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Out and about in Huber Heights

Huber Firefighters Fun Fit (2)


As great as it is, it’s not always exercise and activities at the Y at the Heights for participants in Choices Fun-Fit (Adult Day Services) program. There are also opportunities to meet new friends and learn new things about the community. One of those opportunities took place recently when participants were welcomed at one of the Huber Heights fire stations to learn more about firefighting directly from the firefighters. For Hannah Schmautz there was even the thrill of getting to sit in one of the trucks, something she will remember for a long time. Thanks to the welcoming Huber firefighters for making it a great visit!

Choices partners with YMCA’s throughout the area, as well as the Kettering Recreation Complex, to provide its Fun-Fit program. In addition to the Y in Huber Heights, the program is also held at the Englewood and West Carrollton Ys, as well as the Y in Preble County. Many Fun-Fit participants have lost significant weight, have been able to reduce and/or change their medications and have made a commitment to healthier lifestyles. They are excited as well about more opportunities to participate in more community activities.


For more information about Choices Fun-Fit program, please visit Choices services here.

Fun Fit - Huber Fire


Memories of a meaningful life

Jodi and Nancy Jodi was a sweetheart, a real girly girl, a princess. Her room was painted pink and decorated in all things princess. She was a caring and loving person. That’s how staff at our Cedar Circle home (Preble County) and all of us remember Jodi Dague. She had lived in the home and had been a part of our Choices extended family since 2003. She died in April, just a few months after her 50th birthday.

One of the best days of Jodi’s life was when she first met Nancy Reder, who would become her Friend By Choice. Friend By Choice is one of the volunteer opportunities of Partners Volunteer Program. It matches an individual with a developmental disability with a friend from the community and supports them as they get to know each other. As with other friends from the community who have been matched with a friend with a developmental disability, Nancy soon found that the friendship meant as much to her or more than it did to Jodi. “She gave me so much more than I ever gave her,” she shares.

Staff remember that time between Nancy and Jodi as the best part of her life. “When Nancy would go to Florida for the winter, she always came over to say good-by,” shares Program Director Barb Swindler. “She would give Nancy a long hug. Nancy would call her from Florida and when staff told her that Nancy was on the phone, she would get a huge smile on her face. Jodi didn’t talk much but she would smile the whole time Nancy was on the phone.”

The two would grow to have a special bond that lasted until Jodi’s death. The fact that Jodi was not very verbal never stopped the friendship from blossoming. Nancy’s favorite memory of her friend came during one phone call between the two of them. “I usually talked and Jodi listened. I always knew she was listening,” remembers Nancy. “During this one phone call I ended it like all our other calls by telling her I loved her. It will stay with me forever what I heard after I said that. I love you, she said I love you. She never said much, but this one time she said I love you back to me. There are no words that can explain what that meant to me and will always mean to me.”

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New law impacts funding for individuals

On December 19, 2014, President Barack Obama signed H.R. 647. With his signature, the ABLE Act became federal law. Beginning on January 1, 2015, the ABLE Act authorizes each state to establish and operate ABLE programs. The new ABLE law (Achieving a Better Life Experience) allows people with severe disabilities to open special accounts where they can save up to $100,000 without risking eligibility for Social Security and other programs. Individuals can keep their Medicaid coverage no matter how much money is accrued in an ABLE account.

To be eligible, individuals must have a condition that occurred before age 26 and have severe functional limitations. Modeled after well-known college 529 Plans, distributions can be taken from an ABLE account for qualified expenses, such as health, education, housing, training, assistive technology, personal support and related services and expenses. Any income earned by these accounts would not be taxed, nor would distributions, as long as the distribution is used for qualified expenses. Each state must now put regulations in place so that financial institutions can make the new offering available.

In April, 2015, both the Ohio Senate (SB 147) and Ohio House of Representatives (HB 155)  introduced legislation on behalf of the Ohio ABLE Act (Disability Expense Savings Account Bill.) Senator Bill Beagle is one of the co-sponsors of the legislation. Contact your local senator or representative for an update on the status of the Ohio ABLE Act and thank them for their support for this significant change that will impact the quality of life for individuals with disabilities in maintaining their health and independence.



Live each day we are given – Cheryl’s Story

cherylIt was one of those calls no family member ever wants to receive. Mike Babb was working out of town in Texas when he received that call. It was from staff at Resident Home’s Hemphill home and he knew immediately it could not be good news. His sister Cheryl lives in that home, has lived there since 1990. If they were calling him out of town, something had to be wrong with Cheryl. He listened as they talked and was on a

plane home that night. “It really hit me hard,” he remembers about that call. “She has cancer,” he recalls the words of staff, “ovarian cancer – Stage 4 ovarian cancer. Our mother died of cancer. That’s how Cheryl first went to Resident Home. She lived with our mother all her life and we had to find somewhere safe for her before our mother died. And now she has IT!”

Cheryl’s staff, her “other” family were just as stunned. “There were no indications anything was wrong,”  shares Home Manager Monica Redman, who has been with Cheryl and the other ladies at Hemphill since 1991. “We were just devastated …. just devastated,” she says with tears brimming in her eyes. “She had been

to the doctor on Friday and when she came home she started telling us her back hurt. We had her rest and kept an eye on her but the pain became worse. We took her back to the doctor on Monday. The next Monday she   was in treatment. There were three rounds of chemo, then surgery, then three more rounds of chemo.”

Staff were by her side every time she went to chemo. Big brother Mike was there as well. “It’s amazing how well she’s handled her cancer,” he says with pride for his sister.

Read the rest of Cheryl’s heartwarming story here


Walk for Independence

It soon will be Independence Day and what better way to celebrate than by supporting the independence of people with developmental disabilities served by  Toward Independence! They invite you to join them on Friday, July 3 for their annual Walk for Independence. The Walk will get underway at their offices at 81 East Main Street in Xenia. Check-in and Registration begins at 9:00 a.m., with the 2.5 mile walk through Xenia’s downtown streets getting underway at 10:20. Prior to that, at 10:00 a.m., there will be cash prizes for those who have collected pledges, as well as other giveaways.

The mission of Toward Independence, Inc. is to assist people with developmental disabilities to live the fullest life possible by providing individualized services in a variety of community settings.

For more information about services and about Walk for Independence, contact Beth Esterkamp, Marketing and Development Coordinator, at 937-376-3996, or




The state budget currently being debated is one of the most important in recent years and action is needed now to support funding for agencies serving people with intellectual/developmental disabilities. At risk is a 6% increase for IO Waivers, the primary revenue source for agencies like Choices In Community Living and Resident Home Association.

Governor John Kasich originally proposed a 6% increase, effective July 1, that would provide funding for wages for Direct Support Professionals. The Senate proposal/response has now reduced that to 3% for this year and 3% for 2016. The Senate needs to hear from us. There are many competing voices asking them for funding support. Make sure people with disabilities and the people who serve them are not forgotten. Call today and share this message:

We ask the Senate to restore the cuts to the DD Direct Care rate increase and fully fund the developmental disabilities budget as the administration introduced in the Omnibus Amendment.


Senate President Keith Faber, 1 Capitol Square, 2nd Floor, Columbus, Ohio 43215 – (614) 466-7584 –

President Pro Tempore Chris Widener, same address, (614) 466-3780 –

Senator Bill Beagle (representing our Miami Valley region), same address, (614) 466-6247 –

Senator Peggy Lehner (representing our Miami Valley region), same address, (614) 466-4538 –

For additional contact names and more information on this urgent need, please contact Tom Weaver at (937) 898-2220 or




What’s more important than fundraising – friendraising!

Rand donned his Dining with the Stars apron at El Meson and made every guest feel welcome, including Brenda Whitney. Brenda retired after many years as Executive Director at Resident Home. She now serves as a member of Partners Joint Development Committee. Like everyone else at Dining, she had a great time meeting Rand.

Rand donned his Dining with the Stars apron at El Meson and made every guest feel welcome, including Brenda Whitney. Brenda retired after many years as Executive Director at Resident Home. She now serves as a member of Partners Joint Development Committee. Like everyone else at Dining, she had a great time meeting Rand.

At Partners we have two very important goals for each of our fundraising activities. One, of course, is raising funds to add to the quality of life for people served by Choices In Community Living and Resident Home Association. The other is equally important or maybe even more important, and that is friendraising.

That’s what we did this year at our Dining with the Stars event when we were honored to have Claudia Cortez, Executive Director of the Dayton Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Rand Oliver, WENCO and the Hispanic Chamber, join us as two of our outstanding celebrity waiters.

The bonds of friendship with them were immediate and nothing illustrates that more than the early morning of June 4.  It was Garber Road staff member Helene Gordon’s birthday. She had met Rand at Dining with the Stars and had a great time bantering back and forth with him.

At 6:45 a.m. on the morning of her birthday as she was at work, the doorbell rang. She opened it to find Rand, his huge and gregarious smile, with 20 bagels, “smear”, and a big cup of coffee from Panera to help her start her day off in grand style.

The Garber men were also very happy to welcome their early morning visitor and they proudly took him a tour of their home, showing off their rooms and making him feel like part of the family. Our new friend Rand was as impressed with them and their home as the men and staff were with him.

Thank you to Rand for making Helene’s birthday so special and welcome to the family!  You are a stranger but once when you become part of Partners.


Remembering Amy

It’s hard to imagine a time at Resident Home Association when Amy Cromer wasn’t a part of what the agency represents, it’s very fabric. She was boundless energy, headstrong, confident, always ready for a new challenge for herself and for her family and her extended Resident Home family. And now that energy and confidence, even the challenges, are gone. Amy, she of the smile that always, always seemed etched into her mischievous face, was 58 when she passed away in May from a pulmonary embolism. Her death was sudden and left those who loved her at a loss for words.

Words will come in the weeks, months and years ahead, as there are so many stories to tell about Amy, so many that make you smile and some that make you laugh so hard you cry. More than most, she brought real meaning to the phrase “one of a kind.”  A whirlwind – that is one of the things her family and her RHA family remember about her – always in motion – the wheels in her head always turning.

Amy was one of four daughters of Bill and Eleanor Cromer. She graduated from Centerville High School. So many knew her and loved her as a friend or as a member of the family. That was evident during her memorial service. She was remembered for the love she had for her family, how much she enjoyed her church, how her life had meaning and value. During that service her niece brought laughter through the tears as she remembered her two most favorite things about her aunt. “You could never ever have too many hugs,” she remembers about Amy, the hugger, “and never, never ever say no to dessert.” There is so much to remember about Amy and one of those things is her catchphrase – something she said to everyone on parting from them – the simple, simply eloquent words that Pastor Paul Thacker cited in closing her memorial service – Good-by, Buddy.

There were no wasted moments in Amy Cromer’s life. She made herself known. And now there is this void where there had once been this whirlwind. GOOD-BY, BUDDY!

(At her family’s request, donations in celebration of Amy’s life may be made to Resident Home Association, 3661 Salem Avenue, Dayton, Ohio 45406. Your donations will make wishes come true for her housemates and friends through our Wish List.)


Choices supports Abilities Dash

Choices In Community Living is serving as one of the sponsors for Abilities Dash, a 5k and 10k Run and Walk that will be held Saturday, September 12 at Eastwood Metro Park, 1385 Harshman Road. Irongate Realtors and Allstate Insurance (Evron Colhoun)) are joining Choices as sponsors for the event in support of children and adults with developmental disabilities.

Registration will begin at 7:45 a.m., with the Run/Walk beginning at 9:00 a.m., followed by the Awards Ceremonies at 10:30 a.m. Register for the event at Register by September 5 to be guaranteed a t-shirt.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available at different levels, from $50 to $200. Sponsorship information is available by contacting Sherry Gross at 937-216-0315 or


Making Memories 2015

It may have been sweater and jacket weather but that didn’t dampen the great time had by Choices In Community Living’s  Clark and Madison County individuals during their recent adventure to Kings Island. The amusement park is one of their favorite spring/summer getaways, not only for all that the park has to offer but for the chance to all be together to make new memories.

It may have been sweater and jacket weather but that didn’t dampen the great time had by Choices In Community Living’s Clark and Madison County individuals during their recent adventure to Kings Island. The amusement park is one of their favorite spring/summer getaways, not only for all that the park has to offer but for the chance to all be together to make new memories.