Marisa Nuñez, Marisa Hair, Long Island City, NY

Annie Tao and Martin Ayala

Always Keep Progressing

Miami, FL

“Because of Ascendus we were able to continue operations. Ascendus gave us an affordable interest rate, allowed us to offer competitive pay packages, and overall, helped us grow our business.”

Annie and Martin Bring Innovative Therapy to Miami

 

Annie and Martin are the owners of Always Keep Progressing, a practice that includes occupational, music, art, and speech therapy for children with disabilities. Annie always had an interest in music and in therapy. She trained as a pianist for over twenty years and is a speech pathologist. Her dream was to be able to combine those two passions under one roof.

When working as a speech pathologist, Annie began to create ideas on how music could help children with their therapy but found it difficult to incorporate her ideas into traditional speech pathology settings. Although many children with disabilities need more than one form of therapy, the therapies are often segregated. This makes it incredibly difficult to incorporate new ideas within each discipline. This also forces parents of patients to visit a multitude of therapists at different locations. In addition, many patients that are on Medicaid do not have access to these forms of therapy. “These forms of therapy are very necessary for the growth and development of children with disabilities.”

Annie wanted to ease the burden on families in her care, provide for those that couldn’t afford it, and revolutionize the therapy industry. “I want to provide the best for those who don’t necessarily have the chance for these things.” With that in mind, she created Always Keep Progressing in 2019.

 

EXPANDING THERAPY TREATMENTS

In September of 2021, Martin joined Always Keep Progressing to work on the business aspect of the organization. Annie handled the therapy and the patients, and Martin handled the financial and marketing aspects of the company. After only a year and a half, they had more than doubled their clients and staff to over 50 clients and 25 staff members. To keep up with the demand of their clinic, they needed to expand.

Annie and Martin reached out to Ascendus and received two loans from the Southern Opportunity and Resilience Fund. With their first loan, they continued paying their employees during the pandemic and offered competitive pay packages. “Working with insurance, you often need to wait weeks or months to get paid out. The first loan offered working capital for us to offer our employees’ salaries and benefits on time.”

With their second loan, Annie and Martin expanded their clinic and bought new therapy equipment. “Therapy materials cost between $400 – $1,000 each. These materials helped us to provide better quality care, which leads to better therapy, assessments, and growth. People saw what we could offer with the new equipment, and it helped us to get more clients. We have a waiting list now because of all these new materials.”

“Because of Ascendus we were able to continue operations. Ascendus gave us an affordable interest rate, allowed us to offer competitive pay packages, get on top of bills, stay afloat, buy new therapy equipment, and overall, grow our business.””

One of the new therapy equipment pieces Annie and Martin bought is a rock-climbing wall, pictured above. “The rock-climbing wall helps with fine motor functions such as grip, without grip clients can’t hold a pencil or a spoon. This also helps children with Autism and other diagnoses to follow and understand the concept of directions, and it can be used as a play reward for kids as well.”

 

THE FUTURE OF ALWAYS KEEP PROGRESSING

Today, Annie and Martin have served over 400 families across Miami and are opening a second location. They are also incorporating feeding therapy and expressive therapy. “We want to improve kids lives and this is why we do it.”

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