Volume 3 Issue 10
Savannah shows creativity in searching for new solutions when it comes to improving her grades and making appointment with her Vocational Rehabilitation counselor. On one occasion I coached her and then observed her make a phone call to her VR counselor and then congratulated her on making a step to connect with her VR counselor. She has also started to use her personal planner to write down and track her homework assignments.
Savannah co-teaches a Sunday school class for little children and she helps prepare lessons, and works with the Sunday School team. She has pets at home and it is primarily her responsibility to care for them and her family says she is a great caretaker. She is interested in starting her own pet walking company and or pet shelter in the future.
Savannah has attended two Arizona Youth Leadership Forum events in which she has learned more about leadership and setting goals in the areas of personal development, disability awareness, leadership, and career planning. She also attended the Partners in Care Symposium hosted by Raising Special Kids. She said one important take-away was she will pay closer attention to legislation that may affect herself and other youth with disabilities. She stated that she will become a stronger advocate because of this symposium. She also attended the Governors Youth Leadership Day where hundreds of high school students from across the state met to hear inspiring speakers, attend leadership development workshops, and network with their peers.
Savannah is definitely becoming a strong self-advocate for herself and others!
Youth Self-Determination Training Two of the youth who have been regularly coming to the ASPIRE Self-Determination trainings have formed a close friendship, and their parents report they have been regularly getting together. One of the moms was talking to a youth trainer, and expressed how happy she is that her son has formed this friendship with another youth at the ASPIRE trainings. In the past, her son did not have many friends and felt isolated because of his disability. Through the ASPIRE trainings, he has made friends, gained more confidence, learned he has a lot to offer the world, and gained more self-confidence.
Parent Education and Training After a training one of the parents approached the Trainer to express her gratitude. The parent was unsure how to talk with her son about several of the topics. The parent felt she learned the tools and how to best approach her son to have the conversation about his disability and transition. Later, the parent reports she uses the tools and has begun to have open discussions with her son. It has been a positive experience that has allowed them both to grow.
Please see www.aspirewest.com, select the Colorado tab to find times and locations for the Parent Education and Training events and Youth Self-Determination events in your area.
"My daughter and I recently attended a training put on for ASPIRE families by Summer Red from Rural Dynamics Inc. (RDI). I would highly recommend attending at least one, if not all, of these presentations. Summer is personable and very knowledgeable about the financial matters, which at the training we attended was about credit. We had a lot of fun learning about something that is usually a pretty dry subject. My daughter had no problem absorbing the information as it was presented, and I learned a couple of things I didn’t know as well. Summer provided handouts that are categorized for MyFile, and they will be valuable resources for my daughter later on. We were given numerous opportunities to ask questions and the answers we received were very helpful for my daughter to understand the complex subject. Summer had a fun “quiz game” at the end to test what we learned and my daughter really enjoyed that as well. Dinner and snacks were provided which was a very nice bonus. My daughter and I look forward to attending the remainder of the financial trainings in the future, because we really had a great time, and I highly recommend attending to other families."
"Thank you to ASPIRE and RDI for providing the opportunity for my daughter to learn subjects that could be difficult to learn independently."
Sonja ASPIRE Parent
To learn more about financial education classes offered by ASPIRE in your community, check out www.aspirewest.org.
Shelby, a parent of an ASPIRE youth, had been working at a fast food restaurant for quite some time and had recently taken on new responsibilities. However, she was not happy at her work place for a number of reasons so she decided to apply elsewhere. After Zoey learned that Shelby had been applying for new jobs she encouraged her to check into services from Vocational Rehabilitation (VR). Shelby was willing to apply for VR services and found out she was eligible.
Last fall Shelby began working with a job coach who assisted her in successfully being hired at a new part time job at a local grocery store. Shelby was able to receive job coaching supports that helped her quickly learn her job. She eventually left her fast food job and was able to increase her hours and earn more money at the grocery store rather than having multiple lower paying jobs.
This summer, Shelby was recognized by her employer for going “above and beyond!” In August, Shelby applied for a full time deli position at the store and was hired! She was very excited because now she has healthcare for herself and her children. She loves her job! While Shelby has been successful with her work, other family members are too! Shelby’s husband found a new job with a retirement plan, and her daughter was hired at a retail store. Seeing that the rest of his family is working hard, the ASPIRE youth is now more interested in getting a job and working like the rest of his family. ASPIRE is excited for this family’s hard work and success to build their financial independence!
ASPIRE North Dakota is scheduling upcoming parent, self-determination and financial literacy trainings. Watch for these dates and plan to attend. As always, please contact ASPIRE North Dakota to learn more or request information. We are happy to meet with you! Please contact ASPIRE North Dakota at (800) 233-1737.
Specifically for South Dakota as of May 2017, 46% or 30 of the South Dakota ASPIRE youth had been employed at some point since enrollment in the project. Also 20% or 13 of the youth attended Self Determination training sometime between March 2016 andFebruary 2017. South Dakota ASPIRE staff as well as the ASPIRE staff in the six state consortium will continue to help improve the outcomes of the youth in the project as we continue this journey with youth and parents.
|October 15, 2017|
In This Issue:
Four years! October marks the anniversary of when ASPIRE began in 2013. It is also the third anniversary of the first youth and family enrolling in ASPIRE. A great deal has happened in the last four years! To quickly sum – over 60 staff have been hired across the six states; over 10,000 letters were mailed to recruit and enroll 2051 youth; ASPIRE services have been defined and are implemented consistently by 44 providers; youth are going to work, finishing high school and preparing for post-high school training; parents are understanding their finances; and so much more. Wow!! That’s a lot in four years of a five year project! But wait!
ASPIRE, along with all the PROMISE studies, have been given the opportunity to extend our work for another year. This is dependent on our existing funds, of course. After careful planning, it has been decided that ASPIRE will indeed continue into 2019. While all the details are not complete (and certainly there are lots of contracts to amend!), I’m very optimistic! I believe that making ASPIRE available for even a few extra months of services will assist ASPIRE youth and families, and also strengthen what is being learned in the PROMISE research.
So stay tuned. As more information is available, I will share ASPIRE’s plans. In the meantime, enjoy this newsletter and check out www.aspirewest.org. See the amazing stories of youth and families as they pursue work and education, and become better able to care for their own needs.
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 some 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
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.
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