APRIL imagine 017

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April 2<strong>017</strong><br />

Bringing about a vibrant community where people lead fulfilling lives and make meaningful contributions.<br />

The 2<strong>017</strong> Celebration of Possibilities was an enormous success<br />

and, once again, filled the Crossroads Event Center auditorium<br />

with more than 425 guests.<br />

The event, in its 9th year, showcased people and businesses<br />

throughout Fairfield County who best exemplified the Fairfield DD<br />

mission statement—To bring about a vibrant community where<br />

people lead fulfilling lives and make meaningful contributions.<br />

The evening began with the debut of Bad Influence’s song,<br />

Celebrate My Life, which was written and composed specifically<br />

for this year’s event.<br />

The evening introduced seven award-winners to the audience,<br />

via informative videos, who have had, and continue to make, an<br />

impact on the community. In between awards, guests also were<br />

treated to a few sneak peeks into the world of comedian Zach<br />

Anner. First, through a zany skit in which the performer took Superintendent<br />

John Pekar through a short workout session, and<br />

next through a hilarious video clip reel of Zach interviewing<br />

guests as they were coming into the venue at the beginning of<br />

the night.<br />

Fairfield DD favorite Zayne Harshaw, blues guitarist, returned to<br />

the stage this year to perform a guitar solo after his mother,<br />

Pam Whiteley Gwen Harshaw, told the crowd of the enormous amount of community<br />

support Zayne has received from Fairfield County over the<br />

Vickie Rzanski past few years.<br />

While guests finished a delicious<br />

meal by Cheers Chalet<br />

and noshed on doughnuts<br />

from Gypsy Joe’s, headliner<br />

Zach Anner took to the stage to<br />

entertain them with videos and<br />

tales of his adventures around<br />

the world.<br />

For more information, see<br />

page 4.

Staff vs Athletes<br />

Fifty-five volunteers, Thirty-three Committee<br />

members. Over sixty-three sponsors.<br />

Nine performers. One thousand<br />

forty doughnuts. One excellent evening.<br />

How can I even begin to express the<br />

gratitude I have for everyone who worked so hard to<br />

make the Ninth Annual Celebration of Possibilities so successful?<br />

Each year I am blown away when we begin the process<br />

of reviewing the dozens of people and businesses in Fairfield<br />

County who have been nominated for a Celebration<br />

Award. Narrowing that group down to just seven winners is<br />

no easy task.<br />

Then the planning of the event begins. We start with<br />

blank pieces of paper and a brainstorming session. The<br />

ideas that come out of that first meeting are exciting, but<br />

extremely overwhelming. Finding a well-known, talented<br />

and relevant celebrity to entertain at the event is the next<br />

task, and there are so many from which to choose.<br />

But nothing is as remarkable to me as when I start to see<br />

the names of the sponsors and the volunteers roll in. The<br />

entire experience is, well, humbling.<br />

The 2<strong>017</strong> Celebration of Possibilities was one of my favorites<br />

for several reasons. Firstly, I am excited that the categories<br />

of awards were removed to open up the opportunity<br />

for more people and businesses to win an award. Secondly,<br />

the new format for the videos introducing the winners<br />

to the audience were concise, clear and impactful.<br />

Thirdly, the new video monitors secured for us by Innerphase<br />

Video Productions helped to ensure our message<br />

was seen and heard by the over 425 people watching—<br />

not to mention the many more who watched live via<br />

webcasting. And finally, the entertainment was superb. I<br />

am touched and honored that our friends in the band<br />

Bad Influence wrote a special song for the event. And<br />

what can I say about comedian Zach Anner? What a hilarious,<br />

spontaneous and refreshing young man. I certainly<br />

hope we can welcome him back soon.<br />

Thank you to everyone, and I mean everyone, who<br />

helped to make this year’s event a success. I am not sure<br />

how we top it next year for our 10th Anniversary. But we’re<br />

going to give it a shot.<br />

John Pekar, Superintendent<br />

The annual Staff vs. Athletes Basketball<br />

game was held on February<br />

16th. Thank you to everyone<br />

who came out to support our<br />

teams!<br />

Get ready to watch the Fairfield Chief’s Special<br />

Olympic Track and Field Team at their upcoming<br />

meets!<br />

May 7 at Dennison University<br />

May 13, Columbus Classic Meet<br />

May 20 at Logan Elm<br />

June 3 at Dublin Fun Meet<br />

June 23—25 at the Ohio Summer<br />

Games<br />

Contact Andrea Headley, 652.3225 for details.



John Franklin Stephens is an actor, author and advocate<br />

who happens to have an extra chromosome in every cell<br />

of his body. Frank is proud to be a man with Down syndrome<br />

whose life is worth living. Check out his article from<br />

the Huffington Post…<br />

The Huffington Post has been kind to publish some<br />

thoughts of mine in the past about the thoughtless use of<br />

the word “retard.” When I was asked if I would write something<br />

for today’s observance of Spread the Word, To End the Word, I decided to finish and make<br />

public a poem I have been working on for a while. I have modeled it on my favorite poem by Robert<br />

Frost. It is no surprise that you will probably find the last three lines of “my” poem to be the best<br />

three lines. Please be gentle as you judge a beginner, and remember the point is: when you<br />

choose words, you can do better than the r-word. Oh, and before<br />

you call me “Retard,” go try and write your own Rubaiyat.<br />

With this poem, which is my first., I rhyme to end the word that’s<br />

cursed. But here, “tis yours to judge, not mine, whether, indeed, I<br />

am well versed. I think it is the best of times, When now we stop to<br />

read the signs. Folks use the word “retarded” far less than when it<br />

was the worst of times. Millions of you make me feel blessed. That<br />

you have pledged to join our quest.<br />

To spread the word to end the word, and from yourselves,<br />

drawn out your best. Yes still the cursed word is heard, where any else would be preferred. With<br />

power still to make us weep, and feel as though our cry’s unheard. The word still dark; the wound<br />

still deep. So, we “...have promises to keep and miles to go before we sleep, and miles to go before<br />

we sleep.” This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and the Special Olympics<br />

in conjunction with Spread the Word to End the Word awareness day on Wednesday, March<br />

2. To find out more about the Spread the Word campaign, please visit the website. Join us in taking<br />

the pledge at R-Word.org.<br />

Fairfield DD Establishes New Employee Recognition Program<br />

Living the Values and Commitments is a program designed to recognize Fairfield DD staff members<br />

who are observed demonstrating the core values of the Fairfield County Board of Developmental<br />

Disabilities.<br />

Co-workers, families, individuals and community members are encouraged to nominate a staff<br />

member who has demonstrated one or more of the following values: Hard work; Innovation and<br />

Fiscal Responsibility; Personalized Services and Choice; Relationships Built on Respect; and Collaboration/Partnerships.<br />

Nominations will be given to Rachel McCoy who will then forward the nominations<br />

to the employee’s direct supervisor.<br />

Staff members who are nominated are eligible for some great incentives. Monthly there will be a<br />

drawing from all nominations and the winning staff member will receive a gift card to a local business.<br />

At the end of June, the top five people with the most nominations will be treated to lunch with<br />

Superintendent John Pekar. This will give winners the opportunity to share ideas and talk about the<br />

future of Fairfield DD with John. Finally, at the end of the year, the person who has received the<br />

most nominations will receive one paid day off.<br />

Nomination forms must be filled thoroughly, this includes the nominator’s name or the nomination<br />

will not be counted. This program is a great way to recognize those who are living the values and<br />

commitments and working hard every day to fulfill our mission. Submission forms are located at<br />

each Fairfield DD building or at http://www.fairfielddd.com/survey/


Cinemark Theater, Lancaster<br />

Mark Giesler, Fairfield DD<br />

Peggy McDevitt, Volunteer<br />

Retired from Fairfield DD<br />

Lancaster Rotary<br />

Legacy Award Winner<br />

Amy Ball, Gorsuch West<br />

Elementary Teacher<br />

Janet Cooper,<br />

Fairfield<br />

Medical Center,<br />

Project SEARCH<br />

Pam Armstrong, Gorsuch<br />

West Elementary Aid<br />

Richard Reveal

Feeling Blue?<br />

During the month of April, visitors<br />

to the Dog Adoption Center and<br />

Shelter will be seeing blue as all<br />

dogs will be named a<br />

different shade of<br />

blue. There will also be<br />

blue dog adoption specials<br />

and the dogs will<br />

be out in the county<br />

spreading the word about child abuse and its<br />

connections to animal abuse.<br />

The Dog Shelter will be accepting donations<br />

for Fairfield County Protective Services<br />

throughout the month. Additionally, the<br />

Dog Warden will make a donation for every<br />

dog adoption and “return to owner” that<br />

occurs during the month. Call 740-687-3647<br />

for information!<br />

All About Reading<br />

Concerned that your child's reading might be<br />

delayed? Struggling to help your child read?<br />

The Fairfield County District Library is teaming up<br />

with SOCIL for a free training called All About<br />

Reading April 25, 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the main<br />

branch.<br />

Designed for parents, the program will include<br />

discussions, hands-on activities, story-telling<br />

demonstrations and cover the basic steps needed<br />

to learn to read and ways to recognize if your child<br />

is having difficulty reading. Information Specialist<br />

Valorie Dombroskas will be on-hand to answer any<br />

questions.<br />

Call 740.653.2745, #140 to register.<br />

The Job and Family Services’<br />

Circus Night and Child Abuse<br />

Prevention Walk will take<br />

place at 5 pm on April 20<br />

in the JFS parking lot.<br />

Come out and support<br />

the community!<br />

Sensory Friendly<br />

Showings<br />

Cinemark Theater in Lancaster will host a<br />

sensory-friendly viewing up Smurf’s: The<br />

Lost Village, at 9:30 am April 15. The cost is<br />

just $5.<br />

Columbus Children’s Theatre will<br />

present a sensory friendly<br />

performance of CRASH, a<br />

play about middle schooler<br />

Crash Coogen based on<br />

the Newberry Award winning<br />

book by Jerry Spinelli.<br />

April 12 @ 7:30p and April 21<br />

@ 1:00p<br />

Recommended for ages 8 and older.<br />

Call 614.224.6673 Ext. 23 for details.<br />

Mary is ready to hit the bike path, thanks to the<br />

new bike she received with help from Individual<br />

Support Coordinator Meg Peterseim. Beep! Beep!


Every March is important to Fairfield DD as we honor National Developmental Disabilities Awareness<br />

Month. But raising awareness isn't about putting up posters within the walls of our own buildings. It's<br />

about reaching out to the community, engaging our neighbors and educating the public.<br />

This year we did just that by hosting four community events in addition to the annual Celebration of<br />

Possibilities.<br />

One of the most interesting events this year was the Free Movie Night we held on March 14 at Ohio<br />

University Lancaster. We were able to secure the rights to show a fascinating HBO documentary titled<br />

How to Dance in Ohio. This film follows a group of central Ohio teens who are on the Autism<br />

Spectrum as they prepare for their first formal dance. All of the teens are participants of Amigo Family<br />

Counseling's Respons·ability Social Therapy (RST), an approach centered on group therapy, in Columbus,<br />

Ohio.<br />

Not only did movie-goers have the change to view this incredible film, they were able to meet and<br />

interact with Dr. Emilio Amigo himself as he participated in a pre-film discussion. Dr. Amigo's creative<br />

approach to working with individuals on the Autism Spectrum focuses heavily on encouraging people<br />

to engage relationships - something many on the Spectrum are often hesitant to do.<br />

" I T H I N K E V E R Y P E R S O N D E S E R V E S A N D N E E D S T O B E A S O C I A L<br />

C R E A T U R E , E V E N W H E N T H A T P E R S O N I S L O O K I N G M E I N T H E F A C E<br />

A N D T E L L I N G M E T H E Y D O N ' T W A N T T O , " D R . E M I L I O A M I G O S A I D . "A<br />

T H E O R Y I H A V E A B O U T A U T I S M I S T H A T B Y T H E T I M E S O M E O N E I S 1 8<br />

Y E A R S O L D , L I V I N G W I T H A U T I S M , T H E Y A R E T H O U S A N D S , I F N O T M I L -<br />

L I O N S , O F C O N V E R S A T I O N A L E X C H A N G E S B E H I N D T H E I R P E E R S . B Y T H E<br />

T I M E T H E Y A R E A Y O U N G A D U L T , T H E Y A R E SO B E H I N D . O U R W O R K I S<br />

T O S A Y ' I T ' S N O T T O O L A T E ' . " - D R . EM I L I O A M I G O<br />

The film is a documentary that follows central Ohio teenagers living with Autism, as well as their incredible<br />

families, as they prepare for their first formal dance. The film not only lets viewers into the lives<br />

of the teens, but into the lives of their parents<br />

and into their sessions with their peers<br />

at Amigo Family Counseling. The teens<br />

and their families are exceedingly honest<br />

and unrelenting in the way they express<br />

both their apprehensions and their successes.<br />

The film has won wide acclaim, as has<br />

Dr. Amigo and his staff.<br />

It was enlightening to hear Dr. Amigo address<br />

Autism in a unique way and if you<br />

were not able to attend the event, we<br />

encourage you to take the time<br />

watch How to Dance in Ohio, which is currently<br />

playing on HBO.<br />

Many thanks to all who helped to make<br />

this a worthwhile event.<br />

Our thanks to Dr. Amigo and to Mid Ohio Psychological<br />

Counseling's Dr. Claire Robitaille for conducting the pre-film<br />

interview. The amount of expertise in the room was inspiring!


Fairfield DD is pleased to announce the launch of its new<br />

website, www.fairfielddd.com.<br />

While the address may look familiar, the new site could<br />

not be any more different from the previous site.<br />

Three focus groups and over 10 months of planning and<br />

research went into the design of the new site, with design<br />

implemented by Martin Barker Designs. The result—a<br />

fresh, clean layout that is both easy to navigate and easy<br />

to understand.<br />

Visitors to the homepage are immediately greeted with<br />

positive images of some local people who received services<br />

from Fairfield DD. Also apparent is the mission statement<br />

of Fairfield DD. From the main page, guests may<br />

find their way to their desired page via the easy-to-use<br />

menu bar, or by clicking on photos representing the various<br />

age groups we serve.<br />

New to the site is a search bar, a blog, a list of commonly<br />

used links, a school calendar, an<br />

events calendar, a community connections<br />

page and a MUI page.<br />

Many users asked that the site be<br />

easy to understand while including the<br />

vast amount of information that the old<br />

site contained. While this was no easy<br />

task, we feel pertinent information remains<br />

available, but now is accessible<br />

through several different avenues.<br />

The staff roster was updated with new<br />

photos and immediate links to every<br />

employee’s email. In addition, the new<br />

format is designed to display flawlessly<br />

on any platform—mobile, tablet or<br />

desktop. Currently, we are researching<br />

the best way to incorporate a program<br />

for site readers.<br />

The new website will continue to be<br />

a work in progress but we feel the new<br />

look not only addresses Fairfield DD’s<br />

person-centered approach to all that<br />

we do, it is friendly, inviting, upbeat<br />

and accessible.<br />

For comments or suggestions on<br />

how to make the new site even more<br />

useful, please email Temple Custer<br />

Montanez at<br />


795 College Avenue<br />

Lancaster, OH 43130<br />

Contact Us<br />

Temple Custer Montanez, Editor<br />

www.FairfieldDD.com<br />

Administration ...................................................... 740-652-7220<br />

Superintendent ..................................................... 740-652-7220<br />

Services and Supports ......................................... 740-652-7220<br />

Family Support Services ....................................... 740-652-7220<br />

Department of Quality .......................................... 740-652-7235<br />

Forest Rose School .............................................. 740-652-7225<br />

Early Intervention/Birth to 3 ............................... 740-652-7225<br />

Opportunity Center ............................................... 740-652-7230<br />

Art & Clay on Main/Square 7 Coffeehouse ......... 740-653-1755<br />

JobFusion ................................ 614-835-2700 or 740-652-7235<br />

Transportation ...................................................... 740-652-7228<br />

Pickerington Regional Office .. 614-835-2700 or 740-652-7235<br />

Volunteer Opportunities ....................................... 740-652-7220<br />

Our Mission<br />

To bring about a vibrant community<br />

where people lead fulfilling lives and<br />

make meaningful contributions.<br />

Superintendent<br />

Board Members:<br />

Mark Weedy, President<br />

Theresa Nixon, VP<br />

Linda Barber, Sec.<br />

John R. Pekar<br />

Robert Competti<br />

Sharon Scruggs<br />

Sharon Murphy<br />

Elizabeth Burwell<br />

No winter lasts forever; no<br />

spring skips its turn.

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