1515 Memorial Drive

Manitowoc, WI 54220

(920) 684-5575

Fax: (920) 684-1915

Mon - Fri: 8:00 - 4:30

Ascend Services, Inc. is celebrating their 65th Anniversary

In recognition of this milestone, Ascend Services wishes to invite the public to come in for tours, learn about their history and all the new changes that Ascend offers to individuals with disabilities.  Attendees will have the opportunity to witness their diverse programs in action, see samples of their work and, most importantly, see the impact that our community and services has on some of the people served under their mission.
They will be unveiling a historical mural in their front entryway, painted by Erin Labonte and Don Krumpus.    There will also be a video depicting highlights of their remarkable history as shared by the family of the founders.  Video credits to Lakecoast Local. 
It all Began with a Wreath 65 Years AgoDeanna Genske, Executive Director, stated, “We may have changed our name to better reflect our vision, but we still honor the mission set out by our Founders, Bj and Leslie Halvorsen.”  When society was isolating and institutionalizing individuals with Down Syndrome and other noticeable uniqueness; several people in Manitowoc County felt it was time for a change. The sense of dignity and personal achievement was often procured by people through meaningful work. In the fall of 1957, and the holidays approaching…wreaths came to mind as a symbol of peace and ongoing hope. The holiday wreath is circular and has no end. This was something Bjorn (Bj) Halvorsen, who was mildly affected by cerebral palsy, was an expert at producing since he had been making holiday wreaths for his family, their neighbors, and friends ever since he was twelve years old. Many leaders in the ARC organization endorsed the idea and authorized a $25.00 donation to the wreath-maker for the purchase of red ribbon to decorate the wreaths. October 1957, Halverson, the experienced wreath-maker, and his teenaged friends ventured into the woods to gather pinecones to adorn the wreaths. In November 1957, eight individuals responded to an invitation to engage in this moneymaking enterprise.  By the end of the holiday season, numerous households in Manitowoc County were decorated with "the best wreaths in town" and producers proudly went Christmas shopping with $12.50 earned cash in their pockets.
The public is cordially invited to join them at their Open House on October 12th either between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. or between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.   October is also National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) and they will host a 65th Anniversary Employer Recognition Reception on Thursday, October 20, 2022 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. to recognize the area businesses that partner with Ascend and provide work opportunities to their clients.
“We are very thankful and appreciative of the businesses in Manitowoc County that partner with Ascend to provide work, utilize a Mobile Crew or hire an individual directly unto their payroll.”  stated Genske.
Please visit their webpage at www.ascendservicesinc.org to learn more about the celebratory events and RSVP to dgenske@ascendserviceinc.org
The mission of Ascend Services, Inc. is to promote individual growth by providing community experiences, education, and employment opportunities to individuals with disabilities.  Events like this help promote and further their mission.
Deanna Genske, Executive Director
Ascend Services, Inc
2818 Meadow Lane, Manitowoc
920-682-4663 ext 111