Volume 3 Issue 7
Jacob began to take more personal responsibility. He showed it by making his own meeting appointments with Marianne. He even began to run his case management meetings, accepting suggestions from her along the way too. Marianne would remind Jacob to follow through on his commitments by texting, etc. Jacob appreciates these reminders and will even ask for numbers or dates again. Marianne also worked with Jacob to apply for Vocational Rehabilitation. And he’ll be entering Barber school in the fall.
Jacob’s Mom and Marianne worked very closely to be consistent in their encouragement and holding him accountable as well. It’s paid off! On May 25th, Jacob graduated! This summer he’s working full time and getting ready for the step in his career!!
Teresa Nielsen – Aurora
From Becky Kinyon- Northglenn
Cruzita Tafoya- Pueblo
Jody Dettmer-Johnson Loveland
Storm attempted to apply for jobs multiple times but never followed through. Multiple case management meetings with ASPIRE revealed that Storm was not afraid to work but afraid of the rejection that might come after applying. Armed with her new self-awareness and with encouragement from ASPIRE staff, her amazing friends, and her heroic mom, Storm made the brave choice to master her anxiety and not let it dictate her actions. She walked into a local fast food restaurant and asked if they were hiring. The manager interviewed her and hired her on the spot! He obviously saw the same thing ASPIRE has known all along… STORM IS AMAZING!
Since starting her job, Storm has made several new friends. She works 10 hours a week and enjoys what she does. In addition to her new job, Storm just finished her junior year of high school and is preparing to attend college after she graduates.
“Three mothers attended the training. We were able to have some great discussions on a number of topics. We started off by doing a learning circle activity/icebreaker. This was a chance for participants to share their own stories and also create discussion. I asked the group three questions. "What is the first thing you remember about money from your childhood?" "What is one thing you learned about insurance in your life?" "What is one of the best ways you know how to teach your children about good money habits?" The group had a great discussion on how they teach their children about money and they were able to give each other tips on what worked and what didn't work. Each family taught their children a little differently, some gave allowances and some did not. Some children were allowed a certain amount of money to use when they made a trip to the store.
This discussion lead to our next topic, "Guidelines for Teaching Kids about Money." Together we reviewed a worksheet, and families talked about how they already did these things or how they could start doing these things. For the remainder of the class we played a “Jeopardy” game based on the “Four Cornerstones of Financial Literacy” curriculum. The game had four categories: basic budgeting, saving for college, credit, and other. Throughout the game we were able to discuss a wide variety of topics, referring to the “Four Cornerstones” binders for additional information.
Specific topics covered included, Earned income tax credits, VITA tax preparation, net vs. gross income and deductions, fixed and variable expenses, FAFSA/student loans, college scholarships and grants, post-secondary training programs, ABLE accounts, tips to build credit, What a FICO score is and how it is calculated, how to obtain a copy of your credit report and the importance of it, What VR is and how they can help with employment, different types of health insurance and how to go about getting it, and low cost/no cost activities.
Two of the three mothers have never seen their credit report and said they were going to get a copy of this to review. One mother stressed to the other mothers how important it is and how it can help prevent identity theft. One mother said that she had learned a lot and that this was the best training she has attended. She stated that she learned about credit and that she plans to build her credit by applying for one card and using it for everyday items that she already purchases, like fuel.”
Parents in ASPIRE North Dakota are certainly learning about finances and applying it to their lives!
Participating in track and making important peer connections led this youth to attend homecoming with peer mentors as well. His mother explained it as the scariest and coolest thing to happen in a long time. She was so afraid to let him "just go with them and trust that they would be able to deal with everything he needed". But she saw the value in allowing her son to be part of something "typical". Overall, it has helped her to see that he is capable of having age appropriate experiences with his peers, and is learning to become more independent. She now feels that she is no longer alone in caring for his every need.
|July 15, 2017|
In This Issue:
During the past two months, I’ve had the opportunity to visit with the ASPIRE staff in all six states. What an amazing and talented group of people!! They shared their experiences working with ASPIRE families, including driving four hours or hiking through snow blocked roads to reach a home. Some Case Managers have done a bit of ‘hand holding’ to get youth into the local vocational rehabilitation offices, and once there, see their interest pique with the possibility of working! Case Managers and youth are valuable in their communities as they get into the dirt, tending a local community garden. The stories are too many to share, but you’ll find more in this month’s newsletter.
One item on my mind in the final 15 months of ASPIRE is the need to finish strong. During these visits, Chris and Shonna, the ASPIRE Trainers, had time with each Case Manager to discuss specific cases and documentation and data entry. We also met together with the teams and discussed challenges and successes, and encouraged adherence to the ASPIRE procedures. It’s vitally important that to finish strong, we must all be doing our very best and that begins with our relationships with families and ensuring ASPIRE continues to be implemented to fidelity!
To do our best, ASPIRE relies on our many Partners as well. Please continue to encourage ASPIRE youth and families to fully participate in all that is offered – workshops, trainings and more. Encourage the youth to explore getting jobs. As ASPIRE youth and families develop knowledge and skills, hopefully they will have future outcomes different from the Usual Services group. That’s our goal in ASPIRE! Let’s finish strong!
Also, I’d like to welcome the new ASPIRE Arizona Site Coordinator, Shelley Baudean. Shelley has worked as a Case Manager in ASPIRE and brings great experience to her new position. Congratulations, Shelley!
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.
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.ASPIRE on Facebook:
For links to articles and information to help youth and families, follow us on Facebook.
ASPIRE is excited to partner with the following agencies:
Be a part of the ASPIRE Newsletter
If you would like to be included in our next newsletter, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-844-880-9172.