Spotlight on: Day Waiver Providers
By Melissa Ricker
There seems to always be new initiatives in the field of Developmental Disabilities. At the Allen County Board of DD, we are doing our best to keep up with these trends. To better meet these challenges and changes, we added some new personnel in the past year. Last fall, we added ‘Employment Navigator’ Service and Support Associates, who work hard to help individuals find community employment and meet them where they are on the path to employment. We also recently added a Community Integration Specialist. That role is not up and running independently quite yet; however, we are on our way to meeting the ever-changing initiatives of our field.
This month, we want to share all the day service options that exist in Allen County. Most people do not know that individuals we serve have so many options in the Lima/Allen County region. Approximately 400 individuals served by the Allen County Board of DD choose to spend their days receiving Day Waiver Services. Those not familiar with the DD system may wonder what in the world this means. Let us take a moment to share with you!
When an individual has graduated high school, they have the option of enrolling on a Medicaid waiver, if they are interested in a community job or receiving some type of day service. A Medicaid waiver allows them access to a number of services, one of which is Day Waiver Services. (It can be a bit more complicated than that, but for ease of explanation let’s go with this description!) Day Waiver Providers offer a variety of services. They help people improve their self-help skills, socialization skills, and most notably, their employability skills. Day Waiver Providers help people get more involved in their communities. The following Day Waiver Providers currently provide supports to those we serve. Here is a snapshot of what they do, as told through the eyes of our Services and Support Associates (SSAs):
Benchmark Human Services is located in St. Marys, Ohio. They offer a unique sensory room, and they are great at getting people involved in activities at their building. They also like to get people involved in their community and are always “on the go.” (Soon, they’ll be opening a Lima location to better meet the needs of those they serve in Allen County.)
Bittersweet at Betty’s Farm is in Lima, Ohio. They specialize in supporting individuals with autism. Bittersweet encourages community relations through volunteering. Their staff is dedicated to providing a structured setting to meet the needs of the people they work with, and they are always offering support for families.
COR Services is located in Findlay, Ohio. Their staff and programs have allowed people to stay active during the day, while becoming part of a whole new community. The few individuals from Allen County who attend this program love participating in it. They get to meet new people and build new relationships.
Friends of Leroy Brown is located in Lima and operated by IHS, Inc. They provide individuals the awesome opportunity to work with dogs. The people who are part of this Day Service absolutely love it! While FOLB teaches participants how to train and handle dogs, they also help support people in their own personal growth to meet their goals in life.
Goodwill Easter Seals of Miami Valley (GWESMW) has several different options in Lima. One is a retirement option for older individuals who are not as interested in community activities and employment. Even though it is difficult to leave the facility at times due to the needs of the individuals, GWESMV finds ways to bring parts of the community to the participants. On Thursdays they have a dog, Harmony, visit and it greatly brightens everyone’s day! GWESMV also offers employment and transportation opportunities in Allen County.
Marimor Industries, Inc. is located in Lima. They offer a unique blend of many options for individuals. They go above and beyond to offer special events for people to be involved outside of typical day hours. Marimor offers the opportunity to build work skills while getting paid. Employment Services and transportation to community jobs are also a very big part of what Marimor offers.
RMS of Ohio has three locations in Lima. They are always willing to put that little extra in to personalize an individual’s experience. They are always offering new opportunities and challenge themselves to have meaningful community involvement. RMS is never afraid to venture out of town to offer a new experience to those they serve.
Strive@CRSI provides day services to individuals living in an ICF and/or on a waiver. They provide activities that help develop and maintain fine motor, gross motor, and cognitive skills. Along with activities, they practice skills needed for when an individual is ready for the workforce. Currently, they volunteer once a week at a local church to assist with produce distribution to the community, and they schedule many other activities in the community.
We Can Too and Capabilities are located in St. Marys, Ohio. They are always busy with work and offer their employees a competitive wage. They are a stepping stone towards community employment. They also offer an integrated work environment with employees who do not have developmental disabilities. Capabilities provides various job placement services and continually focuses on the specialized training a person would need for success in employment.
There are so many opportunities in this area for those looking for employment supports or day services. Each provider has something unique to offer, and we appreciate them more than they will ever know. It is evident through their commitment and hard work that they do more than just provide a service; they create a positive impact in the lives of the people they work with each and every day.
During the coming months and years, we will all be continually challenged to help individuals create their own community. Recently, we heard a quote that ‘community’ should be a verb, not just a noun. It is not just a place to be, live or visit. True community, as a verb, is actively participating in the community a person desires; engaging and contributing for the most personal fulfillment. It is much more than going to the grocery or out to eat. It is actively engaging in what is important to each of us where we live, work, and play.
In future articles, we will share more about Employment Navigation and Community Integration here at ACBDD. If you or your loved one is interested in touring one of these Day Waiver Programs or learning more, please contact your SSA. If you do not have an SSA, call our Intake Office at 419-221-1385.