May 2022
In this issue: Enrichment Award . . . Birthday in a Bag . . . Participant highlights
Controller has vast experience, passion for nonprofits
ProAct’s new controller, Melissa Munce, is a veteran finance professional with nonprofit experience and time spent in operations and human resources.

“I've always had a heart for non-profits,” said Munce. “I started working with nonprofits very, very early in my career, even in public accounting I specialized in auditing nonprofits.”

She likes to get behind the mission of organizations, behind the service, more than the debits and credits of the banking world. An organization’s strategies naturally flow from the mission, and Munce said she’s always had a much broader focus in the positions she’s held.

The new controller comes to ProAct from the Veterinary Hospitals Association
By the numbers | April 2022
  • 701 participants served
  • 43,647 hours of service
Shakopee DSP, state award
Heralded as the man who is every supervisor’s, coworker’s and caregiver’s dream, direct support professional (DSP) Tom Fix at ProAct in Shakopee was selected for a state level DSP Award by the Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation (MOHR).

“Tom goes all in. He sings, dances, plays games, assists with any care that’s needed and always gets to know the people he supports,” said MOHR DSP Award organizer Lynne Megan.

Winning in the “Enrichment Focus” category for the metro area, Fix has enjoyed a 36-year career in human services. His sister, who has since passed, had a disability and when she was moving out of the family home, Fix decided to check things out.
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Virtual Enrichment Services wins MOHR Life Enrichment Award
ProAct has been providing enrichment programming for over 20 years to help develop life skills, expand knowledge and enhance community inclusion but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it needed a new avenue to reach its participants with disabilities safely and consistently ‑ “Virtual Enrichment Services” delivered remotely.

The day service provider with sites in the Twin Cities, southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin was named for a 2022 Life Enrichment Award by the Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation (MOHR).

MOHR President Julie Johnson said the Life Enrichment Awards highlight the innovative and effective ways programs foster inclusion, respect, and dignity for people with disabilities. “These award recipients represent the best practices we have to offer Minnesotans with disabilities. They provide great opportunities that we should strive to emulate.” -more- | -watch-
"ProAct is a wonderful place to work. You not only build relationships with staff, but also the ability to make a difference in lives of our participants is both rewarding and fulfilling. I have been able to work in different areas over the years and learn something new every day. This has gone from a job to a career!"

-Jessie Gruber, Employment Coordination Manager
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee
Arthritis Awareness Month
Assembled by Amanda Ballard, executive assistant and communications coordinator
The month of May is recognized each year as National Arthritis Awareness Month. People are encouraged to wear blue to support awareness of a disease that affects nearly one-quarter of all U.S. adults. The significance of this observation is to bring attention to a condition that affects more than 53 million Americans and is expected to exceed 67 million by the year 2030. -more-
Work with us
Enjoy helping others? Talents being fully utilized? A great career may be just around the corner. ProAct is hiring. Apply now!
Remembering Red Wing staffer
ProAct offers its condolences to the family and friends of Randine Landmark, a former employee in Red Wing. She passed away on May 15. Her obituary ran in the Republican Eagle newspaper.
DARTS volunteers, 'Birthday in a Bag' pay it forward
The ProAct maintaining skills group volunteered through DARTS on a beautiful spring day. They raked, picked up sticks and spruced up an older couple's giant yard. Everyone worked together to carry the big limbs that had come down during the last storm and the group filled five lawn bags.
Staff and participants in Red Wing thought it would be a good idea to start some monthly community projects especially since the project before Christmas was so popular. In December, they assembled bags for people who are homeless.

For the April project, participants and staff decided to submit a project idea to Thrivent to help the United Way with its “Birthday in a Bag” project. People buy items for children whose parents can’t afford a birthday party. There was birthday cake, a birthday banner, candles and gifts.

Participants went to Walmart and the dollar store to buy the items. The group assembled the kits and delivered them to the United Way. “We were able to give 10 boys and 10 girls birthday bags,” said Case Manager Gloria Solsaa.

ProAct received $250 from Thrivent to purchase supplies along with $100 from snack cart sales at the site, a $100 donation from a family and some other donations from participants. Solsaa said to stay tuned for their next project this summer.
Enrichment program highlights for April
Shakopee to the movies, polka returns
Once a small group of Shakopee site movie goers saw the “$5 Tuesdays” were back, they headed out to see "Sonic 2" and "The Lost City," said Day Support Services Manager Ali Brown. “Going to the movies has always been an important outing that has brought joy to so many.” While staff were unable to take all 80 participants at once, the hope is to get in at least one movie for those who want to get back out there. Planning has begun by asking those who might enjoy taking in a movie. “Can you say ready, set, action?”

Finally, since moving and with COVID loosening up, Concertina Players returned to ProAct in Shakopee, playing the best polkas around. “Participants were extremely excited to see them walk through the door and set up their sets,” said Manager Ali Brown. When asked what he liked most about seeing and hearing the Concertina Players, Pat Hron said, “I just love it, Ali, just love it,” as he danced and sang along. Learn about "Volunteer Bob" Fridays, below. -more-
Eagan random acts of kindness, scrap-booking, flour museum tour
Day Support Services in Eagan officially wrapped up the end of the Fall/Winter Term, and April was jam-packed with end of the term projects, said Senior Program Manager Stephanie Osman.

“Scrapbooking completed their beautiful books made from paper bags,” she said. “Science and Our World transferred their bean sprouts to planters to take home and give them continued TLC.”

The Essential Life Skills class spread positivity with a Random Acts of Kindness Project by hanging posters around the building with motivational messages for anyone to take. And, “Tikity Tok” completed a “Treat People Like People” video.

Osman said participants celebrated Earth Day by wearing blue and green while the Fine Arts and Communication class finished its beautiful Earth Day group art project!

Holiday Crafts created flowers to represent the importance of plant growth to keep Earth healthy and strong. Lastly, participants in Health and Wellness made specific Earth Day Pledges.
Hudson groups travel to Red Wing, Bloomington, Minneapolis
A rainy April did not hinder participants at ProAct in Hudson from getting out and enjoying a variety of trips. A tour of the Red Wing Pottery Museum was enjoyed as individuals learned about its history.

The group was very excited to return to the Minnesota History Center, explains Case Manager LeeAnn Mergens. Another favorite destination is Ikea in Bloomington, where participants get to shop and enjoy getting “lost” in the furniture displays. Topping things off with some flavor, a Hudson group stopped for root beer floats at an A&W restaurant.

Back at the Hudson site, the crafts class had fun decorating the building for Easter and Earth Day. “The Peeps Dioramas were everyone’s favorite to design and put together,” said Mergens.

“It’s been a great ending to a super fun term, and everyone is excited for the new schedule.”
Red Wing site busy through wet spring, community engagement
Do April showers really bring May flowers? Red Wing participants and staff hope so – and with all this rain they should have some beautiful flowers. Even with the weather, it was a great month in Red Wing.

New classes began in April. Staff said “History of Presidents” has been a big hit with the participants who love to learn about history. Woodworking was also new. Participants started making letter blocks with some sanding, painting and then stenciling.

The group expected to have some good projects when it’s over. A gardening class was added as well. Participants decided to plant a lot of flowers and different vegetables. With the weather they were not able to get outside to the garden but started growing some things inside in pots. The hope is to be able to get some vegetables to try this summer.

After a cold winter, Red Wing participants are finally getting back out and about. In April they went to a movie theater to watch “Sing 2” and were even able to go bowling again. Other trips included a visit to Kwik Trip for donuts and a ride to the Cannon Falls bakery.

People missed going to the bakery and eating inside. The Cannon Falls bakery is one of their favorite places to go, as the people are very kind there. Staff and participants have been taking shopping trips to Walmart. They purchase snack cart items when needed, craft supplies and supplies for community outings.
Earth week prompts flower interest, talk of trees, crafts, future planting
The Earth Day celebration at ProAct in Red Wing became Earth week this year. Participants took time out of their classes to celebrate Earth together. On Monday, they learned the history of Earth Day and planted flowers. For Tuesday, they made Earth Day cookies and world ornaments with clay. Then, on Wednesday, they learned about bees and painted ornaments from the day before, in blues and greens.

The group talked about trees. When the weather improves, they want to plant some. One staff member signed up with the Arbor Day foundation was able to get 10 free trees sent to her.

She and participants are waiting for them to arrive and for warmer weather.

Thursday brought learning all about butterflies. They also made seed “globes” with blue and green paper. Finally, Friday came and they planted grass in bottles made to look like animals – ProAct’s version of “Chia Pets,” and then ended the week watching the Bee Movie. Staff said it was a fun week and people learned a lot.

Individuals were patiently waiting for warmer weather so they could plant seeds and sprout and enjoy May flowers.
ProAct, Inc. | 651-686-0405 |