May 15, 2019 – Akron, Ohio: Ten students from Springfield High School celebrated their success in the Aspire program in a ceremony which took place at the Iron Grill in Akron.  Parents, Students, Springfield Teaches and Staff, Summit County Board of Developmental Disabilities (Summit DD) representatives and employees of Koinonia were in attendance. This program is in part, generously supported by General Motors.

The Aspire Program is managed by Koinonia, in partnership with Summit DD and the Springfield School System. Aspire empowers youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to realize their full potential by helping them to develop their talents, traits, and abilities. The program enables students to engage in career exploration, social and self-determination training and work experiences that match their personal preferences and interests.

The celebration was kicked off by Drew Williams, Director of Summit DD’s Community Supports and Development Department “Thanks to the students and the families that participate in this program. When we approached Springfield with this idea they were immediately on board…we’ve seen a lot of great support from the students who were interested and we appreciate the parents for allowing their children to go out in the community to learn job skills. We would also like to thank Springfield Administration…these types of partnerships are really important to Summit DD.” Williams also thanked Koinonia for working the program on behalf of Summit DD.

According to Julie Abiecunas, Director of Koinonia Enterprises, “we’ve had a really great school year.” Abiecunas recognized Koinonia’s “boots on the ground” staff which included Transition Services Supervisor Matthew Magaw and Community Instructor Allison LeBorgne “these are the people working day to day in the schools, working with the students, doing the assessments and the reports, all the things that keep the program running.” The event was hosted by the Iron Grill in Akron. The Iron Grill is also an employment partner of Aspire program.

Matthew Magaw was next to address the audience. Magaw recognized Guys Party Center, “during our time there we do various kitchen work and prep.” Discount Drug Mart was also recognized, “we do general cleaning, returning merchandise to the shelves, and stocking.” Giant Eagle, Big Lots, Spins Bowling Alley and McDonald’s. “Not only did they allow the students to practice and explore job skills, but they were also part of our first placement,” exclaimed Magaw.

The Aspire program will continue at Springfield Highs School for the 2019 – 2020 school year.

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