Local and state officials were on hand August 25th to celebrate the opening of the Belmont County office of Harmony House, a Children’s Advocacy Center located in Wheeling.
The Belmont County Center is the result of collaboration between the Belmont County Commissioners, the Belmont County Department of Job and Family Services, and the Belmont County Board of DD. Others involved include the prosecutor's office, sheriff's office, and medical and mental health professionals.
Recent state budget issues have prompted alliances such as this to develop more innovative and networked services that can support children and their families in times of turmoil, and promote healing for alleged child victims and their non-offending family members
The Center is housed in the Belmont CBDD Transportation Building. The Board supported the effort because services will also be provided to children and adults with disabilities, who are at greater risk for abuse and neglect. In fact, Harmony House’s Belmont Center provided services to several individuals with disabilities served by BCBDD since it opened in June.
This full-service advocacy center provides a multi-disciplinary team approach to serving child victims of alleged physical, sexual, and other types of abuse or exposure to violence. Its intent is to reduce trauma and facilitate healing in the child through an array of child-appropriate services that address the overall well-being of the child.
For more information about Harmony House, call the Belmont office at 740-695-0812.
ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Monty Kerr, the former head of the Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities (BCBDD) was honored by Belmont County Commissioners Thursday for his leadership and advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities in Belmont County.
“Monty has always worked to improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities through his exceptional leadership skills and I could not allow him to leave his position without acknowledging his achievements in this county,” Favede said.
Kerr served at the helm of BCBDD for 23 years. During that time he led it through an organizational re-structuring that maintained the Board’s financial stability and gave people with disabilities more choice and control over resources spent on their behalf.
He also served as CEO/Superintendent of the Harrison and Noble County Boards of Developmental Disabilities and created the Belmont-Harrison-Noble Alliance, a collaboration between the three boards whereby certain administrative functions are shared to create efficiencies in all three counties.
June 16, 2011
Board’s Inspiration Award
Honors Foster Parents
A remarkable act of compassion and kindness shown by two foster parents toward a young man with disabilities inspired creation of an award by the Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
Carol and Roger McMillen were presented with the Board’s first Inspiration Award in recognition of their support of Ryan, a student at the School of Hope, and the positive influence they have had on his life.
The award was presented to the McMillens at the February 17th board meeting. In making the presentation, CEO/Superintendent Monty Kerr said, “You are model examples of the positive influence we can have on others when we put our words into action.”
The McMillens were not in the foster parents’ program before Ryan came to live with them, although Carol had grown to know and love him through her work as a teacher’s assistant at the school. When he was placed in foster care due to circumstances in his life, she and Roger did not hesitate to open their home and hearts to him.
Carol and Roger shared their experience as foster parents with the Board on the one-year anniversary of Ryan coming to live with them. “This experience has been a blessing for us,” Carol said.
“The McMillens’ remarkable act of compassion and kindness is a model example of what we are seeking to recognize with the Inspiration Award,” Kerr said. “They truly inspire us and others to do all we can.”
The Inspiration Award will be awarded on an occasional basis and will acknowledge individuals and organizations that inspire others by their extraordinary words and deeds to create opportunities for people with disabilities.
June 16, 2011
YOU EAT, SPECIAL OLYMPICS WINS
ST. CLAIRSVILLE – A local restaurant has created a unique way for the public to support Special Olympics in Belmont County and all it involves is eating!
Buffalo Wild Wings at St. Clairsville has created Teammate Cards that, when presented upon paying for your meal, BW3 will donate 10 percent of your food purchase to Belmont County Special Olympics. The Teammate Cards are free and available by calling Tom King, Special Olympics Coordinator, at 740-695-1110.
The promotion began June 1st and will continue through August 31st. This opportunity is available at the St. Clairsville restaurant location in the Ohio Valley Plaza only.
More than 100 Special Olympians compete at local, regional and state levels in basketball, track and field, bocce and bowling. These opportunities are provided through Special Olympics Belmont County, a non-profit organization that exists entirely on donations and sponsorships. All donations are tax-deductible, remain local, and directly benefit the athletes who compete for Belmont County.
March 28, 2011
BELLAIRE HIGH GRAD RECOGNIZED AT STATEHOUSE
Trent Butler of Bridgeport (center) was featured at the 2011 Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month kickoff event March 3rd at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus. Trent’s success on the job was spotlighted to demonstrate that people with disabilities achieve more when they are given opportunities. Trent is flanked by Peg Gast Stipetich, Community Employment Director at Belco Works, which provided Trent’s vocational skills’ training, and Monty Kerr, CEO/Superintendent of the Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities, which funds these and other supports for eligible children and adults in Belmont County. The annual kickoff is hosted each year by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities and Ohio Public Images.
When the 2011 Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month theme was being created, Trent Butler was learning skills that would help him get a job. By the time it was unveiled at the Ohio Statehouse on March 3rd, Trent was on the stage as an example of what can be achieved when preparation meets opportunity.
Over 500 people turned out to celebrate “Together,” the 2011 Developmental Disabilities’ Awareness Month theme. Trent, of Bridgeport, was featured in the program as a person who has had Success in the Community.
Trent obtained a competitive-wage job through skills and support he received in the Bridges to Transition program. Bridges is a statewide, grant-funded initiative that brings together the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission, Boards of Developmental Disabilities, and school districts to help students with disabilities explore career options and receive job skills’ training.
Peg Gast Stipetich, Community Employment Director at Belco works, was one of those who helped Trent receive the training he needed to get a job after graduation.
“Many people expected Trent to attend the sheltered workshop after he graduated from Bellaire High,” Stipetich said. “It was evident to us that Trent did not belong there and that he could succeed at a job in the community.”
Kara Shutler, the Vocational Rehabilitation Coordinator at the Belmont County Board of DD, Belco Works, and Bellaire School staff worked together to help Trent develop his potential and gain the skills he needed to get a job. Trent is now employed at Sam’s Club in St. Clairsville where he has become a valued member of the team.
“I have a real job,” Trent said. “I love it and the people I work with.”
Monty Kerr noted that times have changed and that systems of support like the Board are now helping people create lives that resemble those of their peers who do not have disabilities. He said that Trent’s success underlines the importance of not letting disability stand in the way of a person’s success.
“We believe that people with disabilities should be given the same opportunities as everyone else,” Kerr said. “Trent’s story demonstrates what is possible when we see the person first and the disability second.”
Kara Shutler couldn’t agree more. “We must stop predicting a person’s future based simply on his or her disability,” Shutler said. “When people with disabilities are given opportunities, they can and do succeed, and that benefits them and the community in which they live.”
“Our goal is to give Trent and other young adults and their families a fresh look at what the future can hold for them – a future in the community, not apart from it,” Kerr added.
Together We Accomplish More
For a person with disabilities, barriers outside of their disability may be the hardest of all to overcome. Attitudinal barriers like fear and negativity block them from the things they want out of life. The result is loneliness and isolation for them, which is more detrimental to a person’s health than disability ever could be.
John Cacioppo, a Professor in Psychology at the University of Chicago, has done research on how social isolation affects the brain. Cacioppo, one of the nation's leading scholars on loneliness, showed that loneliness can harm our health and be as detrimental as smoking. In fact, about one in five Americans experiences loneliness. As we consider this statistic, is it a coincidence that one in five Americans also has some type of disability?
Many other researchers have reached Cacioppo’s conclusion, and those of us in the developmental disabilities field see the effects of social isolation every day. From the woman with an intellectual disability whose only “friends” are paid providers to the child with cerebral palsy who is not invited to his classmate’s birthday party, people with disabilities are lonely because there are so few people willing to welcome them into their lives.
That is why our efforts and the efforts of others to help children and adults live, work, learn and play in the community are so very important. In Belmont County, we believe that building relationships is more important than creating programs. The Board is still at work, but we’re working in a different way by introducing people with disabilities to opportunities in the community where the potential for relationships exists. That means helping a child with disabilities learn alongside her typically-developing peers by providing modifications to the classroom. It means helping a young adult develop skills so he can obtain a job that pays a decent wage. It means helping parents plan for the time they can no longer care for their adult child by exploring other options.
We don’t do this alone. There are employers, providers, teachers and people across Belmont County who are partners in our efforts to help people with disabilities create lives of meaning, and there is always room for more.
Children and adults with disabilities want the same things everyone else does –acceptance, understanding and love. However, they will remain lonely and isolated if we fail to see their potential and help them develop it.
The 2011 Awareness Month theme is “Together” and we believe that word speaks volumes. Together we all accomplish more, but only if we are willing to suspend the old way of thinking and open our minds to the idea that people with disabilities deserve the same opportunities as everyone else. When we do, a world of possibilities opens for them. When we do, people with disabilities have a lot to gain – and so do we.
By Monty Kerr, CEO/Superintendent
November 03, 2010
Belmont CBDD Welcomes Kathie Snow
“We could not have been more pleased!”
That was the enthusiastic comment made by Monty Kerr, CEO/Superintendent of the Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities regarding the feedback he received following a presentation to parents, educators, self-advocates, providers and others by Disability is Natural author, Kathie Snow, who made two appearances in Belmont County in October.
Approximately 80 people attended the two-hour evening presentation on October 21st at Ohio University Eastern. Kathie also provided in-service training to BCB staff, agency and individual providers the following day. Many attendees, especially parents, stayed on Thursday to talk with Kathie and seek her advice on how to raise successful children with disabilities.
The Board’s goal in bringing Snow’s “revolutionary common sense” to Belmont County was to open up new ways of thinking about children and adults with disabilities and how to best support them on their journey through life.
“Because Kathie is the parent of a young adult with a disability, she understands how important it is to not let disability stand in the way of a person’s success,” Kerr said. “She challenged us all to think differently and look at more natural ways of supporting people with disabilities so they can live happier and more fulfilling lives.”
BCBDD Human Resources Coordinator Holly Weatherson said the most telling comment following Kathie’s presentation came from the grandmother of a small child with a disability.
“She thanked us for providing the opportunity for her to hear Kathie’s message and said that it has changed everything about the way she will approach caring for her grandchild,” Holly said.
Kathie Snow is the author of Disability Is Natural: Revolutionary Common Sense for Raising Successful Children with Disabilities,
a ground-breaking manual full of positive, common sense approaches to ensure children with disabilities live the lives of their dreams. To order the book or to learn more, log onto http://www.disabilityisnatural.com/
September 02, 2010
Board Receives ODOT Grant
The Ohio Department of Transportation has awarded a grant to the Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities for the purchase of three new vehicles through Ohio’s 2010 Specialized Transportation program.
The Specialized Transportation program is designed to increase personal mobility of Ohioans with disabilities and the elderly through safe transportation alternatives.
Specialized Transportation grants are awarded annually and cover 80 percent of the vehicle and equipment costs. The Board will purchase three light transit vehicles complete with lifts for those who use wheelchairs. Other adaptive equipment for use by passengers with disabilities will also be installed. Estimated cost of the vehicles is just over $142,000. The Board will be responsible for approximately $28,000 of that amount.
“For many people with disabilities, the Board offers the only safe, accessible transportation available to them and this grant helps us offset the rising costs of that service,” said Monty Kerr, CEO/superintendent of the Belmont County Board of DD. “We thank and acknowledge the Belmont County Commissioners, who paved the way for us to receive this grant through development of a county-wide transportation plan.”
The Board’s transportation service travels the entire county, logging 1700 miles per day taking eligible individuals to school, work, medical appointments, and other services.
The Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities funds or provides services to over 450 children and adults with developmental disabilities. From early intervention for babies and toddlers to residential supports for adults, the Board serves people from birth throughout their entire lives.
February 23, 2010
Basketball Game to Raise Funds for St. C Stadium Project
ST. CLAIRSVILLE - The Belmont Eagles Special Olympics' basketball team will test their skills once again against their coaches and service providers for a special cause and to raise awareness.
A Basketball Fun Night game featuring the Eagles will be played on Thursday, March 4 at 6:30 p.m. on Jenkins Court at St. Clairsville High School. Admission is $2 and all proceeds will be donated by the team to the St. Clairsville Stadium Improvement Project.
The event is also intended to raise awareness of the Special Olympics effort in Belmont County. The game will not only showcase the ABILITIES of people with intellectual disabilities, but will also show the level of participation they can have in their community.
"With a little support, and a lot of respect, people who live with intellectual disabilities can contribute as much to their communities as anyone else," said Lisa Kazmirski of Tomorrow's Corner, which provides coaching and other duties for Special Olympics of Belmont County.
She noted that Special Olympics events depend strongly on donations, but the players enjoy raising funds for other purposes as well.
"The team doesn't always want to have things done for them, without also doing for others and feeling involved," Kazmirski added.
Tomorrow's Corner, Inc. and Paramount Support Services, Inc. provide services to many members of the team and they will make up the Eagles' opposition for the game.
As an added bonus and to encourage attendance, each company pledges to match up to $1,000 raised. Local car dealership, Whiteside, has also pledged to match all monies raised at this game.
"You don't have to know someone on the team to attend this event. Help us pack the gym and build our stadium," Kazmirski said. "Help us make this the start of something big – better acceptance, more awareness, and a stronger community."
The last event like this was held in January at the School of Hope and successfully raised funds and non-perishable food items for another local charity. For information on how to help at the March 4th game or future events, contact Greg or Lisa Kazmirski at Tomorrow's Corner at 740-695-1110 or Coach Tom King at 740-359-7432.
St. Clairsville High School alumni (left to right) Tyanthony, Michael and Brad of the Belmont Eagles basketball team, are ready to take on their coaches and others in a benefit game for the St. Clairsville Stadium Project. The March 4th game will be played on Jenkins Court at St. Clairsville High School. Tip off is 6:30 p.m. Admission is $2 per person and all proceeds will benefit the stadium project. The game is being organized by Special Olympics of Belmont County in an effort to raise money and awareness that people with disabilities can also give back to their community.
December 10, 2009
Honored For Statewide Work
COLUMBUS – A Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities administrator recently was honored at the Ohio Association of County Boards (OACB) of Developmental Disabilities 26th annual CONVENTION at the Easton Hilton Dec. 2-4.
Operations Manager Willie Jones was honored by the statewide agency for his work.
“This award is given to those people with work for County Boards of Developmental Disabilities that go above and beyond the call of duty,” said Dan Ohler, OACB Executive Director.
He described Mr. Jones as someone everyone could emulate because “his passion for helping people with developmental disabilities is surpassed by no one.”
“Willie Jones is a gentleman and a professional, and it is an honor to present him with this award,” Mr. Ohler said.
“It’s a gift exchange. We get so much more back than we ever give,” Mr. Jones told the hundreds of attendees.
“We all are so much better people for the gifts we get back from the people we work with. We get patience, understanding, and acceptance,” he said.
Ohler presented Mr. Jones with one of the three Partners in Excellence awards given at the 26th annual OACB CONVENTION. Melanie Stretchbery, a superintendent from the Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities, and Mike Boaz, a business manager from the Putnam and Van Wert County Boards of Developmental Disabilities also were recognized.
Commissioned in 2006, this annual award is presented to a County Board of Developmental Disabilities staff member who demonstrates exemplary service in offering their expertise to a workgroup or specific project that benefits the County Board of Developmental Disabilities system as a whole, not just their specific county. The award is presented to a deserving individual as determined by the OACB. That person is recognized either at the annual convention, or at a local Board meeting of the recipient.
All 88 County Boards of Developmental Disabilities in Ohio are members of this organization whose purpose is to educate and advocate for the 80,000 individuals with developmental disabilities who reside in the Buckeye State.
December 4, 2009
BCBDD Superintendent Receives Award
COLUMBUS – Monty Kerr, CEO/Superintendent of the Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities was honored for “visionary leadership in administration” at the Ohio Association of County Boards of Developmental Disabilities (OACB) 26th annual convention in Columbus Dec. 2-4, 2009.
Superintendent Kerr received the prestigious Kenneth Legats Award at a ceremony on Friday. This award is presented annually to an executive who has been nominated by the OACB Board of Trustees and who, over a career of more than 20 years, has shown high ideals, vision, and moral leadership in the administration of programs for individuals with developmental disabilities.
Monty Kerr (center), CEO/Superintendent of the Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities, received the prestigious Kenneth Legats Award for Visionary Leadership in Administration at the 26th Annual Convention of the Ohio Association of County Boards of Developmental Disabilities (OACB). The award is given annually to an executive who has shown high ideals, vision and moral leadership in the disabilities’ field. He is flanked by John Martin (right), Director of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, and Dan Ohler, OACB Executive Director
Monty Kerr (center), CEO/Superintendent of the Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities, received the prestigious Kenneth Legats Award for Visionary Leadership in Administration at the 26th Annual Convention of the Ohio Association of County Boards of Developmental Disabilities (OACB). The award is given annually to an executive who has shown high ideals, vision and moral leadership in the disabilities’ field. He is flanked by John Martin (right), Director of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, and Dan Ohler, OACB Executive Director.
The award is given in honor of Legats, a well known and respected superintendent for the Muskingum County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
Cheryl Phipps, Superintendent of the Hamilton County Board of Developmental Disabilities and last year’s Legats Award winner introduced Kerr. She said that he embodies the spirit of Legats more than any other, calling him “the ultimate professional” to the more than 600 people attending the conference.
“Monty always says we need to stop growing programs and start growing people’s lives,” Phipps said, adding that he is passionate about people with disabilities being included in all parts of their communities.
In accepting the award, Kerr said, “I must give credit where it’s due, with my staff, the board members and everyone I work with. I share this honor with all of them.”
Cindy Touvelle, a parent representative who serves on the Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities, noted the importance of Kerr’s visionary leadership.
“Monty is always looking ahead, supporting decisions that ensure the Board’s financial stability,” Touvelle said. “He is focused on making sure difficult economic times do not negatively affect people with disabilities, who depend upon us to fund the services they need.”
Board president, Jay Rodak, echoed Touvelle’s sentiment.
“Monty is focused on providing the best services for people with disabilities despite rising costs and decreasing revenue,” Rodak said. “This is at the forefront of the Board’s fiscal planning.”
Kerr led the Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities through an organizational restructuring in 2007 following a comprehensive analysis of all functions. The Board adopted self-determination, a philosophy designed to give people with disabilities more choice and control over resources spent on their behalf. This action has improved their lives and maintained the Board’s financial stability despite decreases in revenue.
“I thank God every day for the opportunity I have to serve people with disabilities and for the staff I get to work with. I truly am blessed,” Kerr said.
Kerr holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Urbana University and a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Dayton. He is the only superintendent in Ohio who serves as the CEO for three County Boards of Developmental Disabilities (Belmont, Harrison and Noble).
The Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities funds a wide array of services for over 450 children and adults with developmental disabilities in Belmont County. Those services include early intervention for infants and toddlers; preschool and school-age services; transportation; vocational, habilitation, and residential supports. It is governed by a seven-member board appointed by the county commissioners and probate and juvenile court judge.
August 21, 2009
ELKS GRANT TO SCHOOL OF HOPE
– The School of Hope has received a
2009 Cerebral Palsy Grant from the Ohio River Valley Elks Lodge. Pictured accepting the $1000 donation from Jim Nichelson (right), National Elks President and treasurer of the Ohio River Valley Elks, is Jamie Bauman, Children's Services Director for the Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities, which operates the school. Looking on is Larry Jarrell, Lecturing Knight of the Ohio River Valley Elks.
Raising funds to benefit people with cerebral palsy is the Elks State Project. This donation made it possible for the school to install two overhead tracking systems, which are used to transfer students with disabilities from one point to another in a safe and comfortable manner.
July 6, 2009
BOARD PRESIDENT DISCUSSES FUTURES PLANNING
AT STATE CONFERENCE
– Jay Rodak, president of the Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities, was invited to participate on a panel of Board presidents from across Ohio to discuss the future of services to people with disabilities in the state.
The panel discussion was part at the spring conference of the Ohio Association of County Boards of MRDD (OACBMRDD), held May 21-22 in Columbus. John Martin, Director of the Ohio Department of MRDD was also on the panel.
Rodak shared information on what the Belmont County Board of DD has done to maintain financial stability in the face of decreasing revenue and increasing costs. He noted that the Belmont County Board underwent a comprehensive analysis of its finances in 2005. It revealed the need to preserve financial resources, or face a budget deficit by 2012. A financial management plan was developed to accomplish that goal.
“Maintaining services and conserving financial resources for those who will need services in the future was at the forefront of our fiscal planning,” Rodak said. “Our challenge was to cut costs without cutting services.”
Early Retirement Incentive Programs, elimination or combining of positions through attrition and retirements, and elimination of all overtime are some of the cost-saving measures the Board has taken to date.
Dan Ohler, Executive Director of the Ohio Association of County Boards had high praise for the Belmont Board’s foresight and planning. “Belmont County is one of the counties we hold up as an example,” Ohler said. “They have a strong board and superintendent who give their clients the services they need and deserve, while holding their costs down.”
The Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities funds an array of services for 451 adults and children with developmental disabilities in Belmont County. Those services include early intervention for infants and toddlers; preschool and school-age services; vocational, habilitation and residential supports. The Board is levy-funded and does not receive money from the county’s General Fund.
June 16, 2009
BICYCLE AMBASSADOR STOPS IN BELMONT COUNTY
– Raising awareness and funds for Special Olympics is the reason why a Grand River, Ohio man is bicycling around the perimeter of Ohio this month, stopping to meet and talk with athletes and friends at courthouses along the way.
James “Spudd” Sasak arrived at the Belmont County Courthouse on June 4th. Sasak, whose journey began June 1st in Cleveland, is making his way through 37 counties in 26 days. He will arrive in Columbus on June 26th for the opening ceremonies of the State Summer Games.
Sasak’s focus is “Masonry in Motion,” an effort designed to promote Ohio Freemasons’ support of Special Olympics. Sasak is a member of Lakeshore Masonic Lodge #307.
On hand to greet the Bicycle Ambassador were Mike Parkinson of St. Clairsville and Daniel Pritchard of Belmont; Rodney “Hutch” Kovacs and Michael Coey, District Deputy Grand Masters of the 23rd Masonic District; Chris Lubic, Special Olympics coordinator for the Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities; and Bob Bandonee, Special Olympic coach.
For more information, photos, and a daily road report on Spudd’s whereabouts, log onto www.spudd.us
March 20, 2009
COMMISSIONER RECEIVES OHIO PUBLIC IMAGES’ AWARD
– Belmont County Commissioner Ginny Favede is attending to business on a county level now, but it was the work she did as St. Clairsville Playground Renovation Committee chairperson that earned her a state award for 2008.
Favede received the Merit award in the Community/Elected Official category at the Annual Ohio Public Images Awareness Awards Luncheon, held March 9th in Columbus. Ohio Public Images is a statewide, non-profit organization that promotes positive perceptions and understanding of people with developmental disabilities.
The award was presented to her on March 19th by the Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities, which nominated her for the award.
In the nomination, the Board noted: “As a public servant and community activist, Ginny Favede of St. Clairsville has often been the catalyst for change, yet it is a cause she took up on behalf of children with developmental disabilities that makes her worthy of an Ohio Public Images Award in 2008. She worked to dismantle the injustice of inaccessibility when she made the new St. Clairsville Memorial Park Playground a ‘playground for every child.’ ”
The nomination noted that Favede altered original plans for a new playground after she witnessed a teacher from the School of Hope, the Board’s school-age program, struggling to get a little girl in a wheelchair down the steep, grassy embankment so she could be with her classmates in the playground area. Following the incident, Ginny realized the original playground plans were not accessible to children with disabilities. She then worked to add a sidewalk from the parking lot to the playground and around its perimeter.
In accepting the award, Favede said, “It was one of my proudest achievements that we were able to put in the sidewalk; I appreciate this (award), but I cannot take full credit.” She cited the work of playground committee members and prisoners from Belmont Correctional Institution, who made it happen.
“We believe Ginny Favede’s advocacy on behalf of children with disabilities is the finest example of what ‘doing the right thing’ really means and the impact it can have on an entire community,” said Monty Kerr, CEO/Superintendent of the Board.
Ohio Public Images Awareness awards are given each year in various categories to recognize and honor the individuals and organizations across Ohio that have, through their efforts, helped people with disabilities gain greater access to the community.
October 6, 2008
PEOPLE FIRST OF BELMONT COUNTY ‘CHAPTER OF THE DECADE’
ST. CLAIRSVILLE – The Belmont County Chapter of People First, a self- advocacy group, received the “Ohio Chapter of the Decade” award at the 10th Anniversary Celebration of People of First of Ohio.
Sadie Hunter, Executive Director of Ohio People First, presented the award to chapter president, Yvette Gray of Martins Ferry, in a ceremony held September 16th in Columbus.
“The Belmont Chapter is a perfect example of what People First is about – effective self-advocacy and teamwork,” Hunter said.
People First is a nationwide organization that promotes the principles of self-determination. It gives people with disabilities a voice in decisions made about their lives and encourages and supports their right to do so. People First chapters are organized and operated entirely by people with disabilities. There are over 30 chapters in Ohio.
The Belmont chapter, organized in 2004, meets monthly in the community room at the Ohio Valley Mall. To learn more or to become involved, contact Mary Lou Kent at 740-695-0500.
October 6, 2008
JONES RECEIVES ESDY AWARD
ST. CLAIRSVILLE – The Ohio Self-Determination Association (OSDA) recognized a local human services’ professional with its highest honor for his efforts in promoting self- determination for people with developmental disabilities.
Willie Jones, the Director of Operations for the Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities, received an ESDY Award at the annual OSDA Conference, held September 16-17 at Columbus.
OSDA is the major advocate for self- determination in the state of Ohio. It works to create a culture where individuals with disabilities have the freedom to plan their own lives and pursue what is important to them.
Jones has been an advocate for people with developmental disabilities for nearly 30 years. A graduate of Kent State University, he is a licensed social worker and a trainer and consultant on issues related to the field. He is noted for accomplishments in the development, training and implementation of positive behavior supports and developed Personal Supports and Strategies, a positive approach that promotes and supports the principles of Self-Determination.
“From his internship as an activity therapist at a southeastern Ohio developmental center, to his current position with the Belmont County Board of DD, Willie has been able to affect positive changes in the lives of people with disabilities served by private and public organizations,” said Monty Kerr, CEO/Superintendent of the Belmont County Board of DD.
Jones served on the Ohio Self-Determination Association Board and is on the Ohio Department of MRDD Behavior Support Advisory Committee. He is also a member of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and PAR.
July 16, 2008
LEGION COUNCIL DONATES BACKBOARDS TO SPECIAL OLYMPICS
ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Special Olympics basketball players will bank their shots off new backboards and through new rims in 2008, thanks to the Belmont County Council of the American Legion. The Council has donated two glass NCAA-approved backboards and two goals, valued at more than $1,800, to the Belmont County Special Olympics’ program. The new equipment will be installed in the gymnasium at the School of Hope, where regular season basketball games are played.
Leaders of the County Council made the presentation to Special Olympics representatives recently. Coaches Jimmy Cross, Bob Bandonee, Sherri Marlin, and Special Olympics coordinator, Chris Lubic, flank one of the new backboards in the first row, left to right. Council representatives seated in the second row, l- r, are: Jim McCulley, Council Commander; John McCloud, District 11 2nd Vice-Commander and Special Olympics’ chairman; John Ciesielka, Post 366; Mike Pollack, Post 159 trustee; Robert Watt, Post 521 chaplain; and Jerry Clark, Post 159 1st Vice. Third row, l-r: John J. Wodarcyk, Post 666 Commander; Floyd Burk, County Council Past Commander; Dick Johnson, 2nd Vice Commander, Post 52; Jick Weatherson, Shadyside 521, ADJ; Bill Strous, County Council Past Commander; and George Lucas, Post 159 Commander.
May 9, 2008
ELKS SUPPORT PEOPLE WITH DISABILTIES