Volume 4 Issue 3
Summer may seem far away, but now is a great time to start thinking about summer jobs, volunteering or other employment experiences. Speak to your Case Manager about the ASPIRE Employment Folders. They are full of resources and guides to help your youth.
It would also be an great time to sign up for Benefits Counseling, a FREE service to help you understand your family's benefits and how future changes may affect those. Ask your Case Manager about that as well.
There is lots happening in ASPIRE Arizona during March:
Talk to your ASPIRE Case Manager or check out the ASPIRE Arizona calendar: https://tinyurl.com/ycw87v23
My name is Tiana Isaac and I am 18 years old. At birth, my newborn screen reported I had sickle-cell anemia. By six months, the disease began to ravage my body. I began dealing with pain crisis, swelling of my hands, feet, fingers, legs, and my arms. At the age of five, I suffered a stroke that left me with nerve damage and I was paralyzed on my right side of my body. I had physical therapy for eight months to gain my strength.
I was ill during my early school years and spent a lot of time in the hospital. I regularly contracted pneumonia, developed hypertension in my heart and lungs, lived with asthma and needed blood transfusion every three weeks. In December 2013, the medical team informed me the importance of adhering to medication regimen. They predicted that if I did not take the medication and not do what I was supposed to do, I may die before my 16th birthday! With each year, my health grew worse. Despite 12 medications to keep me alive and healthy, the pain and suffering of the disease just got worse. My medical team suggested a bone marrow transplant.
In 2016, I began the process, demonstrating that I was ready, taking all my medications and following all the “Doctor’s Orders.” It also meant being ready to take even more medications after the transplant. First up was getting a port to allow medications to be administered. Next came high doses of chemotherapy. During this time, I experienced nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Only my closest family were allowed to visit – my parents and four siblings. Once my body was ready, then I could receive the transplant and wait for the new donor cells to begin to grow.
On May 8th 2017, I was admitted to the hospital to start my transplant. The doctors said that I would be in there for 6 months to a year. However, I only ended up being in there for 32 days! I had no problems and came out of the hospital a champion!
I am currently finishing high school, working on driver’s education and obtained my first job at Wendy’s Restaurant. I still have hypertension in my heart and lungs, but I am cured of Sickle Cell! I am a Sickle-Cell Anemia Warrior and am strong and a fighter. This year I am named the Sickle Cell Ambassador of 2018.
See the ASPIRE website to read Tiana’s full story!
Marilyn enjoys hiking with her daughter, riding her bike and being outdoors when the weather is warm. She was drawn to ASPIRE because of the opportunity to help youth find the resources that would enable them to succeed in life as independently as possible. She looks forward to seeing the youth she works with achieve their goals. She also hopes the families she connects with will leave ASPIRE knowing they are valued, and capable of achieving great things.
Madi enjoys cooking and any excuse to get outside and play… especially hiking and backpacking. She was drawn to ASPIRE’s research component, and how the work ASPIRE is doing will influence future services and resources for youth with disabilities and their families. She looks forward to building relationship with the ASPIRE families, supporting them through big steps in life, and hopes she can instill some increased confidence that will last long after the project ends.
Please join in welcoming two amazing women to the ASPIRE team!
ASPIRE North Dakota youth are working to set goals for themselves, control their own destiny and increase their self-determination. These youth would like others to embrace the to “See Me for Me!” slogan. During the month of March, ASPIRE North Dakota will continue to host several self-determination trainings in communities across the state. During the past few months self-determination trainings have been provided in a new format, three two-hour trainings in three consecutive months, in both Minot and Bismarck communities. Parents and youth have liked this approach! They know what to expect, and know they can ask questions of the trainers the following month. At a recent training, youth participants worked on budgeting and skills to become employed and staying employed.
Jacob began working with Vocational Rehabilitation shortly after he enrolled in ASPIRE. Once Jacob turned 16, he began the job hunt through Project Skills. In July of 2017, he began working as a stocker at Fair City Foods. Jacob’s employer has been very impressed with his work ethic and dedication. Jacob will frequently come into work if someone is out sick or if they are short-staffed. He always finds work that needs to be done before being asked. Once he completed Project Skills, Fair City wanted to keep him on, so they hired him. Jacob enjoys his job and Fair City loves having Jacob!
Jacob has also started looking toward the future. He is considering the Army and plans to explore this as an option after high school. Jacob is set to take the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) this fall and will use the summer to study. Jacob applied for the Youth Leadership Forum this year to grow his leadership skills.
Jacob’s determination and growth over the past 2 years has been a joy to watch!
Casey also regularly competes at the State Braille Challenge. This event tests participants’ skills in a) reading comprehension b) proof reading c) speed and accuracy, and d) charts and graphs. Each time he’s competed, Casey has taken second place. He won’t be satisfied until he takes first and can represent Utah at the national level.
Recently Casey was one of six winners of the “Study Abroad Australia Expanded Core Curriculum” contest. His prize? A two-week trip to Australia where he will learn about educational practices and opportunities. To win this competition, Casey wrote an essay and received a recommendation from his school counselor.
Since his Freshman year, Casey has been an honor roll student and plans to attend an in-state college or university. He is considering a major in computer programming, but becoming a doctor or teacher has possibilities as well. Whatever his decision, Casey will be going to the best! Go Casey!
|March 15, 2018|
In This Issue:
ASPIRE has been in place since October, 2013. Youth enrolled when they were between the ages of 14 and 17. That means that they are now four years older! They are growing up and moving into adult life, getting jobs and living away from home. In fact, the average age of youth in ASPIRE is now 17.85 years. The youngest youth is 15.81 and the oldest is 20.21. Nearly half of the youth are now over the age of 18!
There are lots of actions to take when becoming an adult.
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 email@example.com or call 1-844-880-9172.