Stryker – “Words matter” was the message from Bruce Abell, QRC’s Executive Director, at the center’s monthly Non-Profit Board meeting. Abell told the Board that Ohio Governor John Kasich recently signed two developmental disabilities related bills, HB158 and HB483. HB158, effectively changes all references to the “R” word in state documents to, “person with an intellectual disability.”
Abell shared with Board Members an article that outlined the passage of the bill, sponsored by State Representative John Dever of Medeira. Dever attributed passage of the bill to Ohio Director of Developmental Disabilities John Martin and Deputy Director Zach Haughawout. In 2009, Ohio removed the term MR from its Department of MRDD title, making it the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. Abell stated that this was “the next step in removing the “R” word from all state language.”
Governor Kasich also signed HB483 moving oversight of the Early Intervention (EI) programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities under the sole supervision of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. Director Martin said the move will facilitate a seamless delivery system for those just entering the system until adulthood. Prior to the signing, both the Ohio Department of Mental Health and the Department of Developmental Disabilities were responsible for supervising EI.
Abell stated, “Ohio has made great gains in terms of services and employment for individuals with disabilities. We’ve moved from the bottom of the list to the top 10 in the nation.”
The Board also learned of the cancellation of QRC’s August 1, 2016, Inservice Training session. The training will be scheduled for a later date.
Program Manager, Shannon Zellers, told the Board Members about the various programs provided to individuals being served at QRC. Folks participating in the Community Clubs recently visited Grand Rapids, Ohio, where they had picnic lunches, went shopping, and enjoyed ice cream at the local dairy barn. The Garden Club members have been picking raspberries and repainting the outdoor equipment utilized in their activities. Art Club members have been learning to use a sewing machine, making coin purses which they later decorated.
Rachel Lange, Northwest Employment Services (NWES) Manager, shared with the Board that the NWES department is currently serving 39 individuals in various capacities including job development, coaching, work skills training, and the Summer Youth Work Experience (SYWE) program. Participants in the SYWE program have been experiencing work in the QRC’s Transportation Department. Participants have been learning to wash and service transportation equipment, as well as changing tires on the vehicles. Lange stated that each person spent the first week of the program in a classroom setting learning a variety of job interviewing skills that concluded with practice interviews.
In other business, the Board approved the application for grant funding to purchase two vans to be utilized to transport program participants.
The next regular meeting of the Non-Profit Board will be August 23, 2016, in the Stryker conference room.