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Lasting Connections

Updated: Aug 18, 2020

Chris Essary earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from California State University, Stanislaus, and began his Aspiranet career in 1987 as an Excell Center House Parent. During his three decades at Aspiranet, he has served in a variety of roles including Regional Director, Group Home Administrator, Director of Operations, House Manager, and Activities Director.

Today, he is the Director of Aspiranet’s Residential Division. “We joke that if you work here two years, you’re going to be here forever,” Chris says. There’s something about changing kids’ lives.”

“The core value most important in my daily residential work is respect,” says Chris. I am inspired by our staff’s dedication to helping kids turn their lives around. I like to come to work every day in a job that improves lives. We have great people who work here and I take pride in our contribution to bettering our communities.”

The relationships Chris forms with many of the youth he calls “our boys” endure for years. Among those he still hears from is Ralph, who was a resident more than 25 years ago.

After graduating from Excell, Ralph went on to enlist in the army, and before he was deployed to Iraq, he sent a letter to Chris expressing his gratitude for the program. “Ralph wanted us to know if something happened how important we were to him,” Chris said. “It touched my heart.”

After returning from his duty in Iraq, Ralph returned to Excell Center for a visit. Twenty-five years melted away as Chris and Ralph shared stories of the good old days. Ralph is now living in Idaho with his beautiful wife and three children.

It’s these kinds of connections, Chris said, that make it all worthwhile.


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