Mark’s Opening Remarks Spring 2018

Dear Friends of ACT,

When I wrote here last, I mentioned we’d have some exciting new changes to announce soon. But I offered few clues about what was going to happen.

Now it’s time to pull back the curtain on two new developments. I expect more to follow.

First, ACT has established a new after-school program that, for now, serves middle schoolers. We’re providing services during the local school year. The program, ASYP (After School Youth Program), offers individualized, goal-oriented services to students with disabilities who want and benefit from structured after-school activities.

Participants have been trying new community activities, working on individual outcomes, and having fun. They like the MAC (Missouri Athletic Center), Going Bonkers (, exploring Columbia’s parks, and the arcade. They’ve toured a movie theater, a fire station, KOMU radio, and will soon be checking out Clear 99 radio and a local bank.

A variety of volunteer opportunities will soon be an option for participants, too.

Glenn recently told us that what he’d experienced in ASYP was “the best day ever.” One parent commented, “It is such a relief to finally have an after school program made for my child.”

This program has been well-received by families. We are assisting young people as they work to accomplish their personal goals. Participants are out in the community belonging and participating.

This is just one example of changes, exciting changes that are unfolding here. There’s a palpable positive energy happening right now at ACT. It’s fueling a lot of activity.

The team working here is terrific. When I listen to these talented people and the stakeholders we serve, and then stay out of their way, some pretty great things happen.

That leads to another announcement.

I will be retiring at the end of the fiscal year. My last day at ACT will be June 29th, 2018.

Forty years at ACT, 34 as Executive Director, have been a great run. It’s time to hand the reins over to someone else.

The Board of Directors has formed a search committee. The goal is to have a new Executive Director in place before the end of the fiscal year.

ACT is in a great place. The timing could not be better for someone else to step in to this role.

We are led by a strong administrative team. We have management and supervisory staff who put it all on the line every day. And we have direct support professionals who provide services with a level of passion and commitment that is truly remarkable.

(If you’re curious, there’s no bucket list to chase after. I feel great. I’m just looking forward to spending more time with family and friends, and having more availability to pursue other interests.)

To everyone I’ve had the opportunity to work with:  thank you. I have been blessed to pursue my life’s work, my passion. Looking back, I am content. I have no regrets. It has been a high privilege to share these days, years, and decades with such remarkable people.

With much gratitude,


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