Past Newsletters

Spring 2020

Published April 30th, 2020 in Past Newsletters

Introducing Southern Oregon Aspire’s New CEO, Sarah Collins

Sarah CollinsSouthern Oregon Aspire is excited to announce that Sarah Collins has been hired as our Chief Executive Officer. Sarah had been the interim CEO since August of 2019. Sarah brings a wide scope of industry experience to the role. Prior to becoming the interim CEO, Sarah was the Residential Director overseeing all of Southern Oregon Aspire’s residential programs.
Sarah grew up in California, then moved to Southern Oregon about the time she started High School. After graduating from Crater High School, Sarah began working as a Direct Support Professional for a local agency. Sarah has spent 19 years in the Intellectual/Developmental Disability field holding positions of Program Manager, Behavioral Specialist, Crisis Diversion Specialist, Instructor and Director.

We are excited to have Sarah as our CEO and look towards a bright future with her as our leader.

Dear concerned families, community members and providers:

COVID-19Southern Oregon Aspire is currently following our prevention procedures of what to do during an illness outbreak. We are continuously reviewing information about Covid-19 on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. Employees and supported individuals will be sent home if they are exhibiting Covid–19 symptoms.

We are cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that are frequently touched daily. This includes light switches, doorknobs, counter-tops, tables, handles, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, and the inside of vehicles with EPA recommended disinfectants which include: bleach solution of 5 tablespoons to 1 gallon water; alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol; and Clorox and Lysol brands of cleaner and disinfectants. We are doing what we can to ensure adequate hand hygiene supplies are readily available for staff and supported individuals to use. This includes soap, paper towels, and alcohol based hand sanitizers in all departments as well as alcohol based hand sanitizers in all vehicles.

Any implementation of quarantine measures will be at the direction of a qualified healthcare professional or public health agency, and you will be notified immediately. Aspire will continue to keep you updated via emails or social media, but please feel free to call should you have any questions.

Sarah Collins, CEO & Residential Director


KevinKevin is a quiet, young man. He works hard, does what is asked of him, and is pretty easygoing. Although he rarely speaks, and if asked directly would be unable to tell you exactly what HE wants…at least with words.

This is the story of Kevin and his transformation from a sheltered workshop into the world of community employment. Kevin used to work in a workshop with up to 50 other individuals with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities. In this workshop, Kevin dismantled computers and other electronic items to remove the pieces that were able to be recycled. Kevin seemed content and worked hard at his job. He showed up each day, went right to work; however, he didn’t really interact with many others due to his communication barrier. As times and programs changed, and the workshop was scaled back and eventually closed, Kevin was given the choice to try out working in the community. As you can imagine, this was such a different type of workplace, and he seemed apprehensive to try it. With encouragement and the full support of his family, Kevin agreed to “maybe”. Now, 9 months later, you wouldn’t recognize Kevin as the same person. Kevin’s face glows with joy and happiness while at work now. He has made strides in trying to communicate his thoughts and will interact with his peers freely and often. Kevin has recently tried his hand at asking a local business owner if they can hang a poster in their store window, which is HUGE. Kevin has definitely shown through his body language that he is happy with the change.

Message from our CEO, Sarah Collins

When you were growing up, what did you want to be? A teacher, a firefighter, a chef? Were you told as long as you worked hard, anything was possible? Would you have been free to be what you wanted to be? Would you have had unlimited opportunities? But what if you experienced intellectual or developmental disabilities? Would the same words of encouragement have been expressed? In the very recent past, the typical job for a person experiencing an intellectual or developmental disability (I/DD) was employment in a sheltered workshop, completing menial repetitive tasks surrounded by only their peers. Well not anymore. Southern Oregon’s Integrated Employment team is looking for typical job opportunities for individuals with I/DD to have meaningful interactions with co-workers, customers, and/or the general public. The employment of individuals with I/DD adds to the diversity of the workforce and general enrichment of communities. Individuals contribute greatly to the productivity, culture and diversity of the workplace. At Southern Oregon Aspire, we strive to find fulfilling jobs in the community for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We believe in Inspiring Unlimited Opportunities for People to Create the Life They Choose. With a Job Coach and the right supports, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities can work in their communities. Join us in our efforts to find meaningful jobs within our community.

Bids, Bottles, & Bites Fundraiser- CANCELLED

Due to the concerns over the COVID-19 crisis and the safety of the community and our employees, Southern Oregon Aspire has cancelled the Bids, Bottles, & Bites fundraiser for June 13th.

HOWEVER, we are hosting an online auction to raise funds and hopefully still reach our goal of $32,000. More Details Coming! To be added to the invite list, call 541-237-3021 or email

Thank you all for your support during this time of uncertainty. We hope you and your families are staying safe and healthy.

So Far This Year…

You have helped make a difference! See how your support has impacted your community!

4 Individuals have been hired in the community by local businesses – Thank you to those Employer Partners!

  • Southern Oregon Sanitation
  • Roe Motors
  • Climate City Brewery
  • Daily Courier

5 Apartments have new flooring at our Midstep Complex- Special Thank You to No Frills Flooring and the Four Way
Foundation for making this happen.

Did you know?

  • Did you know that Southern Oregon Aspire was founded in 1975 by a group of concerned parents?
  • Did you know that 20% of the population in Josephine County are people with disabilities?