Aspire: Building Partnerships through Social Entrepreneurship and Empowerment
Aspire started in the basement of a church in the western suburbs of Chicago in 1960. Concerned parents of children with developmental disabilities were brought together by the challenges of providing adequate support to help their children live independently and thrive as other children did. These parents were discouraged by medical professionals who at the time suggested their children would not lead normal lives, and therefore, parents were counseled to send their children to homes that would keep them isolated from the rest of society. Refusing to believe this was their only option, these parents pooled their resources to start what we know today as Aspire. Fifty years later, Aspire has helped thousands of children and families throughout the Chicagoland area and continues to expand its presence and offer services throughout the region.