Richland Newhope is celebrating Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in March and launching Always There – a yearlong campaign to recognize the 50th anniversary of Ohio’s County Boards of Developmental Disabilities.
Statewide, and across the nation, organizations devoted to serving individuals with developmental disabilities are holding special events in March to raise public awareness of the many abilities people have, regardless of disability.
The Always There campaign marks the founding of Ohio’s 88 county boards by the Ohio General Assembly in 1967. The theme reflects the continuity of support, promotion of opportunity, and history of partnership county boards have offered to people with developmental disabilities and their families past, present, and in the future. “March is the perfect opportunity for us to reflect on our history and look toward the future while building awareness and understanding about the individuals we support and the importance of providing opportunities that more fully integrate people with disabilities into the community,” said Richland Newhope Director of Community Relations Jane Imbody.
Richland Newhope kicked off its recognition of March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month during the March 2 regular meeting of the Richland County commissioners. Speakers included Michel Smith, individual consultant team leader, and Kodey Kreglow, an individual consultant and employment navigation specialist. They discussed Richland Newhope’s efforts to help youth with disabilities transition from school to adulthood. They were joined by Kendra Roberts, an intervention specialist/STEP (Specialized Transition Educational Program) instructor at Pioneer Career & Technology Center. Several individuals who receive Newhope services as well as staff also attended the kickoff. A proclamation presented by the commissioners to Tammi Black, owner of Treeder’s at the Richland County administration building, is one of 10 to be issued by local communities through the month-long observance.
Other activities planned for March include: the 24th Annual Richland County Third Grade Coloring Contest Awards Luncheon on March 10 at Richland Newhope’s Early Childhood Center; the 16th Annual Community Awareness Day on March 16 at Richland Newhope Industries, Inc. (RNI) and several other locations; the 7th Annual “Bringing the Elements Together Art & Talent Show” at the Richland Mall on March 24; displays at the main branch of the Mansfield-Richland County Public Library and the Richland Mall; a message on the electronic sign at Richland Public Health; five billboards; and the distribution of nearly 5,000 pamphlets to 66 Richland County churches.
In 2016, Richland Newhope (Richland County Board of Developmental Disabilities) supported more than 1,700 individuals through early intervention, preschool, adult, residential, therapy, transportation and other family support programs.