April 15, 2015, ASPIRE has enrolled 1919 youth and their families in the ASPIRE study.

Enrollment by State

Arizona .............................................900
North Dakota .....................................53
South Dakota ..................................128


Enrollment is in the FINAL STRETCH!

Running OutAs of today, there are only two weeks left in the enrollment period for the ASPIRE case study, and only 81 openings available. Enrollments have opened up in all six ASPIRE states, but you need to hurry to meet the April 30th Deadline. 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.

You can also view ASPIRE related events in your state by going to your state page, then clicking on the upcoming events link on the menu.


Staff Highlight - Rebecca Goe

Rebecca Goe

Rebecca Goe is a member of the ASPIRE evaluation team. She has worked as a Research Associate at the University of Montana Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities since 2010. Currently, she is completing the course work for a Masters of Public Health from the University of Montana where she also earned a MA in Sociology. While at the Rural Institute Rebecca has worked on a wide range of research and evaluation projects. She has facilitated a weight loss program for women with mobility impairments; helped develop a violence prevention program for people with intellectual disabilities; and worked on several projects examining the delivery of Vocational Rehabilitation services in rural areas. Rebecca enjoys the variety that her job offers and is passionate about using research to help eliminate barriers to full community participation for people with disabilities.
In her free time Rebecca enjoys spending time in Montana’s great outdoors with her husband, son and two dogs.  She is super excited about the backyard chickens joining the family in the next few weeks and is only slightly worried that the dogs might think of them as moving chew toys. 

Rebecca Goe


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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.