March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Locally, the Richland County Board of Developmental Disabilities (Richland Newhope), has big plans for the month that include numerous events to draw attention to their organization and the work it does in the community.
Statewide and across the nation, organizations devoted to serving individuals with developmental disabilities are holding special events to raise public awareness of the many abilities people have, regardless of their disability.
“Richland Newhope is committed to supporting people with disabilities to be valued members of the community,” said Richland Newhope, Manager of Community Education Troy Smith. “We believe that all people with disabilities should be treated as equals and be empowered to speak up for what they want by serving as leaders and working together as a team with all members of the community.”
Richland Newhope kicked off its recognition of March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month during the February 27th regular meeting of the Richland County Commissioners. A proclamation presented by the Commissioners is one of 10 to be issued in recognition of the month-long observance. Richland Newhope values and truly appreciates the on-going support received from the Commissioners and Mayors that serve across Richland County.
The focus of this year’s proclamation was self-advocacy. People First Officers Mitch B., Michael P., Diane N., and Missy D. were present for the proclamation. People First of Ohio is a statewide organization that works with state legislators to build relationships with other advocacy groups, policymakers, and state agencies. Their purpose is to build relationships and promote interactions among people who make decisions affecting funding and services in local communities and across the state.
March activities include the 1st Annual Bowling Event on March 4 at Lex Lanes, the 19th Annual Community Awareness Day on March 12 at The Life Celebration Reception Center, a booth at the Richland Area Chamber’s Business Expo at Fairhaven Hall on March 19, and the 3rd Annual Step Into Spring – a free fun walk on March 27 at the Richland Mall. The walk is being held in conjunction with Richland Public Health, Richland County Children Services, and the Richland Mall.
Other activities to mark Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month include displays at the main branch of the Mansfield-Richland County Public Library and the Richland Mall, and billboards around the community.
Richland Newhope either funds services for, or provides supports to, more than 1,600 Richland County residents through early intervention, transition services, day services, supported employment, residential, therapy, family support, and service and support administration programs.