Before the calendar flips to 2017, The Ability Center (ACT) wanted to share what we’ve accomplished in this past year. New initiatives, improved programing, and successful fundraising events were just a few of the highlights of 2016.
The Allie Project:
This year, Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence (ADAI), a program of The Ability Center in partnership with O-I Charities and The Scaife Family Foundation, launched a website to be used as a tool for our school therapy program. This website offers a growing curriculum of working lesson plans involving therapy dogs to be used by teachers, counselors, and schools to further their educational visions and missions. Visit the website here.
Transit Needs Survey:
The Ability Center’s Advocacy Department circulated a survey regarding public transportation in northwest Ohio in 2015. Results of the survey were calculated and configured into a Transit Needs Survey that was released in 2016. This survey detailed who uses public transportation, what problems do they experience, and where do they want to go. ACT Disability Rights Attorney, Katie Hunt Thomas gave presentations on the findings throughout the year. The survey can be found here.
Marcy Kaptur Interview:
To continue momentum with our public transportation efforts, the Advocacy Department contacted Representative Kaptur’s office to share her views on how to increase access and generate more funding for public transportation at a state and local level. We captured and included her piece in a video produced by The Ability Center on the effects of public transit in northwest Ohio. The video can be viewed and shared on our YouTube channel here.
Preparing students with disabilities for college and beyond was a priority this year with the inception of our newest initiative called “Next Steps” that rolled out in summer 2016. Ten students entered the program ready to increase their independence and foster leadership abilities. Cooking, cleaning, and laundry were just a few of the tasks students conquered during the five-week program spent on the University of Toledo campus. Each student had the opportunity to create a resume and sharpen their interview skills. Students also mastered how to dress, what to say, and how to conduct themselves in a professional setting.
In partnership with the Toledo Rotary’s Disability Service Committee, students thrived in skilled job opportunities with local companies. ACT staff provided additional services and follow up contact throughout the year to make sure students are continuing to use the skills they learned during the Next Steps program. Stay tuned for information about the upcoming class of Next Steps students coming in 2017.
A Community Partner in 2016:
ProMedica is a community partner that supported us in multiple ways throughout the year. Their organization has been actively involved in several ACT programs.
- ProMedica Air and Mobile Bowl-A-Thon – ProMedica staff dressed to the nines and hoped for strikes at a fundraiser that supported Housing Accessibility Program projects. The event raised $5,920 and funded projects such as ramps, stair lifts, grab bars, and low-rise steps. ProMedica Air and Mobile has sponsored the event for two years and ACT is grateful for their enthusiasm and interest in our program.
- Ramp Build – Team members also volunteered their time and talent in 2016 to construct a ramp on a home of someone in need. These employees took time out of their schedule to assist in building a life-changing addition for a person in our community. This individual is now able to come and go from their home with ease thanks to this ProMedica group.
- Equipment Loan Donation – With the closing of ProMedica’s Lake Park facility, came a donation of durable medical equipment from the organization. Donations included shower chairs, wheelchairs, walkers, and mattresses to be used in our Equipment Loan Program. This donation will significantly increase our inventory and the number of people we can serve. We were also allowed to recover assistance rails and grab bars for our Home Accessibility Program. These used items will save resources so that more individuals can benefit from our home modification projects.
2016 produced a calendar chock-full of successful events that raised funds and awareness of Ability Center programs. Our event volunteers and attendees go the extra mile with their commitment, contribution, and involvement in our cause. Let’s take a look back at some snapshots from events of the past year.
Smooch from a Pooch – February
Pasta for Pooches – March
ADAI Spring Graduation – April
Petals with a Purpose – May
Zoo Day – July
Dealin’ for Dogs – September
Day at the Range – September
Auxiliary Style Show – October
Bryan Reverse Raffle – October
ADAI Fall Graduation – November
Auxiliary Christmas Party – December