Ginnie Curtis Celebrates 40 Years with Fraser

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Over her last 40 years at Fraser, Ginnie Curtis met Muriel Humphrey, participated in a hot air balloon ride and helped a woman realize her dream of getting married. 

Ginnie is now the Senior Operations Manager for Community Living. She figures in one way or another, she has helped open and support all 27 Fraser Supervised Living homes.

In 1979, Ginnie began her career as a direct support professional, then known as a weekend live-in house counselor in our first group homes. The homes were then called the Muriel Humphrey Residences.

Ginnie was working at what would become U.S. Bank in the human resources department, but decided she wanted a part-time job on the weekends. She saw a newspaper ad for the Fraser position.

“I felt like I wanted a job in social services, and I knew I wanted a job that was meaningful,” Ginnie says.

She quickly learned she loved working with the individuals in the group homes. At the time, there were just three homes with 12 individuals living in each home. It was easy to host group activities that allowed people to socialize.

The staff held an annual picnic at the homes for family and friends. Ginnie remembers how special it was speaking with Jean Fraser, Louise Whitbeck Fraser’s daughter, at a picnic. Jean was hearing impaired and working with her led Louise to teach other children with special needs.

It was at a picnic that Ginnie met Muriel Humphrey. She says Muriel was honored to have the group homes named after her. Muriel was the wife of former Minnesota Senator and Vice President Hubert Humphrey and a politician in her own right.

The Humphreys were instrumental in getting the homes built. After their granddaughter Vicky was born with Down syndrome, they became advocates for people with special needs. Vicky attended Fraser School®, and the Humphreys became lifelong supporters of Fraser.

In 1981, Ginnie was hired as a full-time live-in counselor. Just a year later, she became a program coordinator at the homes. During the early ’90s, she wrote the policy manual for our residential program.

Then in 1995, a state policy change required that group homes must be smaller, four-person homes. In just six months, Ginnie helped find and furnish nine new homes and move the 36 individuals into their new residences.

As her position evolved over the years, so too has her view on life. Ginnie has learned building and nurturing our relationships is crucial to our quality of life. Through her work in Supervised Living, she has helped support many individual’s relationships with parents, siblings, friends and significant others.

Over the years, Fraser has supported several long-term goal-planning programs for individuals. Through one program, Ginnie worked with a woman who set a goal to learn more independent living skills so that she could get married. The young woman married her boyfriend, and they moved in together. Ginnie was happy to help her achieve her dreams.

Ginnie says people sometimes ask her why she has stayed at Fraser. She admits she doesn’t like change, but there are many other reasons she has stayed at Fraser for 40 years.

“It is the people and the friendships I’ve developed at my job,” Ginnie says. “What I also appreciate about Fraser is that it’s so diversified and so committed to growing and improving.”

Ginnie says she has no plans to leave Fraser anytime soon.