Theresa’s Year in Review- 2022
Here we are firmly in 2023. We hope our readers are doing well and keeping up on any resolutions made. Some years (like this one), I make about ten resolutions so maybe by the end of January one has stuck. It’s a little mind game we sometimes play, as lasting change can be made any day of the year. Here is to the next 12 months unfolding where you see hope, and accomplishment toward a goal you have set!
A couple of weeks ago, the DD Month Planning Committee met to begin the preparation for March ‘23 activities. Time goes so very fast from January to March 1st. At the end of this blog there will be a list of activities planned so far. We hope you can spend time with us, or maybe enhance your knowledge of why there is a Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month each year.
This blog is my delayed review of 2022. I love to share all we accomplished or did not quite get over the finish line. Maybe even what we have waiting for the new year. As I look back, I would use the word consistent, steady and stable for 2022. Yes, we had a construction project. Yes, we had two long-term employees retire that we all miss. Yes, we had some new employees join us due to a bit of turnover. Who doesn’t in this workforce climate? But all in all, we found a good footing and stayed there most of 2022.
One of the biggest accomplishments in 2022 was completing a renovation project for much of the Service and Support Administration (SSA) staff. This pre-empted a planned renovation of the Administration Building due to desperately needing office space after collaborating with the Allen County ESC in 2021. In 2008, a budget decision was made to close the pool at Marimor School. This was a very hard decision but due to many financial factors, the pool was filled in and this became much needed storage area since that time. The locker room and other parts of this area were made into restrooms several years ago. The final decision was to renovate the pool area into much needed office and meeting space. This allows us to continue the collaboration with the Allen County ESC with our slightly growing workforce in SSA. The Marimor School building is bustling all day long during the school year, so moving more than 20 employees to the back half of the building has proved to be a very efficient use of space.
The SSAs also began the long journey converting more than 500 hundred people to the new Ohio ISP. An Individual Service Plan is the guiding document for all services for people served ages 3 to end of life span. This goal will extend into 2024, but they are well on their way and should be finished by the end of 2023. We could not be happier with all their efforts in the testing phase and their positive attitudes in yet another time of change.
In Early Intervention, we hit a landmark serving over 200 children with active service plans. That milestone was never achieved in all the years we have offered this service. The Board first began EI in 1975. It is great news that families are finding our services, and connecting their children early in life. The EI team also held their very first Community Screening in downtown Lima at the Borra Center. We continue to look for ways to reach out to families. The training and competencies the EI staff achieve each year is not only amazing, but makes them a valuable resource whenever a question for a baby birth to age 3 comes up. I used their expertise often in 2022!
Another accomplishment in 2022 was offering a support group called Caregiver Connection. This group is primarily made up of parents who are caregivers to their adult children. However, all caregivers are welcome! There have been lots of learning with this group, a few tears, ideas flowing, and it even led to a special educational session attended by over 50 families to learn about all the aspects of estate and financial planning for a person with special needs.
A highlight of the year was dedicating the Butterfly Memorial Garden and hosting a butterfly release in May. Over 80 people attended to see the new butterfly for their loved one. It was great to see some families we have not seen since well before 2020. 96 people now have butterflies and it truly is a beautiful and peaceful place in the summer months. In 2023, we are already planning for 3 more poles and have many applications in hand for butterflies. All of that means we have lost loved ones; however, to share in that with the families means so much to us. I treasure what we have created and am committed to maintaining this place for years to come.
A team of employees who all serve children in various aspects also began a pilot project to find the best way to serve children ages 3-14. Families want and need different things from our Board when their children are in school. We now have a way to maintain contact but not place more strain on the time of families. We are open to continuing the mission of how to best support all children ages 3 to 21.
While this is not an exhaustive list and many more projects were completed, goals accomplished and/or lives enhanced, it is a small list of what took our time and attention in 2022. Thank you for being with us, helping us, donating to us or simply being part of our community.
As I mentioned above, here is the list of activities for March 2023:
March 1: DD Advocacy Day at Statehouse in Columbus.
March 3: Reverse Parade at the Board Offices at 2500 Ada Rd
March 8: PLAYTIME at the Lima Public Library
March 14: Community Developmental Screening at 2550 Ada Rd
March 18: E-Cycle Event at 2500 Ada Rd
March 24: Night at 19 at 1000 Fetter Rd
March 30: Annual Partnership Luncheon at Civic Center
By: Theresa Schnipke, Superintendent