March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

The Board is gearing up for Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. We have many events planned such as Family Bowling on March 4th and 11th, the Columbus Zoo animals will visit Carroll Hills School on March 14th, and the Banquet is scheduled for March 21st at 6:00 PM at Carroll Hills School. In basketball the list of local rivals keeps growing. St. John's Villa, the Sheriff's Department, Rotary, Ministerial Association, Ohio Department of Transportation, the Fire Department, and the Amish Community are all willing to take on the Cougars for several entertaining basketball games at Carroll Hills School.

Visitors will notice more changes at our different building locations. The Board is taking security very seriously and has improved security measures in the wake of so many recent tragedies. Carroll Hills School has phones in each classroom that can call out for 911 assistance and be in contact with authorities in case of a crisis situation. Each of the classrooms is being fitted with locks that can be locked from within the classroom to improve lock down procedures. Staff and students have also practiced lock down procedures.

Carroll Hills Industries and Carroll Hills Administration will soon have a buzz in system similar to Carroll Hills School. Each of these sites is also in the process of adding locks to enable to be locked rooms from the inside. Each of these locations has also practiced lock down procedures. The Board has a safety committee that meets quarterly. This committee has made security improvements and will continue to address security issues. One of the areas the committee has addressed is a request for security cameras at all sites. Currently all three sites have security cameras.

The Board continues to address the Strategic Plan goal of being more customer focused. I know I have talked about improving transition services and community employment which I find very exciting because it will allow students and adults the opportunity to try out jobs and have more choices and options for work.
The Board will also pay for self-advocacy training. Individuals eligible for Board services will have the opportunity to become Project STIR trained and the Board will pay for the training, reimburse up to $30 per day for meals, and pay for the lodging costs. My goals are to get anyone who is eligible for Board services training on self-advocacy, have self-advocate groups meet monthly at each site, and have a quarterly self-advocate council for Carroll County.

The Board needs input from those being served on how we can improve services and customer satisfaction. Self-advocates can affect change at the local level and also address state and federal government on important issues. The Board is facing declining revenue and federal and state initiatives to change the existing system. These changes include the proposed elimination of Sub Minimum Wage Certificates, privatizing County Board workshops, closing developmental centers, etc. Self-advocates will have the ability to affect what options they have available for transportation, work, day services, housing, etc.