The “Switching Gears” Summer Youth Program through the Darke County Board of Developmental Disabilities (Darke DD) helps students focus on career exploration, employment preparation and life skills. The five week program ran Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from July 12 through August 11, 2016 and was open to Darke County students, ages 14 and 15, who receive services from Darke DD. Most sessions were held at Edison State Community College’s Darke County Campus. Students participated in a variety of activities to help them build skills in communication and teamwork. Continuing to fund, coordinate and support a variety of programming to individuals with disabilities, this program is just one way Darke DD assists individuals with transition skills and with coordinating services between school, home and job-readiness training to help students develop a post-graduation plan.
(L to R) Chad Beanblossom, Dean Edison State-Darke County; 2016 “Switching Gears” Summer Youth participants; Kathryn Osborne and Cheryl Pressly (Summer Youth Instructors).
During their first week students focused on communication by participating in hands on activities, listening to a guest speaker and completing a business tour. One favorite activity was “People Search Bingo” where students cover a bingo square by finding someone in the class with whom they have things in common. Although the students attend six different schools, this activity allowed them to learn more about one another and to develop bonds. Another activity was titled “Marvelous Me” whereas; each student received a snack sized bag of M & M’s. Before eating each M & M the students answered a question aloud based on the color of the candy. These activities and others helped them practice talking about their strengths, abilities, and interests. The guest speaker for week one was John Rediger. John previously worked with Darke DD to assist in his job search and was more than happy to share his experiences of working at Kroger, volunteering, driving, and being engaged in his community. John encouraged the students to aim high, work hard and never give up on their dreams. On Thursday, the students enjoyed a tour of The Merchant House. Cassie Campbell, Managing Partner, and her team treated the students to a delicious pizza that the students topped themselves. While touring the Merchant House they learned about a variety of jobs in food service and what it takes to be successful in that field.
Darke DD“Switching Gears” Summer Youth Program a Success
Jeff and Craig live a good life. They live a good life thanks to the person centered planning model, and the opportunities that being employed in their community provides them. They are able to have the things that are important for them, and are able to enjoy the things that are important to them because of person centered planning. Their vacation to Florida is just one example of what person centered planning can do for someone with a disability!
Watch this video to learn a little more about what it takes to make something like Jeff and Craig’s dream of vacationing in Florida come true! Keep watching for updates as we take a deeper look at Person Centered Planning and how it helps provide a good life for someone with a disability!
Each spring the junior and senior students from Ansonia High School coordinate a picnic fundraiser titled “Pay It Forward.” The goal of this fundraiser is to raise money to donate to a local service need. This year they were able to tie their fundraiser to an English reading assignment titled “Flowers for Algernon.” This story was written in the late 1950’s about a man with intellectual disabilities named Charly Gordon. In the story, Charly undergoes an experimental procedure to obtain normal intelligence. The students gained insight to Charly’s thoughts and feelings through his journal entries as he gains intelligence and eventually regresses back to his original IQ.
AKtion Club officers, Ruby Sacher and Darlene Bowers accept an $885 donation raised by Ansonia High School students.
Casey Robison, junior English teacher, was reading the book on her computer, when she received a Facebook notification from the Darke County Board of Developmental Disabilities (Darke DD). Curious and a bit taken back by the coincidence, she went to Darke DD’s Facebook page and read many wonderful stories about the contributions that people with disabilities are making in Darke County. It was in that moment that she considered connecting the picnic fundraiser to the book and connecting both of these to Darke DD. As Mary Lochtefeld, senior English teacher said, “It was kismet!”
Darke DDAnsonia Students “Pay It Forward” to AKtion Club of Greenville
Did you know that there are currently 45 individuals working in the Darke County community who receive assistance from the Darke DD (and their respective partners) to retain their competitive employment jobs? Did you know that Kroger employs nearly 9% of these individuals? This is an amazing statistic that verifies Kroger’s commitment to the community of Darke County and all of the individuals living within it!
When reviewing the corporate website of The Kroger Co. you will note that one of its commitments is to “be a preferred employer where every associate feels valued and customers recognize that our people are great.” They further state that they will support this commitment through diversity – one of the company’s six core values, which says that they “seek and embrace differences in the backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities of all associates, customers and vendors.” March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and the Darke County Board of Developmental Disabilities (Darke DD) would like to give a shout out to Kroger who assists individuals in becoming active members of the employment community.
Darke DDGreenville Kroger Supports a Diverse Workforce