Press Room – Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board http://www.summitdd.org Serving Thu, 14 Dec 2017 16:00:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Summit DD Levy Passes By Wide Margins http://www.summitdd.org/news/press-room/summit-dd-levy-passes-wide-margins/ http://www.summitdd.org/news/press-room/summit-dd-levy-passes-wide-margins/#respond Wed, 08 Nov 2017 03:33:55 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=7152 With 72% of the vote, the Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board (Summit DD) passed its renewal levy, Issue 3, on Tuesday night. “We are thankful for the many organizations, government officials and citizens who helped to pass this levy,” said… […]

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With 72% of the vote, the Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board (Summit DD) passed its renewal levy, Issue 3, on Tuesday night.

“We are thankful for the many organizations, government officials and citizens who helped to pass this levy,” said Summit DD Superintendent, John Trunk on the passage of the Agency’s renewal levy. “We are fortunate to have the backing of a community that understands how important it is to fund essential services for children and adults with disabilities.”

The renewal, which makes up approximately 80% of the Agency’s operating budget, funds services like employment supports, transportation, and residential care among others for more than 4,700 people with developmental disabilities in Summit County.  The renewal funds services from 2019 – 2024.

“We’re proud to say, with this renewal, it will make 18 years without an increase,” shared Trunk. “Even with less revenue coming in, we are committed to meeting the growing need for services such as early intervention for kids, increased oversight and safety monitoring for adults, and finding new and effective ways to support teens with special needs as they transition into adulthood,” Trunk continued. “At the end of the day, we are here to help people live their lives to the fullest.”

Read more about the campaign and community support that helped pass Issue 3.

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Look Beyond: An Art Show for ALL Abilities http://www.summitdd.org/news/look-beyond-art-show-abilities/ http://www.summitdd.org/news/look-beyond-art-show-abilities/#respond Wed, 19 Jul 2017 16:47:30 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=6863 (Tallmadge, Ohio) – Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board, or Summit DD, Summit County Probate Court and the Akron Art Museum have partnered to present Look Beyond: An Art Show for All Abilities. This unique art show will feature over 60… […]

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(Tallmadge, Ohio) – Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board, or Summit DD, Summit County Probate Court and the Akron Art Museum have partnered to present Look Beyond: An Art Show for All Abilities.

This unique art show will feature over 60 pieces of art in all sizes and mediums created by artists with developmental disabilities. Through this partnership, over 25 artists with disabilities in Summit County will have their works on display at the Akron Art Museum.

“A community is strongest when everyone is included,” Summit DD Superintendent John Trunk shared. “This partnership is celebrating all the amazing things that individuals with developmental disabilities accomplish every day and all the things they contribute to help make our community a better one.”

The show will open on August 3 at the Akron Art Museum from 4 – 6 pm. The show is free to the public. The art will move to Summit County Courthouse and remain on display from August 7 – 18.

“We are excited to be part of this show,” Summit County Probate Court Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer expressed. “This is art, and the artists, as all artists, have their own unique view of the world. So, the works should appeal to a variety of tastes and sensibilities. We are thrilled for the opportunity to show the public at the Akron Art Museum and the Summit County Court House.”

Art will be available for purchase after the show. For more details, please visit SummitDD.org/Events.

Summit DD is the community resource that connects more than 4,700 adults and children with developmental disabilities and their families to services and supports in Summit County. It is the Agency’s mission to connect people with disabilities to supports that empower each individual to contribute to their own success and to that of their community. The Agency is seeking to renew its operating levy on November 7, 2017.  More information regarding the Agency is available online at SummitDD.org.

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Hope Homes Discontinues Operations, REM, Ohio to Become Provider of Record http://www.summitdd.org/news/press-room/hope-homes-discontinues-operations-rem-ohio-become-provider-record/ http://www.summitdd.org/news/press-room/hope-homes-discontinues-operations-rem-ohio-become-provider-record/#respond Fri, 16 Jun 2017 15:08:42 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=6775 Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board (Summit DD) was informed late Wednesday from Home Homes officials that the Agency can no longer ensure the health and safety of those its serves due to financial constraints.  Hope Homes will cease all operations… […]

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Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board (Summit DD) was informed late Wednesday from Home Homes officials that the Agency can no longer ensure the health and safety of those its serves due to financial constraints.  Hope Homes will cease all operations on Friday, June 16.

Hope Homes is a disability services provider in 14 group homes and operates a day program in Stow, Ohio.  Hope Homes currently serves approximately 40 individuals with developmental disabilities in Summit County.

In an effort to ensure the continuity of care, REM, Ohio will become the provider of record for the all individuals currently served by Hope Homes effective Friday, June 14.

“The quality of care individuals receives is our primary concern,” indicated Summit DD Assistant Superintendent Lisa Kamlowsky.

“REM, Ohio has assured us that they will retain certified staff and that individuals can remain in their current homes,” continued Kamlowsky.  “This will provide continuity of care while we work with each individual and family to ensure they are able to exercise their right to choose a provider that meets their needs.”

This announcement follows a suspension and proposed revocation issued to Hope Homes by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities in July, 2016.  Summit DD identified several compliance issues stemming from multiple Major Unusual Incidents that could potentially effect health and safety.  Those issues were confirmed by compliance audits by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities.

“Health and safety of those we support is non-negotiable,” commented Summit DD Community Supports and Services Director Drew Williams.  “Our staff has been continuously monitoring the services in the homes since issues were identified and we will continue to do so during this transition.”

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Summit DD Hosts 2nd Annual Community Give Back Day http://www.summitdd.org/news/press-room/summit-dd-hosts-2nd-annual-community-give-back-day/ http://www.summitdd.org/news/press-room/summit-dd-hosts-2nd-annual-community-give-back-day/#respond Fri, 09 Jun 2017 14:56:10 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=6749 (Tallmadge, Ohio) – On June 5th the Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board, or Summit DD, participated in their 2nd Annual Community Give Back Day. More than 140 Summit DD staff members volunteered at several local organizations including, Haven of Rest,… […]

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(Tallmadge, Ohio) – On June 5th the Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board, or Summit DD, participated in their 2nd Annual Community Give Back Day. More than 140 Summit DD staff members volunteered at several local organizations including, Haven of Rest, Emerge Counseling Services, Lakemore Parks, and six different Goodwill stores throughout the county.

This initiative is part of Summit DD’s strategic direction to build inclusive communities. The Agency’s Board launched a new policy in 2016 giving all full-time staff a paid volunteer day to give back to the Summit County community.

“We are committed to being a good corporate citizen by partnering with fellow Summit County organizations. Our staff is driven to be active members in their community. I’m proud of their willingness to give back for the second year in a row,” shared Summit DD Superintendent, John Trunk.

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“We are grateful that Summit DD chose Haven of Rest as one of their sites to volunteer,” shared Lori Morgan from the Volunteer Department at Haven of Rest.

“Summit DD has some seriously hard workers! We really hope to partner with them again next year!” commented Colleen Bell, the Director of Education and Marketing at Emerge Counseling Services.

Summit DD is the community resource that connects more than 4,000 adults and children with developmental disabilities and their families to services and supports in Summit County. It is the Agency’s mission to connect people with disabilities to supports that empower each individual to contribute to their own success and to that of their community.  More information regarding the Agency is available online at SummitDD.org.

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Summit DD Teams Up with Akron Children’s Museum to Create Play for All Abilities http://www.summitdd.org/news/summit-dd-teams-akron-childrens-museum-create-play-abilities/ http://www.summitdd.org/news/summit-dd-teams-akron-childrens-museum-create-play-abilities/#respond Tue, 24 Jan 2017 20:48:11 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=6086 Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board (Summit DD) and the Cleveland Sight Center have teamed up with the newly renovated Akron Children’s Museum to create an inclusive learning environment for kids of all abilities. Located inside Lock 3, the environment offers… […]

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Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board (Summit DD) and the Cleveland Sight Center have teamed up with the newly renovated Akron Children’s Museum to create an inclusive learning environment for kids of all abilities. Located inside Lock 3, the environment offers tactile, sensory-friendly play where kids with and without disabilities can learn and grow together.

The collaboration follows other inclusive improvements in Lock 3, like Summit DD’s Winter Fest. The museum’s creators, Betsy and Ryan Hartschuh, reached out to Summit DD to see how they could expand inclusive opportunities at the museum.

“Everyone has different learning styles; some are visual, some are tactile, some are auditory. We were looking to incorporate all different aspects of learning so everyone has the best opportunity to participate,” said Haylee DeSonne, Developmental Specialist at Summit DD. DeSonne, alongside Brenda Lammers of the Cleveland Sight Center, co-wrote and received a grant for $7,000 from the GPD Employees’ Foundation to turn the inclusive vision of the museum into a reality.

The museum creators explained that the goal is to have the kids dictate the play rather than directing it, creating a hands-on, group experience.

“It’s such an immersive play environment,” said Akron Children’s Museum co-creator, Ryan Hartschuh. “The disability disappears. Everybody’s just playing and sharing and creating their own little world,” shared Hartschuh. “Everybody fits in.”

The learning environment features switch-adapted buttons for kids with limited mobility, accessible ramps and exhibits focused on tactile, sensory-friendly experiences. This style of learning has been stimulating for kids with and without disabilities, and has lent itself to some of the museum’s favorite exhibits.

A new exhibit developed through the collaboration is a light box, featuring a glowing table top for illuminating and manipulating shapes and objects. It has been a popular attraction among all visitors and is very beneficial to kids with visual impairments who rely on their sense of touch.

These kinds of natural adaptations are what makes the museum special. “It’s such a springboard for our workplaces and our communities,” said Brenda Lammers, of the Cleveland Sight Center. Brenda explained how inclusive play at a young age fosters inclusion for the future.

The collaboration is a part of Summit DD’s vision to build a community that’s inclusive for everyone.

“Downtown Akron is making changes to be more inclusive and we’re hoping to develop that even further. I think we have a huge dream in mind and we have a lot of partners on board but it takes the whole community to bring it all together and make that change,” added DeSonne.

“Whenever you see the kids and their smiles, it’s like, how could you not be happy! We’re all so passionate about what we do, and that’s what keeps us wanting to do more,” concluded DeSonne.

The museum is open Tues-Sun 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and is located inside Lock 3 at 216 South Main Street in Akron, OH.

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Summit DD Partners with Local Schools to Support Students http://www.summitdd.org/news/press-room/summit-dd-partners-local-schools-support-students/ http://www.summitdd.org/news/press-room/summit-dd-partners-local-schools-support-students/#respond Tue, 24 Jan 2017 14:59:45 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=6081 The Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board, or Summit DD, has partnered with Woodridge and Copley-Fairlawn schools to launch a Transition Services for Youth pilot program. The initiative is being funded by local tax dollars that were set aside by Summit… […]

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The Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board, or Summit DD, has partnered with Woodridge and Copley-Fairlawn schools to launch a Transition Services for Youth pilot program. The initiative is being funded by local tax dollars that were set aside by Summit DD in 2017 to specifically create and foster innovative programs. 

The Transition Services for Youth pilot program will help young adults with developmental disabilities prepare for the professional world once they graduate. Students from the ages of 14 to 22 will be able to take advantage of community-based career exploration activities, to include: workplace tours, volunteer opportunities, internships, job coaching and more, all in tandem with their regular academic activities.

“Summit DD is very excited to be able to partner with these organizations and pilot this program. Engaging students and families early with supports that prepare students for employment is critical to post school success. I’m really looking forward to collaborating with students, families and everyone involved to make this pilot program a success,” shared Drew Williams, Summit DD Director of Community Supports and Development.

Summit DD, parents and school officials from Woodridge and Copley-Fairlawn came together at the end of 2016 to seek out and select skilled local private providers for these unique services. After a detailed interview process, Koinonia Homes was selected for Woodridge and United Disability Services (UDS) for Copley/Fairlawn.

“I have seen the focus of education, especially for students with special needs, shift to outcomes after graduation. This partnership will allow our students to be provided with a wealth of opportunities beginning at age 14 designed to maximize their independence and self-sufficiency in the community,” shared Heather Doyle, Director of Pupil Services at Copley-Fairlawn City Schools.

“I am so grateful that Summit DD is willing to partner with the Woodridge Local School District to provide this opportunity for students. Our middle and high school students with disabilities will be able to have access to a number of different areas of transition such as: the Summit DD Discovery process, career exploration, and local authentic work experiences. These will all be outstanding opportunities for our students to learn the skills they need to be successful in employment,” commented Valerie Riedthaler, Director of Pupil Services at Woodridge Local School District.

The Transition Services for Youth pilot program is currently scheduled to run until the end of 2018. Throughout the pilot, Summit DD Service and Support Administrators (SSAs) and Navigators will help guide students through a detailed discovery process to determine their individual goals. This person-centered process will help the providers determine a path for their services. Summit DD will also help foster the relationship between the school districts and the providers. They’ll monitor the quality of service and provide best practice training when necessary.

In the future, it is Summit DD’s goal to build and maintain this program throughout the entire county. By fostering individualized goals for these students and ensuring quality services that meet their needs, Summit DD and the school districts will make the community a stronger and more inclusive place.

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Summit DD Announces Final Plans to Comply With Federal Mandate http://www.summitdd.org/news/press-room/summit-dd-announces-final-plans-comply-federal-mandate/ http://www.summitdd.org/news/press-room/summit-dd-announces-final-plans-comply-federal-mandate/#respond Thu, 19 Jan 2017 15:55:27 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=6071 Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board, or Summit DD, began its transition plan, Our Journey Forward, more than 18 months ago.  This plan ensures the Agency complies with Federal Medicaid rules to offer more inclusive programs and to eliminate the conflict… […]

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Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board, or Summit DD, began its transition plan, Our Journey Forward, more than 18 months ago.  This plan ensures the Agency complies with Federal Medicaid rules to offer more inclusive programs and to eliminate the conflict of interest that occurs with the County Board as both a provider of service and a funder and coordinator of those same services.

Last January the Agency released a detailed timeline to eliminate the conflict of interest by gradually transitioning individuals from Summit DD provided adult day, transportation and community employment programs to private providers.

Timeline Update

Summit DD successfully transitioned all individuals attending its Akron Center to private providers of their choice by June 2016.  The Agency collaborated with staff, families and individuals to make this transition for more than 70 people as seamless as possible.

“We are pleased to report that through follow up calls, families and individuals are completely satisfied with their new providers,” Summit DD Superintendent, John Trunk commented about the process.

While some individuals transitioned from a workshop to community employment, many individuals transitioned to a program very similar to what they received from Summit DD.  “Our goal has been, and remains to be, to replace each person’s service with something better than they currently have by listening to their goals and needs,” continued Trunk.

The Agency is on schedule to transition individuals who attend Summit DD’s Ellet and Southern Centers, Dream Out Loud Studio, and some Community Employment programs to private providers by June 30, 2017.

Summit DD has worked over the last 18 months to increase capacity among private providers in Summit County, including current and new providers.  With new service options available, enrollment in the Agency’s programs has decreased at a faster rate than anticipated.

The Agency is poised to come into compliance with the federal mandate by the end of 2018, ahead of the 2022 mandate.  Individuals will transition from Summit DD’s Tallmadge Center to private providers by June 30, 2018.  By December 30, 2018, Summit DD’s Barberton and Cuyahoga Falls Center, remaining Community Employment Programs and remaining transportation routes will phase out as individuals select new providers.

Summit DD Buildings & Staff

To date, Summit DD has been able to accomplish the transition with minimal impact to staff.  However, if the Agency does not experience enough voluntary turnover, up to 51 full-time staff and 1 part-time staff may be impacted by a layoff effective July 9, 2017.

“We recognize that it is our staff who are ultimately responsible for the successful transition of individuals to other providers,” acknowledged Trunk. “We appreciate that and are committed to supporting them as much as possible as the Agency changes.”

“Summit DD will continue to maintain a presence in our Tallmadge, Barberton and Cuyahoga Falls locations as our work continues to create inclusive communities in Summit County,” reiterated Trunk.  “We will work with the County on the future use of our remaining sites.”

Looking Ahead

“As we look ahead, we must focus on leading the way in building inclusive communities for people of all abilities,” explained Trunk. “With that focus on inclusion, there are several areas in the organization that continue to grow.”

Summit DD will once again ask tax payers to renew its operating levy in November 2017.  The operating levy is not a new tax and is vital to continue empowering adults and children with disabilities and to making communities more inclusive.

The Agency continues to provide and grow services for kids and families with special needs.  Services such as early intervention support for children through age six, support for community day care providers, and working with community organizations to make places we play and learn accessible for all are funded using local levy dollars.

Summit DD provides case management services by listening to the unique needs and aspirations of individuals and connecting them to paid and natural supports.  These supports empower people to achieve their own vision of success with where they work, where they live and a way to get back and forth.  Local levy dollars are used to match federal funds for the provision of these vital services.

Summit DD continues to grow its monitoring and oversight by building capacity in the community for the types of services people need.  The Agency identifies best practices in service provision, training providers, and provide quality assurance oversight.  It investigates unusual incidents in a person’s life ranging from an unscheduled hospitalization to abuse or neglect, understanding why these events occur and reduce the chance of them occurring again.

“Above all, it’s important to remember that Summit DD is not going away,” stated Trunk. “We believe communities are better when they include citizens of all abilities and will continue to connect people with disabilities to supports that empowers each individual to contribute to their own success and to that of their community.”

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Summit DD Renames Barberton Center in Honor of Russ Pry http://www.summitdd.org/news/press-room/summit-dd-renames-barberton-center-honor-russ-pry/ http://www.summitdd.org/news/press-room/summit-dd-renames-barberton-center-honor-russ-pry/#respond Tue, 30 Aug 2016 18:23:37 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=5655 Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board, or Summit DD, passed a resolution at the August 25 board meeting renaming its property located at 501 West Hopocan Avenue, Barberton, Ohio the “Russ Pry Barberton Center.” The motion was introduced by former Board… […]

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Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board, or Summit DD, passed a resolution at the August 25 board meeting renaming its property located at 501 West Hopocan Avenue, Barberton, Ohio the “Russ Pry Barberton Center.”

The motion was introduced by former Board President Randy Briggs.  “The Board lost a very good friend, County Executive Russ Pry,” Briggs stated as he spoke about Russ Pry’s support and involvement with Summit DD. “I am proposing that we rename the Barberton center the Russ Pry Barberton Center as a very fitting tribute,” continued Briggs

The resolution recognized that Mr. Pry dedicated his entire career as a public servant to improving the lives of those most in need in our community.

“Under Mr. Pry’s leadership, collaboration with community partners, innovation, diversity, equity and inclusion were values he lived by in serving the people of Summit County,” stated Summit DD Superintendent John Trunk.

For more details about the Russ Pry Barberton Center Dedication click here.

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Summit DD Expands Job Program to Youth with Disabilities http://www.summitdd.org/news/press-room/summit-dd-expands-job-program-to-youth-with-disabilities/ http://www.summitdd.org/news/press-room/summit-dd-expands-job-program-to-youth-with-disabilities/#respond Thu, 16 Jun 2016 16:04:29 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=5428 Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board, or Summit DD, has partnered with the Summit County Department of Job and Family Services to bring summer youth employment to residents of Summit County with developmental disabilities and other special needs. Summit DD received… […]

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Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board, or Summit DD, has partnered with the Summit County Department of Job and Family Services to bring summer youth employment to residents of Summit County with developmental disabilities and other special needs.

Summit DD received $344,000 from Summit County Department of Job and Family Services to expand its Summer Youth Employment Program to youth who have special needs.  Participants are age 16 through 20 and have a household income at the poverty level.  Federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds the program.

“This partnership is the first of its kind in Summit County and is a step forward for youth with developmental disabilities,” stated John Trunk, Summit DD Superintendent.

“This investment will lead to greater opportunities for youth with disabilities who are graduating from high school to become employed in community jobs, if that is their desire, making our communities and workplaces inclusive for people of all abilities,” Trunk added.

Summit DD is working with several different employers across Summit County to employ 35 students with special needs during this 10-week work program, running through August.

Employers include City of Akron, City of Stow, Marcs, Circle K, Keep Akron Beautiful, Summit County Fairgrounds, Walgreens, Summa Health System, Kmart, and National Church Residence.

On-site job coaches and transportation to and from their job will be provided by several partner providers in Summit County.

Partner providers such as Ardmore, Bridges Rehabilitation Services, Community Connections of North East Ohio, Hattie Larlham, Help Foundation, REM-Ohio and Koinonia will provide job coaching and transportation services.  Summit DD administers and provides oversight of the program.

“More employers are realizing the advantage of employing individuals with developmental disabilities to build a stable, reliable, diverse workforce,” stated Drew Williams, Summit DD Director of Community Supports and Services.  “If an employer hires an individual from the Summer Youth Employment Program, federal funds will pay half of the employee’s wages for the first year; that is certainly an incentive to hire a qualified employee.”

Youth participating in the program will be stocking store shelves, preparing food, beatifying our cities and parks, and performing janitorial tasks.

Because of Summit DD’s access to specialized staff, youth who are not eligible for Summit DD services with specialized needs are also able to access the Summer Youth Employment Program for the first time.

“We believe that everyone who wants to work should have the right to work, whether they have a disability or not,” stated Trunk.  “This collaboration is one of many aimed at supporting kids through their transition to adult life and to make our communities inclusive for all.”

“Our communities are better when they include everyone, from day cares and schools to workplaces and neighborhoods,” Trunk added.

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Summit DD Gives Back to the Community http://www.summitdd.org/news/press-room/summit-dd-gives-back-to-their-community/ http://www.summitdd.org/news/press-room/summit-dd-gives-back-to-their-community/#respond Tue, 07 Jun 2016 16:11:36 +0000 http://www.summitdd.org/?p=5399 (Tallmadge, Ohio) – On June 6th the Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board, or Summit DD, participated in their inaugural Community Give Back Day. More than 120 Summit DD staff members volunteered at several local organizations including, the Boys & Girls… […]

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(Tallmadge, Ohio) – On June 6th the Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board, or Summit DD, participated in their inaugural Community Give Back Day. More than 120 Summit DD staff members volunteered at several local organizations including, the Boys & Girls Club, Hattie’s Gardens, One of A Kind Pet Rescue, and the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.

This initiative is part of Summit DD’s strategic direction to build inclusive communities. The Agency’s Board launched a new policy in 2016 giving all full-time staff an entire paid volunteer day to give back to the Summit County community.

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“Summit DD is committed to being a good corporate citizen by partnering with local, regional and national organizations. Our staff is driven to be active members in the Summit County community. I’m very proud of their willingness to give back,” shared Summit DD Superintendent, John Trunk.

“It’s really great for such a large group to come out to three of our locations. Their efforts will help us be prepared for the summer kids,” commented James Warner II, the Director at the Boys & Girls LeBron James Club.

The Agency plans to make the Community Give Back Day an annual affair, as well as continuing to participate in other Summit County initiatives including, the United Way Day of Action, Green & Clean, Foodbank Food Drives and more.

Summit DD is the community resource that connects more than 4,000 adults and children with developmental disabilities and their families to services and supports in Summit County. It is the Organization’s mission to connect people with disabilities to supports that empower each individual to contribute to their own success and to that of their community.  More information regarding the Agency is available online at SummitDD.org.

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