March 2022
In this issue: Flexibility shines . . . Capitol turnout . . . Major Mardi Gras
Finding jobs, living on his own, with a little help
Drawing from a decade of training and experiences with ProAct in Red Wing, Adam Dolezal is exploring the next chapters of his life with greater confidence, finding job opportunities and impressing employers, while becoming more independent.

The changes are happening with help from ProAct Employment Supports and Individualized Home Supports, explains Senior Program Manager Pam Veith. Dolezal’s goal was to move to his own apartment and work independently in the community, she said.

Work experiences add up, feels ready after temp job
He started out in Red Wing’s center-based program and worked in the extensive electronics recycling effort there. This led to a temporary job with the city of Red Wing early in 2021. This step was a key catalyst to help him feel ready for other jobs outside of ProAct. -more-
Board Chair reacts to virtual ProAct exercise class

"It was so fun to experience a class to better understand what the participants experience, and see how the ProAct team is adding value for our participants in this new and engaging way." -Arleen Sullivan
Marking two years since pandemic, flexibility shines
By Judie Foster-Lupkin, President, CEO
There is an apt saying blessed are the flexible, for they will not be broken. The word flexible, and others like it, describe ProAct as we mark two years since the pandemic rolled in.

We have been adjustable, stretchable, malleable, limber and bending. Our staff, participants, and their families, through the fatigue of COVID-19, the precautions, the day care issues, distance learning and so many other things we’ve pulled through. Call it individual resilience, or newfound strength, but the adversity we have faced has brought our best to the surface. -more-
By the numbers | February
  • 682 participants served
  • 40,037 hours of service
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National Day of Awesome? Yes.
Who doesn’t like being told they are awesome? March 10 was “National Day of Awesomeness” and like last year, ProAct in Shakopee showed just how awesome it is to tell others how special they are, said Shakopee Program Manager Ali Brown.
Make a difference
Time for a positive career change? You can have an impact and improve the lives of others. ProAct is hiring for these positions and more:

One restaurant job leads to another closer to home
Supported by ProAct Case Coordinator Kim Lepper, James Roe was busing tables at the Pizza Ranch buffet in Apple Valley.
“He enjoyed his job there, but it was a long distance from his house,” said Lepper.

Taking the initiative to find something closer to home, Roe set out to find restaurants in his area.He inquired at The Copperfield in Mendota Heights, was given an application and filled it out. Roe then called to follow up and was asked to come in to speak to the manager. He sought out Lepper to join him for the meeting. -more-
Shakopee Valley News: ProAct gets creative in providing services to people with disabilities
Record turnout: Day at Capitol
At least 173 ProAct participants from three sites joined the Virtual Disability Services Day at the Capitol on March 8, which held an online rally. Individuals decorated posters for the event, advocating for themselves and letting others know how important their staff are in assisting them in their daily lives, said Program Manager Stephanie Osman.

“People enjoyed hearing stories from other organizations and receiving messages from government officials,” she said. “And, listening to the many advocates who are diligently working for continued and enhanced services for people with disabilities. -more-

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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee
Compiled by VP Kim Feller
Mardi Gras (the French term for Fat Tuesday) happens the last day of Carnival and the day before Lent begins (Ash Wednesday for Catholics). In 2022, Fat Tuesday happened on March 1.

The Carnival celebration, which includes parties and parades, begins on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany (January 6) and ends the day before Ash Wednesday (Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras). It is the celebration period before the beginning of the fasting season of Lent. In some cultures, Fat Tuesday is also known as “Shrove Tuesday” or “Pancake Tuesday.” -more-
See ProAct's Mardi Gras celebrations: Eagan | Hudson | Red Wing | Shakopee
February and March enrichment program highlights
New masks come on with Mardi Gras festivities at all locations
Red Wing participants had a lot of fun making Mardi Gras masks for their event, said instructor and DSP Lori Clemens. “Such a fun time today, everybody loved the parade,” she said. “We even put the jazz music on to dance to.” People thanked the Eagan location beads they used.
Mardi Gras in Shakopee was a day to have fun by parading around, collecting beads, photo shoots, donuts at lunch and of course a dance, said Program Manager Ali Brown. Participants discussed “Fat Tuesday” in New Orleans watched a few real Mardi Gras parades, she said. Many photos. -more-
Hudson had a great day for Mardi Gras and combined it with Taco Tuesday for lunch.
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Eagan's Mardi Gras Parade and Festivities had record participation, said Program Manager Stephanie Osman. "So much fun!"
Two's Day: 2-22-22 rolls out with creativity in Shakopee
By Program Manager Ali Brown

We celebrated "Two's Day" by dressing in twos or twining. We also had two extra breaks to enjoy candy in, you guessed it, in twos. This day is a palindrome date, meaning it reads the same way backward and forward. Here in February alone there are eight of them. Google it, and you'll find it’s pretty interesting. 

This palindrome is extra special because it also falls on a Tuesday (Twos Day) this year and don’t we all need an excuse to have fun and goof off a bit? This Twos Day will not occur again until the year 2422. I wonder how they will celebrate?

There are other dates with a striking pattern, like 1-11-11, 01-01-01, 06-06-06, 12-12-12, and I’ll be looking forward to 3-3-33! I’ll have to think about what treat we can have that comes in 3’s.
Rivertown Olympiad and celebration of twos
ProAct Participants in Red Wing colored Olympic rings to post on a bulletin board along with the three medals with the counts on them. Team USA did awesome with 25 medals altogether, said Lori Clemens, an instructor and direct service professional.

She said 2/22/22 was a big hit even with a snowstorm. A group talked about what two words go together and things that come in pairs. “We had participants and staff come in with two shirts, two hats, two different socks, pigtails, and shirts with 2 and 22 on them,” said Clemens.

There were Kit Kats with hot chocolate and people watched the movie “It Takes Two.” Staff and participants had a fun day. “Kind of a coincidence we had 22 people that day due to the snowstorm,” Clemens said.
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