January 2021
Ditschler retires, leaving legacy of trust, integrity, respect
Retiring ProAct CEO Steve Ditschler led the organization for some 20 years, coordinating an expansion from one to six locations and a fourfold increase in revenue.

“I think ProAct is a better organization today than it was when Steve came, and that’s something he should be very proud of,” said past Board Chair Jim Louwagie, who served in that position when Ditschler was hired, when he retired and at other points.

Former Production Director Dave Cavalier, who worked for the organization for nearly 40 years, said integrity was the key component with Ditschler, who worked hard to be a good example and was tuned in to the human side of the work as well.

Genuine, approachable, sincere, trustworthy and a person of high morals who cared for his fellow man, was how former ProAct Manager Cathy McCoy described her longtime boss. -more-
Great medicine: laughter reaches homes virtually for 13 weeks
A little jesting, some teasing and “how are yous” can go a long way. Throw in humor as the topic of study, connect a dozen ProAct participants with their instructor on a virtual enrichment call and it’s a recipe for a great time.

“Laugh Out Loud” is a new remote class- created and taught by direct service professional Kathy Tesch in Red Wing. Eagan DSP Mike Hurley teaches a second group. ProAct participants represent multiple locations in weekly sessions.

Classmates view and discuss comedic material, all of it clean, ranging from the “Three Stooges” era to Mccaulay Culkin in
“Home Alone.” Carol Burnett and Tim Conway are also in the mix. Tesch opens her meetings for greetings and updates, followed by humorous video clips, questions and analysis of the styles employed. -more-
CEO: Services grow, hopeful for future, benefits of vaccines
It’s a new year and there’s wider appreciation for something we have valued for a long time – socialization. Who could have predicted that a virus would help us to appreciate the small talk, the jokes and “how are you” moments that some took for granted in our in-person world of early 2020?

Though lock-downs are a memory and restaurants have reopened, many daytime services for people with disabilities are operating remotely, and I’ve been quite impressed with our efforts. During virtual online classes, people are dancing in the background. We see parents and roommates participating and there’s laughter; laughter is good for the soul! The sessions are not tied to any ProAct location, so participants are making new friends from outside their area. -more-
By Judie Foster-Lupkin
Virtual Day at Capitol March 9
ProAct's state association, MOHR, is teaming up with ARRM as the Best Life Alliance for the 2021 Disability Services Virtual Day at the Capitol event on March 9. Meet with your legislators. Registration is free and there's a Button Design Contest for self-advocates (deadline Feb. 1).
'Resilient, Reliable Responsible' ProAct's Annual Report
A full report covering ProAct's 2020 fiscal year is now available and the theme is "Resilient, Reliable and Responsible."

When the coronavirus presented its challenges, the nonprofit adapted and prepared to pour solid footings for the future. Its resiliency stemmed from the core values that define the organization.

Participant success stories are complemented by a feature piece about ProAct's partnership with Kwik Trip, a stellar employer of people with disabilities. Financial statements are provided, contributors acknowledged and there's photo recognition for several service award winners. The nonprofit looks forward to many excellent years of service in the future. -more-
MLK Day in Hudson highlights content of character
Participants at ProAct in Hudson celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day by expressing themselves through crafts. Thanks to Case Coordinator LeeAnn Mergens for sharing these images.
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