Message from the President
Just a few weeks ago I couldn’t have dreamt how our world could change so swiftly. With businesses shuttered all across the nation people’s lives are being redefined. While the economic impact hasn’t even begun to sink in, we all know that in the short term we will challenged.
While all of our programs are vital, we also recognize that we must act to reduce the risk of transmission of this terrible virus. As a result, ASPIRO has closed both its prevocational and day services programs. To support our community we continue to provide scaled down, essential-only services in our early intervention, positive parenting, residential, Project SEARCH, respite and employment services programs and most of these interactions are contactless via phone or virtually. We are also continuing to run our production facility. ASPIRO has been deemed as an essential producer because of the work we do for the Navy as well as our packaging of medical supplies that are used by EMTs and clinics. We are also fielding calls almost daily asking if we can produce personal protective equipment. We are examining every request and are sending samples of our Tyvek coveralls, sleeve protectors and shoe covers to anyone who thinks they may be of use in this crisis. Even with our increased production, the reductions in other services will result in a significant drop in our revenues beginning in March.
We recognize that our people are the heartbeat of our company. This includes both the people we support as well as those who support them. Our staff are the reason many of you choose ASPIRO. We have offered many of them the opportunity to work in production. A large number have agreed. I’m thankful for their willingness. Even with that, over the next few days and weeks we will need to institute layoffs in the areas we have closed or downsized. In an effort to blunt the impact on our employees, we have created a two-week COVID 19 pay bucket that many of them are currently utilizing. We created this new and unprecedented benefit because we knew that federal legislation is pending but not yet implemented. Once the new laws take effect, they will create new benefits that will assist our employees and their families. This two weeks of pay is being extended to all our full and part time employees including our dedicated client workers.
The coming weeks and months will challenge us all and we want to stay connected. We just have to find new ways of doing it. Every week at ASPIRO we recognize birthdays on the hallway monitor. Since that is no longer possible we will be sharing birthdays on WIXX radio each morning at 6:45am. Our client and staff milestones will be published in the Press Gazette and we will be making phone calls, sending out emails and posting videos on a regular basis. We want to be certain that our friends and families don’t feel isolated, despite the need to social distance.
As the coming weeks unfold I’m certain there will be many new challenges and opportunities. Even with all the change one constant has always been our supporters and donors. Without you, the work we do wouldn’t be possible. I know you are struggling alongside us. If there is anything we can do to support you during this difficult time please reach out.