Huber Heights is one of those places where everyone knows your name and accepts you as a neighbor. No one knows that better than Leah Byrd. She has made a home for her and her family and for her ‘second’ family as well. “Everyone here knows everyone else and in a neighborly way,” she says of the place she has called home for the past seven years. Just about everyone involved in youth sports in the community most likely knows Leah. Her daughter is a junior high cheerleader and her son is a fourth grader who is active in basketball, football and baseball. She is secretary of HHYFC.
For those who don’ t know Leah from her involvement with HHYFC, they may know her because of that second family she is so proud of. A part of that family, four ladies, lives in a home in Huber in a quiet neighborhood where they all enjoy going out to cheer on the children who play soccer and other games on their welcoming street. Another part of that family is a cheerful home where four men have grown to become a family. The four ladies and the four men live in homes operated by Choices In Community Living. Leah is the Program Administrator for both homes. She has been a member of the Choices’ team for five years. Prior to that, she worked at the Montgomery Developmental Center.
“People with developmental disabilities can sometimes become isolated because of their disabilities and by the communities they live in,” shares Leah about her passion for her work. “That’s one thing that sets Huber apart. Here we have neighbors who come out and help us shovel snow. The ladies go to all my kids’ sporting events and everyone knows them and greets them. They are like aunts to my kids.”
The ladies and men are active participants in their community. They are on a bowling league at Capri Lanes. They participate in track and field and bowling in Special Olympics. Hobby Lobby is one of the favorite shopping spots for the ladies, two of whom also take part in the Choices’ Fun-Fit program at the Y at the Heights. They also enjoy the Aquatic Center. “We are always busy and always doing something in the community,” continues Leah, “we love going out to eat. That’s where I’ve really seen just how open and welcoming this community is. There have been several occasions when some of us have been out to dinner at a restaurant and have had our dinners paid for by people we’ve never met. We know there are places where people are not as openly accepted because of their disabilities. Words can’t express how much it means when you live in a community that is this caring and supportive.”