Blog – Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board http://www.summitdd.org Serving Thu, 14 Dec 2017 10:36:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Looking Back on 2017 http://www.summitdd.org/blog/looking-back-2017/ http://www.summitdd.org/blog/looking-back-2017/#respond Tue, 12 Dec 2017 18:35:37 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=7229 Season’s Greetings The chill in the air the past few mornings is a clear reminder that winter, a new season, will soon be upon us. As 2017 comes to a close, we’d like reflect on a transformative year for Summit… […]

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Season’s Greetings

The chill in the air the past few mornings is a clear reminder that winter, a new season, will soon be upon us. As 2017 comes to a close, we’d like reflect on a transformative year for Summit DD. First and foremost, we passed our levy with overwhelming support from Summit County residents, elected officials, private service providers, and countless other community partners. Because of you, Summit DD has secured funding through 2024 that will ensure services that empower kids and adults with developmental disabilities to reach their highest potential.

This past year, we also continued Our Journey Forward, the federal-mandated transition out of direct services. We’ve helped hundreds of individuals discover new service providers that they trust and enjoy. The smooth transition is a testament to the culture of collaboration, from individuals and families, SSAs, providers and our center-based staff. We began this transition years ago by asking what each person wants and staying focused on that, one person at a time.

Thank you for trusting us by supporting our levy and Our Journey Forward. Your continued support provides us the platform to work together with our partners to increase community integration, to impact employment outcomes, to reach more kids at an earlier age and to ensure the County Board system is here for future generations.

Thank you for all you do and enjoy the holidays!
John Trunk
Summit DD Superintendent

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Following Your Passion http://www.summitdd.org/blog/my-story/following-your-passion/ http://www.summitdd.org/blog/my-story/following-your-passion/#respond Mon, 20 Nov 2017 01:45:54 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=7120 Kasey’s Journey to Employment Success Kasey had always had a dream and a passion to work with the elderly. Fortunately, she and her Summit DD Service Coordinator were able to make that dream a reality! Sometimes people find the perfect… […]

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Kasey’s Journey to Employment Success

Kasey had always had a dream and a passion to work with the elderly. Fortunately, she and her Summit DD Service Coordinator were able to make that dream a reality!

Sometimes people find the perfect job. And sometimes a job finds the perfect person. That’s exactly what happened when the Gardens of the Western Reserve found Kasey.

After high school, Kasey wanted to make a career out of working with the elderly. So she reached out to her Summit DD Service and Support Administrator (SSA), Beth Loeffler, for support.

“Everybody loves Kasey!” Kasey’s coworker, Edna Thomas said sincerely, referring to staff and residents at the facility. “She gets so many compliments. She’s a great additional to our department.”

At first, Kasey was interested in coordinating activities for residents at a nursing home, her SSA explained. That’s when Loeffler went to work to help Kasey look for positions that would fit her passion as well as provide her the opportunity to gain experience and earn a paycheck. Unfortunately, their original search didn’t uncover any openings based on her experience. Then they got creative.

To get her foot in the door, Kasey applied for a job in the housekeeping department at the Gardens of the Western Reserve. While it wasn’t the Activities Coordinator position she had initially wanted, it aligned to her dream of working with the elderly. What she didn’t know at the time was just how much she would end up loving this new position and her coworkers. In fact, when asked what her favorite job duty currently was, Kasey enthusiastically responded, “I like making beds!” She said she enjoyed the personal touch it created, which made residents happy.

Beth explained that it didn’t take long for Kasey to get a feel for her new position. This then meant she no longer needed follow-along services on the job. Now Kasey only needs transportation services to get her to and from work.

“Kasey has made such an impact on all of us,” shared Steve Tartaglione, Maintenance Director for the nursing home. “Residents want to be in their own homes. It’s up to us to make them feel better – and Kasey does just that.”

Steve was so impressed with Kasey that he nominated her for employee of the month after just six months on the job. “I didn’t realize I was getting an award until they said my name,” Kasey recalled proudly. “You have to have to be really good at your job [to get this award]. You have to come in with a good spirit.”

In addition to success at work, Kasey has started following her passion for music in her free time. She plays clarinet with the Stan Hywet Hall Orchestra and has even started to teach herself how to play the guitar. With each success, Kasey’s confidence grows.

Above all, Loeffler said she is proud of Kasey and the growth she’s seen over the past year. Now she sees a new confidence and sense of self-advocacy in the formerly shy, young woman. “She is really good about reaching out when she needs something,” Beth explained. “She knows that we are there to help provide supports.”

Kasey expressed appreciation to her coworkers and SSA for the support she’s received in finding and maintaining her position. “I’m a hard worker and I get my job done. It makes me proud that people gave me a chance to work.”

Read more inspiring stories

Summit DD supports more than 4,700 children and adults with developmental disabilities. Each person has their own story to tell. Read more about some of these amazing individuals in our blog.

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Teamwork Leads To Levy Victory http://www.summitdd.org/blog/teamwork-leads-levy-victory/ http://www.summitdd.org/blog/teamwork-leads-levy-victory/#respond Wed, 08 Nov 2017 03:32:19 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=7143 Over the past several months the community came together and united around a single cause, empowering people of all abilities.  Issue 3, which renews Summit DD’s operating levy, passed.  Issue 3 passed with 72% support.   Citizens cast their vote let… […]

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Over the past several months the community came together and united around a single cause, empowering people of all abilities.  Issue 3, which renews Summit DD’s operating levy, passed.  Issue 3 passed with 72% support.   Citizens cast their vote let it be known that their vote empowers people of all abilities.

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” –Helen Keller

“Such a high approval rating was not an accident,” commented Superintendent John Trunk.  “It was the result of more than 200 volunteers who contributed more than 1,200 volunteer hours to let Summit County voters know how important Summit DD is to citizens of all abilities.”

For months Summit DD staff, provider staff, individuals and families came together as one.  The results secured funding through 2024 to keep services in place that empower kids and adults with developmental disabilities to reach their highest potential.

Working together, we put out 5,000 yard signs, placed 50,000 door hangers, made more than 30,000 phone calls, talked to several organizations, secured more than 150 endorsements, reached over 400,000 people on Facebook, and much more.  Thank you to every volunteer who posted on social media, put up a door hanger or yard sign, had a telephone conversation or encouraged friends and family to vote.  Without you, we can do so little and together we can do so much.

Special thanks to our providers who served on our levy committee, United Disability Services of Akron, Admore, Inc., The Blick Center, and, Koinonia Homes, and ViaQuest, Inc.  Thank you to our honorary levy chairs Ken Babby, William Considine, Dr. Ron Fowler, and Phil Kaufmann, as well as our levy steering committee Randy Briggs, Shon Christy, Mayor Sara Kline, and Allyson Lee.

“Now is time for the real work to begin,” commented Trunk.  “This approval rating provides us the platform to work together with our partners to increase community integration, to impact employment outcomes, to reach more kids at an earlier age and ensure the County Board system is here for future generations.”

Sign up for Summit DD’s newsletter (at the bottom of the page) to stay involved as we empower people of all abilities.

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Winter Activity Guide 2017 http://www.summitdd.org/blog/winter-activity-guide-2017/ http://www.summitdd.org/blog/winter-activity-guide-2017/#respond Thu, 02 Nov 2017 18:33:04 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=7113 Families are always looking for fun things to do to celebrate the season! So we’ve created a Winter Activity Guide full of fun, inclusive activities for kids and families of all abilities. It has a collection of some of the… […]

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Families are always looking for fun things to do to celebrate the season! So we’ve created a Winter Activity Guide full of fun, inclusive activities for kids and families of all abilities. It has a collection of some of the great family-friendly activities available here in Northeast Ohio in the coming weeks and months.

Holiday & Seasonal

Caring Santa & Holiday Festival

  • Holiday Tree Festival (presented by the Volunteers of Akron Children’s Hospital):Saturday, Nov. 18 | 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
    Sunday, Nov. 19 | 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
    Monday, Nov. 20 | 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
    Tuesday, Nov. 21 | 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
    Wednesday, Nov. 22 | 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
    Thursday, Nov. 23 (Thanksgiving) | 2 – 6 p.m.
    Friday, Nov. 24 | 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
    Saturday, Nov. 25 | 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
    Sunday, Nov. 26 | 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
    (FREE and open to the public)
  • Breakfast with Santa:
    Saturday, Nov. 18: Breakfast with Santa and Ribbon Cutting
    Saturday, Nov. 25: Breakfast with Santa
    (Tickets and reservations required for this event)
  • Summit Mall Caring Santa: Nov. 19, & Dec. 3, 2017 |  8:00-10:30 a.m.
    (FREE – Registration Required)
  • Summit DD Sensory-Friendly WinterFest Activities: Saturday, December 2 |  9:00-10:00 a.m.
    (FREE with wristband – RSVP required)

A Christmas Carol

  • Sensory Friendly “Carol.” A sensory-friendly performance of A Christmas Carol, Wednesday, November 29 |  11 a.m.
    (Tickets must be purchased for this event)

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens

Akron Zoo

  • Akron Zoo Wild Lights: Nov. 24, 25, 26 & Dec. 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 2017 |  6:00-9:00 p.m.
    (Tickets must be purchased for this event)
  • Akron Zoo Snack with Santa: Dec. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 2017 | 3:00–5 p.m.
    (Paid admission required)
  • Akron Zoo Trunk Show: Holiday shopping event. Dec. 7, 2017 |  4:00-7:30 p.m.
    (No admission information available)

Lock 3

  • Summit DD Sensory-Friendly WinterFest Activities: Saturday, December 2 |  9:00-10:00 a.m.
    (FREE with wristband – RSVP required)
  • First Night Akron: Dec. 31, 2017 |  6:00 p.m.-midnight
    (Admission $10)
  • Winter Fest: Family fun with something for everyone – ice rink, Reindeer Run, tree lighting ceremony, polar putt-putt, breakfast with Santa and more!) Nov. 24, 2017-February 19, 2018 |  Times vary
    (Some activities require paid admission. See website for details)
  • Holiday Fest:

Hale Farm and Village:

  • Thanksgiving Dinner with Abraham Lincoln: Nov. 18, 2017 |  6:00 p.m.
    (Tickets and reservations required for this event)
  • Holiday Market on the Farm: Dec. 1, 2017 |  4:00-9:00 p.m.
  • Holiday Lantern Tour: Dec. 2, 3, 8, 9, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, & 23, 2017 |  5:40 p.m.
    (Reservation and paid admission required)

Indoor Ideas

Akron Art Museum

Akron’s Children’s Museum: Tuesdays –Sundays 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
(Paid admission required)

Akron-Summit Public Libraries: Varying programs (play groups, craft clubs, movies, game nights and more) available. For dates and times, please see the Akron-Summit Library website.

Outdoor Ideas

Akron Zoo

  • Election Day: Nov. 7, 2017 |  11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
    (FREE) Enjoy free admission for all guests! Parking is $3.
  • Zoothing Hour: Nov. 18, 2017 |  10:00 a.m.
    (Regular admission rates apply)

Summit County MetroParks (FREE)

  • 54th annual Fall Hiking Spree: Runs through November 30th
    (FREE)

Know of something that should be added? Contact us! We’d love to share anything that is family-friendly, inclusive and fun for all of our friends in the community. Don’t forget to check out our calendar of events – full of community expos, trainings, and other important information.

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As I See It: CJ http://www.summitdd.org/as-i-see-it/cj/ http://www.summitdd.org/as-i-see-it/cj/#respond Fri, 29 Sep 2017 08:00:09 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=7045 “I wouldn’t change a thing about me. I don’t want to be anyone else. I am CJ. I am different. I am unique.” CJ is a charming, intelligent and determined man that, like anyone in their 20s, is beginning to… […]

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“I wouldn’t change a thing about me. I don’t want to be anyone else. I am CJ. I am different. I am unique.”

CJ is a charming, intelligent and determined man that, like anyone in their 20s, is beginning to find his place and purpose in the community. And he believes his gift is to share his knowledge with others.

“I want people to know that I have a photographic memory. I can memorize people, pages and facts,” he expressed. “I know about sports, cartoons, movies, music, geography and I have memorized the whole Bible.”

“Every day I learn something,” he said. “It is very important for me to share my information with others because I can’t even keep the information in my brain! I want others to learn from me and I want to be a positive influence on others. I also want to have a positive attitude when I am with others.”

CJ discovered his talent and thirst for knowledge when he was eight years old. He moved from Wisconsin to Cuyahoga Falls in the first grade and noticed that he started to be picked first for every academic team.

“It made me feel really good to be a part of my class and my school,” he shared. “I love learning and listening to other people’s opinions, and I have learned to be respectful of those opinions.”

When asked about inclusion, CJ took a pause, but profoundly expressed that it’s all about being welcomed in the community.

“I have felt excluded, and I used to be excluded, especially when I am new (to a group of people),” he reflected. “I will not be insulted or hurt and I will stand my ground.” But he has learned how to adjust to new people and places. “I learned that if I want friends and to feel comfortable with the people around me, I must first be a friend.”

“Inclusion means to me that I have a voice and that my voice is heard,” CJ stated. “It is also the ability to speak my mind and share what is important to me with others.”

He prides himself on trying new things, being a hard worker, finding ways to relate to people, being honest, never giving up and always striving to be the best person he can be.

“My goal for the future is to continue to have a positive attitude,” he shared. “Another goal is to be more respectful of other people and not to have people say negative things about me.”

Get to know the wonderful and unique people Summit DD supports by reading their stories here!

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Issue 3 Will Renew Funding for Disability Services http://www.summitdd.org/blog/issue-3-will-renew-funding-disability-services/ http://www.summitdd.org/blog/issue-3-will-renew-funding-disability-services/#respond Tue, 26 Sep 2017 16:16:11 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=7062 Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board, or Summit DD, will put Issue 3 to voters asking to approve a six-year renewal of its 4.5 mil operating levy on November 7 general election ballot. What is Issue 3? Issue 3 is not… […]

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Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board, or Summit DD, will put Issue 3 to voters asking to approve a six-year renewal of its 4.5 mil operating levy on November 7 general election ballot.

What is Issue 3?

Issue 3 is not a new tax, and will fund services from 2019-2024.  If it passes, there will be a 0% tax increase in Summit County. Residents currently pay $11.50 per month, per $100,000 home valuation. This will NOT change if the levy passes in November, and Summit DD will continue to receive the funds it needs to empower people of all abilities. This levy represents approximately 80 percent of Summit DD’s funding.

If the levy passes, Summit DD will continue to fund day programming, transportation, and residential support to more than 2,600 adults.   Summit DD pledges more than $25 million in Medicaid match for these services using local tax dollars.  That Medicaid match draws down an additional $60 million in Federal Medicaid money that is invested into the local economy through more than 500 disability service providers.

If the levy fails, access to those services and federal Medicaid dollars would be in jeopardy.  In addition, early intervention services provided by Summit DD to more than 1,000 kids and families age 0 -6 would be discontinued.  Funding for programs like Special Olympics would be discontinued.  Support to schools and teens to assist transition to more independent, community-based services when they are adults would no longer be available.

Registering to vote

The last day to register to vote in the November 7 election is on October 10.

Check on the status of your voter registration here!

Register to vote or change your address here!

You can register to vote in-person at the following locations:

  • At any county board of elections or the Secretary of State’s office.
  • At public libraries.
  • At the offices of the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
  • At any public high school or vocational school.
  • Offices of designated agencies including:
    • The Department of Job and Family Services;
    • The Department of Health (including the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program);
    • The Department of Mental Health;
    • Summit DD (call 330-634-8676);
    • The Rehabilitation Services Commission; or
    • Any state-assisted college or university that provides assistance to disabled students.

You can also register to vote by mail. Download the form at the Summit County Board of Elections. You may also request a registration form from a board of elections by mail, telephone, in person or by having another person obtain it for you. After completing the form, return it to the Summit County Board of Elections, 470 Grant Street Akron, OH 44311.

There are several resources for voters with disabilities.

Absentee & Early Voting

You can skip the lines on election day two ways: absentee voting by mail and early in-person voting. Both options begin October 9th and end November 6th. If you need assistance with voting, this is a great option.

Absentee Voting by Mail

Absentee voting has many benefits. You can vote early, it is convenient, it reduces the chance of lines at the polls on Election Day, and absentee ballots are the first votes counted on Election Night.

  1. Request an absentee ballot. Download an absentee ballot application and mail it to: Summit County Board of Elections 470 Grant Street Akron, Ohio 44311. If you can not download the form you can send a written request to the Board of Elections that includes required information. The last day to request an absentee ballot is November 4th.
  2. Complete your ballot at your leisure.
  3. Return your ballot one of two ways. You can mail it to Summit County Board of Elections, 470 Grant Street Akron, Ohio 44311. Make sure it has enough postage. USPS recommends purchasing a postage label at the window. Your ballot must be postmarked by the day before the election to count. You can also return it in-person to Summit County Board of Elections by 7:30 pm on November 7th.
  4. You can track your absentee ballot here.

Do not take your absentee ballot to your polling location.

Early In-Person Voting

If you are a registered voter, you can skip the lines at vote at the Summit County Board of Elections, 470 Grant Street Akron, Ohio 44311 between October 9th through 2 pm on November 6th.

Election Day

Find your polling location. Polls are open between 6:30 am and 7:30 pm.

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Ryan’s Story: Taking the Wheel in Life http://www.summitdd.org/blog/my-story/ryans-story-taking-wheel-life/ http://www.summitdd.org/blog/my-story/ryans-story-taking-wheel-life/#respond Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:00:47 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=7039 “Life is like a car. You can either be a passenger watching life go by, or be the driver and determine where you want to go. I spent many years in the passenger seat simply coasting. So I believe that… […]

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“Life is like a car. You can either be a passenger watching life go by, or be the driver and determine where you want to go. I spent many years in the passenger seat simply coasting. So I believe that every single opportunity you have to take the wheel, do it! It’s a question of identity and integrity. Who are you?”

These empowering words were shared in a recent interview with a young, ambitious college student named Ryan. He was born with cerebral palsy and utilizes a power chair—but in no way has Ryan let that define him. Over the years, his determination has been tested, but he’s made it his mission to overcome any and all obstacles.

Ryan is starting his junior year at Malone University—and in that time he has been quite the model student! He participates in the Chamber choir, glee club, and theater group. Plus he’s held leadership roles in each of those activities, including chaplain, student leader, and theater discussion leader who facilitates post performance talks with the audience. He’s even performed with his chamber choir in Kenya. And to top it all off, he’s made the Dean’s List each and every year.

“I’ve tried to really involve myself in as much as I can on campus. The university has been so, so supportive. They have bent over backwards! Specifically Anna Meadows [Director of Student Accessibility Services for Malone University]. She helped me with my transition from high school to college and with so many other things, it’s been amazing,” commented Ryan gratefully.

“At Malone we see each student as part of our community. We work to ensure that each member has access to all parts of campus both programmatically and physically. It has been such a pleasure to have Ryan as part of the community. He pours his faith, genuine love for people and intelligence into everything that he does at Malone. Ryan’s passion for life is evident to all those he interacts with, he really is a source of encouragement and inspiration to many on campus,” said Anna Meadows, the Director of Student Accessibility Services for Malone University.

Ryan’s infectious personality has helped him build a fun squad of friends in his tenure at Malone. “Austin, Avery, John and I have quickly become inseparable! We share everything with each other. I really commend these guys for being such great friends,” said Ryan. They’ve lived together, traveled together, and have made memories that’ll last a lifetime.

In a moment of reflection during the interview for this story, Ryan shared the very moment that set him on this amazing path at Malone University. “When I first moved in to campus I was shell shocked! I had the opportunity for a staff person to assist me throughout the school year so I wouldn’t get overwhelmed. However, at one point I felt a peace come over me. And in that moment I decided that I didn’t need help because I had faith and courage to go it alone!” Ryan recalled confidently.

In the coming years, Ryan hopes to become a hospital chaplain to “make a difference for people during a time of need,” he said. Ryan has already interned in that role at Akron Children’s Hospital and hopes to make it a career after graduation. When asked what advice he would give to others trying to find their path in life, he replied, “write out your goals and apply yourself to achieve them. Because regret is a monster that will eat you up. It’s never too late to grab the wheel and take the driver’s seat in life!”

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Summer Camp Fun for All Abilities http://www.summitdd.org/blog/inclusive-summer-camp-pilot/ http://www.summitdd.org/blog/inclusive-summer-camp-pilot/#respond Wed, 13 Sep 2017 18:35:04 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=7025 With fall quickly approaching, it’s fun to reminisce about summer highlights. For some campers and counselors in Summit County, these 2017 memories will be of the inclusive summer camp fun they had. Kids of all abilities were welcomed at several… […]

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With fall quickly approaching, it’s fun to reminisce about summer highlights. For some campers and counselors in Summit County, these 2017 memories will be of the inclusive summer camp fun they had. Kids of all abilities were welcomed at several area camps thanks to a new pilot program from Summit DD.

“It’s about shedding the fears,” Summit DD’s Assistant Director of Inclusion, Lynnette Klejka shared about the pilot program to support local Parks and Rec camps. “We wanted to ensure that all kids had opportunity.” She emphasized the importance of creating opportunities to include kids of all abilities in community programs.

Klejka and her team worked with local communities to provide extra support and guidance to their Parks and Rec programs. Using local college students pursuing careers in teaching or disability-related fields, Summit DD staff trained the students to support the camps. Summit DD helped them identify ways to support the special needs of some of the campers and still foster the care-free summer day camp atmosphere that all families seek.

“Having someone there to be a sounding board to get their perspective and advice is so valuable,” shared Matt Kress of Green Local Parks and Rec. The City of Green was one of a few local communities that participated in the pilot program. “We would tell [Summit DD] what we tried and where we were stuck.”

Kress explained that having a knowledgeable resource to coach them was invaluable. It helped to guide them and set them up for long term success. “[Our liaison] didn’t step in and do things for us,” he said. “She would watch us and then offer suggestions and critiques. And many of the suggestions were helpful for all kids, not just the campers with disabilities.”

“The biggest benefit is seeing kids of all abilities coming together to enjoy community programs – and just allowing kids to be together,” Klejka shared.

The pilot program worked with five organizations and more than 500 kids of all abilities throughout Summit County. Summit DD staff were available to each location as liaisons and trained the college students. The liaisons then checked in on the progress and offered assistance when the camps or college students encountered challenges.

Additionally, because Summit DD staff coached the programs, rather than simply adding an additional counselor, these camps learned valuable skills. With these new skills they now have the ability to use the techniques to foster inclusive camp programs for their communities next year and into the future.

Klejka shared that she was pleased with the results of the pilot program. “We’re looking forward to taking what we’ve learned and helping more communities include kids with special needs.”

The City of Green’s Parks and Rec camp agreed wholeheartedly on the success of the pilot. “I would say to try to be as inclusive as you can. Get as much training as you can,” Kress advised other communities thinking about participating next year. “Having this service come to the camp is better than trying to guess your way through it. You can avoid a lot of missteps if you have assistance.”

Want to be included?

Sign up for our eNewsletter and be the first to know about details for next year’s inclusive summer camps in your community.

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2017 Family-Friendly Fall Activities http://www.summitdd.org/blog/2017-family-friendly-fall-activities/ http://www.summitdd.org/blog/2017-family-friendly-fall-activities/#respond Thu, 24 Aug 2017 17:25:14 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=6993 It’s that time of year again, when the crisp mornings and warm afternoons combine to create the most beautiful fall colors – perfect for outdoor activities! And Northeast Ohio has no shortage of great family-friendly fall activities available as we round the… […]

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It’s that time of year again, when the crisp mornings and warm afternoons combine to create the most beautiful fall colors – perfect for outdoor activities! And Northeast Ohio has no shortage of great family-friendly fall activities available as we round the corner into the holiday season. Check out some of the wonderful opportunities we’ve compiled  from around the area for your family to enjoy.

September

Stow Summer Sunset Blast: Join the community for Stow’s end of Summer celebration event. Complete with the best fireworks show in the area, this event is all about Fun in Stow! Activities include food trucks, inflatables, petting zoo, rock walls, and more!

  • Dates: September 2-3 from 3PM-10PM
  • Website: stowohio.org/calendar/stow-summer-sunset-blast/

Taste of Hudson: One of the region’s premier culinary, lifestyle and entertainment festivals, “The Taste” is presented by Akron Children’s Hospital and features more than a dozen restaurants, plus an interactive kids area, artist exhibits, and more!

  • Dates: September 3 from noon-8PM, and September 4 from 11AM-6PM
  • Website:tasteofhudson.com

Kent State University Aeronautics Fair: 2017 marks the 21st anniversary of the Kent State University Aeronautics Fair. Enjoy free-entrance while viewing aircraft, enjoying food vendors and visiting dozens of booths. This is a family-oriented, educational, community event.

  • Date: September 9 from 7AM-4PM
  • Website: kent.edu/AeroFair

October

Akron Boo at the Zoo: Dress your little ghosts and goblins in their costumes for everyone’s favorite non-scary Halloween event, Boo at the Zoo presented by Acme Fresh Market. See the Akron Zoo website for times and costs.

  • Dates: October 14-15, 21-22, 28-29
  • Website: akronzoo.org/boo-at-the-zoo

Fall Family Outing at Summit Metro Parks: Fall into autumn fun with free hayrides, bonfires, naturalist activities, live music, apple cider, cookies and more. A wheelchair-accessible hay wagon is available.

  • Date: October 7 from 6PM-9PM
  • Website: summitmetroparks.org

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad: View wildlife and scenery in the comfort of climate-controlled train cars. Get on and off at any station. Spend a whole day exploring or just a few hours. Or join the CVSR for special excursions like Bike Aboard, Ales on Rails, the Grape Escape, or the Polar Express. Visit the CVSR website for schedules and costs.

  • Dates: Visit CVSR.com for dates and schedules
  • Phone: 1-800-468-4070
  • Website: CVSR.com

Kuner’s Fruit Farm: Grab the family and head out to Kuner’s, where you can pick your own apples! While you’re there, be sure to check out their award-winning cider, apple butter, honey and fresh plums!

  • Dates: Now through Thanksgiving weekend
  • Phone: 330-896-1391
  • Email: rkuner@mindspring.com

November

Akron Comicon Sixth Annual Comic Book & MONSTERFEST MANIA: Swing by the John S. Knight Center in downtown Akron to enjoy comic book heroes of the past, present and future! Be sure to also swing by Summit DD’s booth at the event. For ticket prices and further details, visit the Akron Comicon website.

  • Dates: November 4 from 10AM-6PM and November 5 from 10AM-4PM
  • Website: www.akroncomicon.com

Akron Children’s Hospital Tree Festival: Each year, more than 200 decorated trees, 85,000 strings of lights, and countless other holiday creations are displayed at the John S. Knight Center to benefit Akron Children’s Hospital. Proceeds support patient care programs, education and research.

  • Dates: Nov 18-26 (visit website for exact times)
  • Website: akronchildrens.org/cms/holiday_tree_festival/

The 9th Annual Holiday Show by Crafty Mart: Crafty Mart will be hosting vendors in Musica, Summit Artspace and at the Akron Art Museum. Basically, we’ll be taking over downtown Akron for an amazing Small Business Saturday! What a way to kick off your holiday shopping experience.

  • Dates: Nov 25-26 (visit website for exact times)

Deck the Hall: Bring the whole family to enjoy one of Ohio’s largest and most spectacular holiday traditions, Deck the Hall. The estate is illuminated inside and out with over 850,000 lights and the historic Manor House is decorated and inspired by the theme of “Postcards from the Past.” DAZZLE is a fantastic outdoor light show animated to new music each year and Gingerbread Land, their popular Playgarden is “dressed up” for the holiday season. Visit the Stan Hywet website for exact times and ticketing information.

  • Dates: November 24 through December 30
  • Website: stanhywet.org/events/deck-hall-2017

December

Check back soon for December events

Visit our online Event Calendar.

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Angel’s Army: Fighting for Autism Awareness http://www.summitdd.org/blog/my-story/angels-army-autism-awareness/ http://www.summitdd.org/blog/my-story/angels-army-autism-awareness/#respond Wed, 23 Aug 2017 08:16:17 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=6849 “Angel wasn’t diagnosed with Autism until she was 13 or 14,” recalled Angel’s mom, Denise. “We didn’t know much about Autism then.” The diagnosis brought relief and new opportunity for Angel and her family. Denise explained that while Angel had… […]

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“Angel wasn’t diagnosed with Autism until she was 13 or 14,” recalled Angel’s mom, Denise. “We didn’t know much about Autism then.”

The diagnosis brought relief and new opportunity for Angel and her family. Denise explained that while Angel had plenty of friends and family around her as support, the diagnosis opened up additional resources to Angel such as Summit DD, Autism Speaks and programs at her former high school. These supports, along with hard work and her family have helped Angel thrive.

“She’s had a lot of doors opened,” Denise said of the people and resources available to Angel. “I would recommend people get involved with Summit DD and groups like Autism Speaks.”

Since that day more than 15 years ago, Angel has made her mark on life and her community. She has been successfully employed at a local Wendy’s franchise for over 11 years. “Her manager has complimented her on what a hard-worker she is,” her mom said proudly. “I enjoy working,” Angel added.

“Angel is a beautiful person inside and out,” said Angel’s Summit DD Service and Support Administrator, Amy Hodgekins. “She loves helping people and is always willing to help wherever she can.”

Angel has also won numerous awards, such as the Outstanding Student of the Year and the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center’s Distinguished Alumni Award. “She was the first person with Autism to win the Alumni of the year,” Denise clarified. “Even the owner of Wendy’s went [to the award ceremony] too.”

Any of these on their own would be a stellar accomplishment for anyone to achieve. But for Angel and her mom, they wanted to make an even bigger impact.

“In June 2006, we went to Pittsburg to walk our first Autism Speaks Walk with Angel’s cousin Johnny,” Denise explained. “We did that for about two years until we were approached to help start a walk here in the Cleveland-Akron area.” She explained that they were one of the initial families that made up the new Cleveland location of the organization. Their team name, Angel’s Army, is in reference to Angel’s brother who served in the Army at the time.

“There were 220 people there,” Angel shared about the size of the first Angel’s Army team. “Since [our first walk] we have raised over $50,000 for Autism Speaks to go to programs and therapies. We’re doing it to help the many people diagnosed with Autism. It’s us giving back.”

Angel and her mom have continued to work closely with Autism Speaks to raise money and awareness for Autism. They speak at local schools, clubs and events when they have the opportunity. They even had the chance to meet with Mayor Frank Jackson on April 2nd as the City of Cleveland took the opportunity to Light It Up Blue. “I got to talk to him and talk about Autism Awareness for Light It Up Blue,” Angel shared about meeting Mayor Jackson.

Angel and her mom have made it their goal to raise money, awareness and acceptance for people who have Autism, and feel that progress is definitely being made since Angel’s diagnosis so many years ago. And through their unwavering advocacy, it seems like anywhere they go, Angel’s Army will continue to march on.

Share the success

Read more blogs about others who are changing lives and creating awareness in their communities.

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