What will you do?

Do you know people who are dedicated, loyal, and very hard-working who struggle to make ends meet because of what they get paid? Do you know anyone who has to work more than one job to care for his/her family? Do you know anyone who works full-time but still has to rely on community services, such as food stamps? Do you know anyone who can’t afford anything more than the most basic health care coverage and who worries every day about him/her or a family member getting sick?

Our answer to each of those questions is yes. As you continue reading, your answer will be yes as well. You will know some of them by name. Others you will know by their work. They are the people who make it possible for Resident Home, our partner agency Choices In Community Living and agencies like our across Ohio and the nation to serve our residents. They are our Direct Support Professionals (DSPs.) We would not and could not exist without them. They are the best advocates our residents have. Now is the time we can advocate for them.

Read the rest of this and other articles in our Home Address newsletter here.



It’s Fish Fry time and it’s only one week away!

All we need for a lucky Friday, the 13th is you joining us as our Fish Fry gets underway at the Huber Heights Athletic Foundation, 5367 Fishburg Road in Huber Heights. Dinner will be served from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Our casino-style games will run until 11:00 p.m. In addition to what many of our guests say is the best fish dinner in the area, our event will also feature many Casino-style games, a great bake sale and our Raffle Basket Extravaganza with more than 30 baskets. Geraldogamblin thumb

Tickets are $13.00 in advance and can be ordered on our secure website at www.partnersohio.com or by calling 278-0791. Tickets will also be available at the door for $15.00. Proceeds benefit our shared volunteer program between Choices In Community Living and Resident Home Association.

Find more info about this and other events in Choices Voices newsletter here

tickets are available online here


Change the way you see and see how you change

by Tom Weaver Executive Director
Organizations that serve people with developmental disabilities have struggled for years (and continue to struggle) with the words we use in describing those we serve. All those dark years ago in state-operated institutions they were ‘patients.’ We’ve used terms like clients, residents, consumers as ways to describe them, words that too often lead to a “we” and “them” mindset, leading us to focus on what is different between us more than on what is alike between us. Many of us are not comfortable with this struggle over semantics – the way we use words and the words we use, for words can be used to categorize, label, separate, segregate.

How that thought hit home for me just this March and how appropriate that it hit me during National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, the time set aside for us to consider the words we use and the power they have to create change. As forms come across my desk for me to complete there is often some of those words – words like clients – how many clients do we serve? It’s not a bad word by itself, not even a negative word. Maybe it’s just that it isn’t a ‘complete’ word. It doesn’t tell anyone about who our ‘clients’ are, what they believe in, what dreams they have for themselves, who they are as just other human beings alongside us on shared journeys.

Latisha, Shali and Mary taught me something about the use of words and yes, they taught me. It was a routine day in their home on Swallowtail as Monique was preparing dinner for them. The stove was turned on and food was cooking. In a moment, as can happen to any of us at any time, Monique, our Direct Support Professional (DSP) in the home that night, was no longer tending the food on the stove. She had a seizure and collapsed on the floor, the first and only time she ever had such an experience.

Without a moment’s hesitation, Mary went to the stove and turned it off and then went to Monique’s side with Shali, one of them cradling Monique’s head in her lap, while Latisha called 911, then Program Administrator Vicky Wagers. Before Vicky could get to the home, the ambulance was already there. The three women were deeply concerned about Monique but were calm, looking out for each other.

Monique is now fine and grateful to Latisha, Mary, and Shali for their quick and calm actions. And so here’s a thought. When we’re struggling for the right word to describe these three women, what if we use this word – heroes!

Then there is Annie’s story, Annie Long, with us for as long as we have been an agency. We weren’t ready but we recently had to say good-by to Annie nonetheless. It’s been hard. She shared her spirit and her enthusiasm for life openly and, I must say, with gusto. As we came together to celebrate her life and to share our grief at her passing, I was moved as I watched her housemates console not only each other, but their staff as well. When we’re struggling to find the right word to describe Annie and her housemates, what if we use this word – family!

And there is Bill, Bill Eakman, Resident Home Association’s Bill Eakman, a witty, humorous, deeply spiritual man who has felt the call from something beyond himself to minister to others. And in his own way, he is doing just that. He is a part of his church choir. Every Sunday he joins his pastor in front of the congregation and they share a message. He recites scriptures. He has even shared his own messages on some Sundays. He’s known since he was a little boy, he will tell you, that he has a calling and that his dream is to be a minister, perhaps not realizing that he already is in the way he serves his community and the way he ministers to the spirit of all who come in contact with him. When we’re struggling to find the right word to describe Bill, what if we used this word – faith!

Change the way you see them and see how you will change.

Read the rest of our Choices Voices Newsletter here


We hereby resolve …

by Pete Roll, Executive Director

Here we are in the second month of 2014 and many people are still trying to stick to their New Year’s resolutions. Maybe you were one of those whose resolutions for this year centered around self-improvement, like losing weight, getting more exercise, sticking to a healthier diet. Maybe you were among those who resolved to keep better track of your finances, reduce your debt, increase savings or put more money towards retirement. While all of these things are important and require some sacrifice and self-discipline, there are other resolutions – pledges – that require ongoing effort, determination and considerate actions. As an organization dedicated to providing quality services and support for people with developmental disabilities, the start of a new year is good time for us to share our resolutions – our pledges – to those we serve, their families, our staff, supporters and the community. Here are some that come to mind:

• We resolve to always and in all ways strive to do our very best on behalf of those we serve.

• We resolve to continue to honor the legacy and memories of those who gave so much in establishing us as an agency and laying the foundation for our mission by continuing to set and exceed standards on how services are provided – always remembering to keep those we serve in the forefront of every decision we make.

• We resolve to serve as an example for what quality services should be as we enhance the opportunities we provide to those we serve.

• We resolve to support individual choices and respect the rights of those we serve.

• We resolve to assure that our homes are nurturing and caring environments where each person feels welcome, safe and secure.

• We resolve to be professional in how we conduct ourselves while working with those we serve, their families and our supportive community.

• We resolve to not be so consumed with completing tasks that we forget that we are here to serve people first.

• We resolve to make a positive difference in the lives of those we serve.

Anyone of us who has tried to lose weight or save money knows how difficult such resolutions can be and how quickly they can be forgotten as we busy ourselves with everything going on around us. We must not and cannot forget our resolutions as an organization – we cannot allow them to get lost in how busy we are. That’s why it’s important for us at the start of another year to remind ourselves of our resolutions and to strengthen our commitment as a team to resolutions that last more than a few weeks or months – resolutions that those we serve can rely on throughout their lives, not just on New Year’s Day.
read the rest of our Home Address newsletter here




For this season and so much more – a life full of meaning

There was a time for Donny Rice when he wondered if his life had meaning, where he was in what he calls ‘his dark place.’ My Dad died and I took it really hard,” he remembers, “we were so close, he believed in me and challenged me and loved me and I almost couldn’t get through losing him. I can remember my Dad sitting by me when I was five years old and telling me that I was going to have challenges and there would be a lot that I couldn’t do, but that I had to make the most of what I could do. That’s when he began teaching me about the basics of computers. I remember when I was six he couldn’t get his computer to work and I showed him how to fix it. There was also the time I actually hacked into his computer, which he wasn’t too pleased with. The thing I remember most is my graduation from Kettering Fairmont High School (Go, Firebirds!) and my Dad crying and telling me how proud he was of me and that he knew I’d do it because that’s what I do when I set my mind to something.”

Donny became a member of our Choices’ extended family in 2004. He lives now in one side of a duplex with his best friend Torry Brown. He is 32 years old, a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers, an employee of MONCO, and he has a dream for his life. “My dream is to own my own computer repair business one day. I actually dream about that, about supporting myself and not having the government support me!”

With the support of some funds from Choices’ Wish List, Donny signed up to take classes at Wright State University, in government, music appreciation and, most importantly, computer science. “I really wanted to try this,” he says, “but I had to drop out. I was just ill prepared and so I couldn’t continue, but, you know, I don’t regret it. It was part of my plan to make my dream come true and some people may say I failed but I say I tried! I have a five year plan that includes going back to school, this time ITT to learn more about computers, after I get some of my bills paid off and can focus on my classes.

”It’s difficult to keep count of how many times Donny praises Choices in any discussion you have with him. “My friends and my staff, they got me through my dark times, still do. They listen to me, give me advice, support my dreams. Chris (McGlaughlin) and all the staff are awesome. I am so thankful for the understanding I receive from everyone, particularly Tom Weaver (Choices Executive Director). Don’t tell him I said so, but he’s a cool guy!”

“It’s my friends and my staff who helped me make it through, especially when Dad died. They are as close to me as any family could be. With them by my side I’m even finding my faith again. I’m going back to my Catholic faith and try to go to Mass every Saturday. You know, we all need to have something to believe in, something that is bigger than yourself, something that helps us all connect to each other.

”His face lights up and his words come from the heart when he says, “I could not be any happier. I’m living a big part of my dream at Choices – family and friends around me. I had to go through some obstacles in my life, not go around them. I can’t and won’t let my dream die. I still miss my Dad but I think he would be proud of me, proud that the flame in my heart is roaring!”

Read the rest of our Choices Voices Newsletter here


DSPs – the foundation of our services

by Pete Roll, Executive Director

At Resident Home we have always been very fortunate to have a core group of Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) who are in every sense the backbone of the support we provide to those we serve. They work long days, difficult hours, including evenings, weekends and holidays. We are who we are because of our dedicated DSPs who have been with us for years, some decades. It’s also fortunate when a new DSP comes to us with ideas, enthusiasm and passion. One such person is Donna Lawson, a new (six months) DSP at our Garber Road Home. As we joined in the national recognition of the work of DSPs during DSP Recognition Week September 8 – 13, I could think of no better way to celebrate our DSPs than to have you hear firsthand what it means to be a DSP. I am honored to turn over my place in our newsletter this time to Donna to share a message she wrote after attending the Spring Conference of the Ohio Provider Resource Association (OPRA.) I know her words will inspire you, as they have inspired me.

Read Donna’s story here



Nothing less than People First

by Tom Weaver, Executive Director, Choices In Community Living

There are so many difficult things for us as an agency to face on a daily basis and many difficult things for me as I work with my remarkable team in meeting our mission to our clients and our community.  There are the ever present concerns about funding – what will happen with federal and state funding – where do we get the money for new vans – how do we do more to meet increased needs with  decreased funding? There are all the administrative and operational difficulties that sometimes seem overwhelming. With all these critical issues, nothing even comes close to the most difficult thing of all – getting that one call I wish I would never get – that one call that tells me we have lost one of the people we have served. I received that call in early June about Joji and it wasn’t any easier than the first one or the second or any of the others. Joji had been a part of Choices for as long as I have been and so we and I did not just lose a client, we lost a part of us.

It is just this kind of moment, the moment when a tearful staff member reports the news we never want  to hear, that I am most keenly aware of who we are and why we are. We are not here to satisfy rules  and regulations, to balance budgets and manage staff. We are here because of Joji – we are here  because we know the most important thing we do is put People First.

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An eye for nature

Brent Janeway has an infectious smile, mischievous personality and the creative eye of a natural photographer. It was that talent as a photographer that caught the attention of the judges during our 2013 Art & Soul juried art exhibit as they selected his The Path Not Taken, a color photograph of a path meandering through The Bruckner Nature Center in Troy. Nationally known photographer Bill Woody (one of our exhibit judges) noted the almost perfect composition of the photograph.

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