LANSING, Mich. — A local non-profit organization called Asppire of Mid-Michigan works with adults with disabilities.
For communities who have disabilities, the pandemic has presented a different, unique set of challenges.
Maria Peak, the leaders of the Asppire organization, work to provide a safe space to their members.
Leaders of Asppire walking group Maria and Steve Peak says they have seen their members “develop friendships, develop social skills, get more acclimated in the community, and really engage in their entire life and enriching that.”
Maria says the pandemic has been financially devastating to their organization and they have had to adapt to the changes to make sure their members are still supported.
“Most of our meetings are still on Zoom. But, because of being able to social distance and walking and getting outside, we can do a few. We [are] walking and we have a gardening group,” said Maria.
Some members say the pandemic has cost them their jobs. They are unsure when they will work again.
“I worked inside. Like, taking out trash and taking care of trays,” said member Christopher Hibbs. “I had to be let go.”
“Started a new job at Hubbard Hall at Michigan State University and I had only been working there for two months when the pandemic began,” said member Steve Russell. “Then, I was out of a job.”
Most of the members say while they do not enjoy following the coronavirus safety restrictions such as wearing masks, but they understand its importance.
“Everyone gets tired of wearing masks, but we have to,” said member Corey Bennett.
Another Asppire member echoes similar sentiments.
“I prefer people to wear masks because I feel unsafe,”said Asppire member Matthew McDonald.
Members express that Asppire has been helpful to them during this stressful time.
Asppire plans to keep providing services to the Mid-Michigan community all while keeping their members active and involved.
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