Ascend has always been resilient. In 1957, Bj Halvorsen created a place for young men with disabilities to learn a skill and participate in a business model. They created wreaths and sold them.
We are frequently asked why Ascend does not sell wreaths anymore. The answer is both simple and complex. Simply, the economy and workforce changed. But a more complete explanation would tell you that we have always adjusted our programs to meet participants wherever they are! We take into account their skills, preferences, and schedules. Over the years, Ascend, and Holiday House before it, has created wreaths, run summer camps, furniture repair, woodworking, laundry services, printing, resale shops, and much more.
Why has the landscape changed so much in 60 years? For the same reason things will change again now. Our participant population has changed – bringing with it different interests and skill sets. The local economy and community needs also changed around us. Not only have Ascend and Holiday House always worked to meet the needs of our participants. We always strive to meet the needs of our community, as well! This time, we are also grappling with the unique effects of covid-19.
The individuals that we serve have experienced incredible disruptions to their employment, recreation, and opportunities to connect with their support systems.
Individuals with disabilities are uniquely affected by covid-19. Many people we serve live in group homes. These living situations may impose limitations on their ability to work or participate in programs. Group home policies must ensure safety of all house-mates, and we have found ways to reach many individuals through remote and in-home programs. We still have more work to do. We hope to develop such a wide variety of flexible programs that no one feels left behind - even while remaining safer at home.
Ascend has made monumental strides to reach our participants in any situation and empower them to meet goals. But the truth is, we need your help. We need our community's help. There are still individuals we need to reach in order to achieve our mission.
Your support will help us further innovate our programs to reach even more individuals. You can make a difference.