1963-2023 Celebrating WACOSA's 60th Anniversary!Celebrating 60 years of creating possibilities for all abilities!
60 Years – 60 Stories
Throughout 2023 we will be adding 60 inspiring and uplifting stories to our 60th Anniversary webpage. Do you have a story you’d like to share? Contact our Sales & Marketing Director, Ann Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 320-257-5191.
Meet Kimberly (Kimmy)
Make no mistake, Kimmy is an absolute fashionista. You can count on her to be the best dressed with fabulous sunglasses, headbands, scarves, and pearls. Kimmy has been teaching us all about high fashion since 2018. Kimmy enjoys spending time at WACOSA doing activities that offer her personal growth, improved dexterity, and cognitive growth with activities such as puzzles, sorting, and more. Kimmy’s very favorite thing in the world however is time spent with her mom.
Amelia has been with WACOSA since 2006 and has had a variety of great work opportunities over the years. Currently, Amelia works with the senior population and is enjoying it. Amelia states, “I like that the residents always smile at me.” One of the best parts of the job according to Amelia is the increased independence and self-assurance it has given her. When Amelia isn’t working she enjoys traveling to Duluth and she loves animals, especially cats!
Mario started with WACOSA in 2020 when his long run of employment came to an end, and he just needed a little boost of WACOSA support to get him back in the employment arena. When asked about his experience with WACOSA Mario replied, “I felt listed too, I just felt good about the whole thing.” Mario shares that staff has not only been helpful in finding the right employment, but in working out transportation schedules and all the ins and outs of getting too and from his job. Speaking of jobs, Mario works in the food service industry. When asked about his new job Mario confides, “It’s the best job I’ve ever had. Everything has always worked out.”
Alex is just one of those people you tend to be drawn to from the moment you meet them. You can often find Alex greeting all who come to WACOSA with a big smile and a high five. Alex likes his job for many reasons, but a big one is that he can use his wages to buy ice cream. (Which I think is why many of us work…) One of Alex’s favorite things to do at WACOSA is the virtual music classes. Alex is a huge Johnny Cash fan and can often be heard singing Ring of Fire, his favorite song. At home, Alex helps out around the farm and loves to spend time with his dog Millie.
Connie, who has been with WACOSA for eight years says her favorite thing about WACOSA is the people, both staff and her peers. Some of her favorite things to do outside of WACOSA is reading true crime novels, watching TV, and writing. Connie in April of 2023 became a published author, with some of her work appearing in the book Not All 90s Kids Can Be Admitted. (Book available for sale at https://www.amazon.com/Not-All-90s-Kids-Admitted/dp/B0C1J3FG7Q ) Connie also has been gaining videography skills, working with a WACOSA team to learn media skills.
I like my friends. My favorite job was cutting rope for Frigidaire. I like to do vials and recycle Christmas lights. I like my friendships.
I go to dance class (Connect Academy) and I do my own TV show! My show is my own personal view about current events and sports. I started editing my show with Mike. If it weren’t for Mike I would just be programming. It gives me a reason to come to WACOSA every morning because I’m learning new things. I like the camaraderie because I love talking to people. For the past 26 years it’s been a big part of my life; without it, I’d be at home watching TV.
I have been to Day at the Capitol more than once and have participated in tours at WACOSA. I also narrated the WACOSA play Fill the Castle!
Jimmy has been with WACOSA for 6 years and enjoys participating in many work and life enrichment activities. Jimmy is ready with a smile to welcome all he meets.
Jimmy shares, “I like vacuuming, dance class, getting presents and I love my anniversary and getting my certificate! I like working with my Client Manager Bonnie. I like painting with Gabby. I like seeing Mike during computer classes. I like Gaming class with Sarah. I do this at home after WACOSA on the computer!”
For 33 years Leif has been part of the WACOSA family. Along the way, Leif has had many work and life enrichment experiences. Most rewarding is watching him learn and grow, ultimately becoming the man he is today.
Leif says, “I like Miller Bingo, working on the laundry job and recycling. I can take a break whenever I like. I like my staff Teri and my friend Amy. I like coming to WACOSA because people understand sometimes I need quiet and that I like to eat in the smaller lunchroom.”
Erin, who has been with WACOSA since 2019, enjoys greeting everyone she meets. Erin’s favorite reasons for coming to WACOSA are the opportunity to network with her peers and staff at WACOSA. One of Erin’s hobbies is cooking, so she has become popular at lunch time. Everyone wants to know what Erin brought for lunch, and of course, everyone jokes that they want to trade their lunch with Erin because hers always looks so good.
While at WACOSA Erin very enjoys working on her skills through participation in WACOSA’s Connect Academy online classes, reading, looking at flashcards, arts and crafts, and going out in the community to make new connections.
Jill came to WACOSA in 1996 and started her time with us in the South Program area doing various production jobs. Now, Jill enjoys her time with the WACOSA Senior program. Jill’s favorite thing about WACOSA, in her retirement, is spending quality time with friends. When not at WACOSA she enjoys puzzles, reading and watching TV; especially her favorite soap, General Hospital. Jill always has a smile on her face, which is contagious, and she loves a good corny joke.
Mace has been with WACOSA since 2006 and takes great pride in the work he does. It is common for Mace to be described as caring, loving, and self-driven. Mace doesn’t require an alarm clock, he is up, ready, and eager to start the day as he waits for the WACOSA van to pick him up. Mace has an amazing family and his siblings are in constant contact with him, including his “big brother,” Dale Simonson, a retired teacher, who has a weekly call with Mace; a relationship that has continued since Mace was 14 years old. Mace enjoys traveling with Friendship Ventures and his family.