New use found for old Overton building

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By VERNON ROBISON

Progress

A group of volunteers pose in front of the Overton Bishop’s Storehouse building ahead of a cleanup project. Aspire has received permission to use the old building as a temporary center for adult residents with special needs in the community. PHOTO BY VERNON ROBISON / Le Progrès

An older building near downtown Overton is being redeveloped and updated for new use.

The Overton Bishop’s Storehouse, located at 161 W. Virginia Ave. just behind the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers building, becomes the headquarters of a new nonprofit that will aim to provide direct services to adults with developmental delays and their families.

On Saturday, December 4, a group of volunteers showed up at 7 am to do a cleaning project in the building to prepare it for a renovation aimed at becoming the “support chalet” for the Aspire Center.

Aspire is organized as a non-profit organization by a group of local special education teachers, school social workers, parents and community members. The goal is to provide respite services, vocational training and resource support to adults with special needs and their families.

Aspire board chair Nancy Postma, who has worked for many years teaching special needs education in local schools, said the group has identified a need for students with special needs who reach the goal. age 22 and graduating from public school programs.
“There is really nothing left for them in the community, in terms of resources and support, beyond the age of 22,” Postma said. “This is the hole that we seek to fill with Aspire.”

Postma said a preliminary needs assessment in the community identified more than 60 families who would benefit from the service.
“So there is definitely a need there,” she said. “These adults need something to do to continue their education and development. And their families need support and help.

Once fully operational, a typical day at the Aspire Center can mirror a traditional school day. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. a variety of daytime activities would be offered, including appropriate vocational training, life skills, recreational engagement and more.

Aspire board member Greg Winzenried, a local school psychologist, said a variety of different offerings have been considered at the center as it has developed and grown.

“We talked about raised beds, hydroponics, craft centers, outdoor activity structures for gross motor development therapy and more,” he said. “There are a lot of possibilities and many of them could be opportunities for participants to give back to the community in small ways. “

Winzenreid said Aspire hopes to partner with other existing organizations both local and regional. There is already a strong relationship with the local parent support group REACH. And there would also be an opportunity to cross-support with the special education programs of local public schools, he said.

“We also hope to partner with other existing organizations like Opportunity Village, Special Olympics, Crimson Counseling, Danville and Rural Regional Services,” said Winzenried. “We have been in contact with Marilyn Kirkpatrick who has expressed her support for our cause. And we also welcome participation and volunteers from the Moapa Valley community. “

But before the vision becomes a reality, there is still a long way to go, said Winzenried. The group plans to renovate the old Bishop Storehouse Building to be fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It would also open up the space for more than one classroom setting for the students.

“This building has been here since the 1930s or 1940s,” said Winzenried. “It was built for the purpose of sharing resources with those in need in the community. He has fulfilled various roles over the decades. And we appreciate that we can use it as, at least, a temporary home for Aspire. “

“There’s still a lot of work to do, but we obviously have a lot of help getting started,” said Winzenried, pointing to the group of about half a dozen volunteers who showed up to help out on Saturday morning.
Other members of the Aspire Board of Directors include Kyra Abbott, Secretary; Theresa Paystrup, Treasurer; Erika Whitmore, Director; Byron Mills, Director; MaryLee Winzenried, consultant; and Larry Moses, consultant.

Aspire has posted an online survey for local families interested in potentially receiving support from the center. This survey can be accessed by scanning the QR code below with a smartphone.

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