68421 Hammond Road
St. Clairsville, OH 43950

1 740 695 0407


News Releases



Rising Above Trauma Focus of Training

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – People with disabilities experience more abuse than others, yet their needs often go undertreated or minimized, even though the trauma continues to have an impact on their lives years after the abuse occurred. This fact has led the BHN Alliance to adopt a Trauma-Informed Care approach to supporting people with disabilities and why it is bringing two leading authorities on trauma-informed care to its annual staff in-service in March.
Mary Vicario and Carol Hudgins-Mitchell of Cincinnati-based Finding Hope Consulting will address the gap in training available to communities by turning current brain chemistry research into practical interventions for people with developmental disabilities who have experienced trauma.

Through her ongoing trauma training at Harvard Medical School, Mary Vicario, LPCC-S takes the latest trauma research and works with her audience to share and develop interventions that can be used in a variety of settings by those who work most closely with traumatized people of all ages and abilities. She has trained on trauma worldwide for 25 years.

Carol Hudgins-Mitchell, M.Ed., LSW, NBCCH is a Certified Trauma Specialist who works with children and families around issues of trauma, grief and facilitating attachment.

Carol has over 30 years of experience in trauma treatment with a specialty in early childhood, relational and play therapy.
The BHN Alliance Staff In-Service will be held at Thoburn United Methodist Church in St. Clairsville on March 28th. Lunch will be provided for the all-day training.
A limited number of seats are available to provider partners across the Alliance. For more information, call Darlene Pempek at 740-695-0407, ext. 330.



Board of DD Announces Free and Reduced Price Meals Policy

ST. CLAIRSVILLE - The Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities today announced its 2016-2017 program year policy for free and reduced-price meals for students unable to pay the full price of meals served under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast. The Board office has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by any interested party.

The Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines will be used for determining eligibility. Children from families whose annual income is at or below the Federal Guidelines are eligible for free and reduced price meals.

Application forms are being distributed to all homes in a letter to parents or guardians. To apply for free and reduced-price benefits, households should fill out the application and return it to the school. Additional copies are available at the principal’s office in each school. A complete application is required. Households which currently receive Special Nutrition Assistance Program Benefits (SNAP, formally known as food stamps) or Ohio Works First (OWF) funds for a child must provide the child’s name, the SNAP or OWF case number and signature of an adult household member on the application. Households which do not receive SNAP or OWF funds must provide the names of all household members, the last four digits of the Social Security Number of the adult signing the application or state “none” if the adult does not have a Social Security Number, the amount and source of income received by each household member, (state the monthly income) and the signature of an adult household member. If any of this information is missing, the school cannot process the application.

FREE HEALTH CARE: Families with children eligible for school meals may be eligible for FREE health care coverage through Medicaid and/or Ohio’s Healthy Start & Healthy Families programs. These programs include coverage for doctor visits, immunizations, physicals, prescriptions, dental, vision, mental health, substance abuse and more. Please call 1-800-324-8680 for more information or to request an application. Information can also be found on the web at . Anyone who has an Ohio Medicaid card is already receiving these services.

The information provided on the application is confidential and will be used only for the purpose of determining eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by school or other program official. To discourage the possibility of misrepresentation, the application forms contain a statement above the space for signature certifying that all information furnished is true and correct. Applications are being made in connection with the receipt of federal funds. Schools or other officials may check the information on the application at any time during the school year. Deliberate misrepresentation of information may subject the applicant to prosecution under applicable state and federal laws.

Households will be notified of the approval or denial of benefits.

Foster children are categorically eligible for free meal benefits regardless of the household’s income. If a family has foster children living with them and wishes to apply for such meals or milk for them, contact the school for more information.

Under the provision of the policy, Sharon Wallace, Food Service Coordinator will review applications and determine eligibility. If a parent or guardian disagrees with the decision on the application or the result of verification, the decision may be discussed with the determining official on an informal basis. If a formal appeal is desired, the household has the right to a fair hearing. A fair hearing can be requested either orally or in writing from:

Pamela R. McCort, Hearing Official
Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities
68421 Hammond Road
St. Clairsville, OH 43950
740-695-0407 ext. 335

The policy contains an outline of the hearing procedure.

Households may apply for benefits any time during the school year. If a household is not currently eligible and if the household size increases or income decreases because of unemployment or other reasons, the family should contact the school to file a new application. Such changes may make the children of the family eligible for free or reduced-price benefits if the family income falls at or below the levels shown above.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or
(3) email:
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.


Trauma-Informed Care Training

Mark your calendars now for the annual DD Advocacy and Awareness Day that will be held March 8, 2017 in Columbus. This is an annual event at the Ohio Statehouse designed to educate and empower people with developmental disabilities, their families, and community members. The morning program features speeches from prominent advocates, state policymakers, and community leaders. The event is funded by a grant through the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council.

Pre-registration is required for attendance, and a limited number of tickets are available. Registration for the 2017 event has not opened.


School of Hope Ready for New Year

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – All School of Hope students in grades one through 12 will begin school on August 24, 2016. A full day of classes is scheduled with transportation available.

Cafeteria service is available at the school. Breakfast is free. Lunch prices are $2.75 for students with reduced lunches priced at 40 cents.

For information on the School of Hope, a service of the Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities, call 740-695-0407, ext. 355.

This institution is an Equal Opportunity Provider.


2015 Awareness Proclamation Issued

The Belmont County Commissioners issued a Proclamation marking Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month at its March 18th meeting. Representatives from The Hampton Inn, St. Clairsville, accepted the Proclamation and talked about the value workers with disabilities have brought to their company. Pictured from left: Commissioner Ginny Favede; Stephanie Work, General Manager of The Hampton Inn, St. Clairsville; Corey Baker, Hampton employee; Commissioner Matt Coffland; and Maxine Russell, Operations Manager of The Hampton. The Belmont County Commissioners marked Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month on March 18th by issuing a Proclamation encouraging all citizens to see the value people with disabilities bring to the community.

Make the Connection. Ready. Willing. Able. is the 2015 awareness theme in Belmont County. It emphasizes the importance of connections in every person's life, especially when seeking a job, a place to live or ways to volunteer and contribute.

Accepting the Proclamation were three people who represented the positive outcomes that occur when someone makes an employment connection.

Stephanie Work, General Manager of the Hampton Inn Wheeling/St. Clairsville, was accompanied by Operations Manager Maxine Russell and employee Corey Baker. Work noted that the Hampton has hired several workers with disabilities and they are valued employees.

"We couldn't be more pleased," Work said. "Corey is a great worker and we love having him work for us."

"The Hampton Inn understands the value of a diversified workforce," said Stephen L. Williams, Superintendent of the Belmont County Board of DD. "They made the connection, employed several people with disabilities and have found their company has benefitted."

In issuing the Proclamation, Commissioner Matt Coffland recognized Baker for being a role model for others with disabilities who are seeking jobs in the community. Commissioner Ginny Favede pointed out the significance of awareness activities that call attention to what people with disabilities are capable of doing and the important role the Board of DD plays in helping each person realize their goals and ambitions.






The Belmont County Commissioners issued a Proclamation in honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month at their October 22nd meeting. The Proclamation was presented to two local employers who understand the value of hiring workers of all abilities. Pictured at the reading of the Proclamation were, from left: Leslie Applegarth, New Horizon Animal Hospital; Commissioner Mark Thomas; Amanda Willis, New Horizon; Gary Holubeck and Jamie DeVault of St. Clair Lanes, Commissioner Ginny Favede and Commissioner Matt Coffland.

Commissioner Favede noted that raising awareness is key to helping people with disabilities prepare for and find jobs in the community where they work alongside everyone else and contribute to the local economy.

Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. The theme for 2014 is "Expect. Employ. Empower."





Belmont CBDD Superintendent Stephen L. Williams (pictured in back) is shown with the leadership of People First Belmont County at the chapter's 10th anniversary celebration. Williams presented a certificate of achievement for 10 years of outstanding advocacy by the local chapter to its president, Greg Hocking (second from right), and Pat Jobb, the chapter's first president. Advisors Mary Lou Kent (left) and Linda Burge are also pictured. 
Jody Graham and Tim Rutter welcomed Deputy Director Monty Kerr to the 10th Anniversary celebration of People First Belmont County chapter on August 12th. Monty Kerr served as Superintendent of the Belmont County Board of DD when the chapter formed in 2004. It was named Ohio Chapter of the Decade at the People First of Ohio 10th Anniversary in 2008. 


Belmont County Board of DD Earns Highest State Rating

The Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities has earned a five-year accreditation award, the highest award bestowed by the state, for the quality supports and services it funds or provides to people with disabilities.

Following a comprehensive and rigorous review conducted late last year by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, the team of surveyors from DODD determined that the Belmont County Board achieved substantial compliance with minimum standards and met or exceeded standards in DODD's areas of excellence, resulting in the five-year accreditation.

Only a few of the 88 county boards in Ohio achieve five-year accreditation status.

"We are pleased that what we do for people with disabilities has been recognized in this way," said Stephen L. Williams, Superintendent of the Belmont County Board of DD. "And we share this award with our provider partners, who are locating opportunities for people to achieve what they want out of life."

Key positives identified by the state reviewers at the Belmont County Board of DD were leadership, strategic planning, strong collaboration and community options.

A seven-member board of directors oversees the Belmont County Board of DD. Marlin Harper serves as president with Cynthia Touvelle, vice-president, Annette Wiater, secretary, and Amy Dias, Robert Quirk, Phil Andes, and John Rataiczak.

The Belmont County Board funds and/or provides supports to over 500 people with developmental disabilities, like autism, Down syndrome and other physical and intellectual disabilities. To learn more, log onto

The Belmont County Board of DD is part of the BHN Alliance (Belmont-Harrison-Noble County Boards of DD) in which the three county boards share certain administrative functions including Superintendent, Service and Support Administration, and Quality Assurance. The Harrison and Noble County Boards of DD were reviewed at the same time and also received five-year accreditation awards.

 Board vice-president Cynthia Touvelle and Superintendent Stephen L. Williams


The office at the Belmont County Board of DD is much more attractive, thanks to artists with disabilities at Tomorrow's Corner. They created five large, canvas paintings that now hang in the lobby, including this Mixed Media piece that depicts the four seasons and was created by the artists pictured here.

Artists who fu lly participate in creating art like this are paid royalties when they are sold. Similar artwork, home décor and more are found at The New Corner Store, a gift shop in downtown St. Clairsville, that sells art created by people with disabilities. The New Corner Store, a subsidiary of Tomorrow's Corner, is seeking to expand into a larger space so all members of the community can join in the art program. Contact Lisa Kazmirski at 740-695-1110, for information.








MVP Potential

By Stephen L. Williams
BHN Alliance Superintendent

LeBron James is arguably the most talented basketball player in the world and his decision to return to Ohio to play in Cleveland is a big deal. The expectation is that a return of "King James" brings the potential for the Cavaliers to win a National Basketball championship. We shall see.

There were people around the young LeBron– his circle of support made up of family, friends, coaches, and the community –who recognized his potential and supported his efforts to become the best that he could be. Potential is a funny thing. It doesn't take you anywhere. It is simply a possibility until it is developed into something else. Then it can become almost anything, like a four-time NBA Most Valuable Player.

In many ways, developing potential is what is happening in Ohio through Employment First. This initiative is about recognizing the talents within every person with a disability; putting supports in place that develop their skills; discovering opportunities in the community, and expecting success.

In July, President Obama signed a new federal bill into law. In it, young people with disabilities can no longer go directly into a sheltered workshop from high school. Instead, they must be given what they need to develop their interests and abilities and then assisted in trying a job in the community. This is exciting for some parents and guardians and uncomfortable for others, whose loved ones have been in sheltered work settings for years. It can be difficult to see how Employment First will work for them. We understand. It is important to remember that this is a process. The day service providers you have come to know and trust are thoughtfully developing plans to provide community options.

The law also requires that county boards, public schools, vocational rehabilitation providers and others work together to identify potential and grow talents. The Belmont, Harrison and Noble county boards have been identifying potential and developing abilities for some time now. Since 2010 we have helped young people with disabilities, ages 14 to 25, explore careers and sample jobs while still in school through our Bridges to Transition initiative. We have seen remarkable success as these young adults are now on the job making real wages in the community.

As we move forward, the BHN Alliance and its provider partners will be the "shoulders" upon which people with disabilities can stand as they develop their skills and are given opportunities to work, learn, live and contribute in the community. We believe this is the right thing to do, because we see MVP potential in every person we support.

Just like LeBron.



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