ProAct Joins Disability Advocates at the Minnesota State Capitol

A Message from ProAct's President & CEO

March 28 was Disability Day at the Capitol – and what a day it was! It was a heartwarming experience to see such a huge gathering of people from all around the state sharing a mutual goal. 

Riding in the van to St. Paul that day with our participants and staff was an honor for me. We talked about activities in our day, our interests (both at ProAct and in our spare time), and what they would like to do in the future. We laughed and shared fun stories, and also talked about concerns and how we can make ProAct an even stronger organization. When we arrived at the Capitol, we climbed the MANY steps – huffing and puffing and marveled at the beauty of the building.

At the Capitol, we stood together in passion, excitement, belief, and for a common cause – to recognize the need to support those with disabilities. There were banners and signs on all three floors surrounding the rotunda, all championing our shared cause. And while there were many names and organizations I recognized, many were new to me too! There were speakers from provider organizations, the legislature - on both sides of the aisle, and from the governor and lieutenant governor as well. It was moving to participate and join in the chant of “Invest in Us” - we were loud!

“Invest in us” was directed toward the need for more Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) and to ensure they are fairly compensated for the critical work that they do. ProAct has invested in our DSPs, and I hope they know how truly appreciated they are. They are the backbone of our programs. Their belief in our mission and commitment to providing excellent quality of service to our participants is what we all strive for. 

Disability Day at the Capitol might be one day a year, coming together for a single cause, but carrying out the mission is something we do each and every day at ProAct. 

It was a wonderful day – participants were glad they went and so was I!
Want Even More on Disability Day at the Capitol?
Read ProAct Senior Program Manager Stephanie Osman's blog on Disability Day, and what it meant to participants and staff.

I’m so happy she’s back at ProAct. She’s loving her classes and being back. It’s really good for her to have those days to get out of the house & visit with others. She said to me last week that she never thought she’d enjoy the classes. I told her that a lot went into how things are set up now & it’s quite amazing.

- Sister & Guardian of a Participant in ProAct's In-Person Enrichment Classes
The Beginning of Spring Brings New Activities and Opportunities for ProAct Participants

March was jam-packed with fun activities and adventures across our ProAct sites!

In Shakopee, local experts from the community, including artist Maria Ricke, came to share their time and talents with participants. Maria showed everyone how to gelli paint, helping participants create their own unique works of art. The Shakopee team is working with Scott County to bring more class opportunities in the future with local talent including programming focused on drama, writing, dance and more art!

In Eagan, participants were wishing for all things spring! Art of Origami crafted paper flowers to build a beautiful garden while the World Cultures Class headed to the Como Zoo Conservatory to enjoy the gardens and paths. Eagan's Essential Life Skills Class tackled spring cleaning, and the Fifty Nifty States Class headed to the Minneapolis Central Library to enjoy a Black history exhibit.

In both Hudson and Red Wing, participants headed to the Red Wing Pottery Museum and also saw the movie Champions about a coach assigned to lead a Special Olympics basketball team as part of his community service. Everyone said it was hilarious, and it spread a heartfelt message!

Hudson also celebrated St. Patrick's Day and headed to the Mall of America to visit favorites like the M&M store, while Red Wing visited the Carpenter Nature Center, the Science Museum, and the Minnesota Zoo. 

Check out more March highlights below!
Maintaining Skills Class Builds Their Business and Management Skills

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the Maintaining Skills group brings the snack cart around for the participants in Eagan, but the group does more than just sell snacks from the cart! They are learning critical business and customer service skills.

With the help of staff, they have their hands in all aspects of the management of the snack cart including counting money, taking inventory, helping customers, providing change, and shopping and restocking supplies. 
Enrichment Program March Highlights
Eagan participants celebrated St. Patrick's Day in March.
Doing a little shopping at Mall of America!
Shakopee participants learned new art techniques from local artists.
Even when it's cold outside, it's always spring in the Como Conservatory!
Gelli painting in Shakopee!
Learning about Black history at the Minneapolis Public Library.
Spending time at the Red Wing Pottery Museum. 
ProAct took over the theater to watch Champions!
Red Wing came face-to-face with some wild friends at the MN Zoo!
Hudson got in the spirit for St. Patrick's Day!
Monthly, ProAct’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee focuses on educating staff, participants and stakeholders in areas of culture, diversity and disability. The committee chooses one diversity related area and a disability as its educational focuses for the month. Bulletin boards, e-mails, class projects and other tools are used to educate staff and participants at each of our four locations.

The committee chose Ramadan, Multiple Sclerosis and Cerebral Palsy for the month of March.
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