Each year ASPIRO conducts a survey of all our program participants who utilize our Day and Prevocational Services. The results provide us with insights, ideas and inspiration. This year the survey was broken into two distinct areas with COVID taking the lead and more traditional questions following.
We were pleased to learn that 93% of respondents are very satisfied with ASPIRO’s response to COVID-19 and 94% are very satisfied with the current safety protocols we have in place. The reinvention of programming to accommodate COVID was not an easy undertaking and I’m proud of all the hard work put into not just the planning but the day to day operationalization of those plans. Every member of the ASPIRO family has their part to play in keeping all of us safe. We eagerly await the completion of vaccinations and the eventual lifting of some of the CDC recommended restrictions.
The second part of the survey asks more about perceptions of ASPIRO and how it can improve. We were inspired to read many of the phrases used to describe ASPIRO including that it is a great asset to our community and that it makes the people we serve more confident and self-assured.
The past year has been a challenge for us, just as it has been for many of you, and reading these inspirational words are motivating. One comment said that we were “a real ballast in a storm." Being there for people when they need us is something that should make us all proud of the work we do.
The people who earned us these comments are the people on the front line. They are our strength and what makes ASPIRO special. Two of the people who have made a foundational difference at ASPIRO over the years are Mark Wescott and Jackie Manlick. Together they have served ASPIRO for more than 60 years and have both announced their retirement plans. While I’m excited for them, I’ll be sad to see them go.
Mark, our Manager of Recreation, is retiring after 35 years at ASPIRO at the end of the May. He has done a phenomenal job over the years building the recreation program and we will have a hard time seeing him go. His replacement will be Beau LeFevre. Beau has been working in the rec department for the last 3.5 years and has been with ASPIRO for about 8 years. I’ll personally miss Mark bursting into my office each morning to ask me what I screwed up today. Luckily he comes in early so the list is usually short.
Jackie Manlick, our Manager of Children’s Services (Early Intervention, Positive Parenting, Respite) is retiring after 26 years at ASPIRO in the beginning of August. Jackie has been an incredibly steady hand on the tiller of her programs for many years. Her knowledge, expertise, insight and organization have made the programs she runs exemplary. Jackie is admired by her colleagues and peers and will be greatly missed. Anne Bruss who has been a Teacher/Service Coordinator in our Early Intervention program for 25 years will be transitioning into the manager position.