DD Council Connection: August 2020

logo of dd council connection newsletter bannerDD Council Connection is a way for the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council to introduce to you our Council members, provide updates on the work we do and the grant projects we manage, and inform you on the activities and initiatives of Ohio's community of self-advocates and others who work on behalf of people with disabilities and their families. We hope you enjoy this e-newsletter. Please share your thoughts, story ideas and event calendar submissions with us at DDCInfo@dodd.ohio.gov.

This month's articles include:

Council issues a call for justice and reform

The Outreach Committee of the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council recently issued the following statement in response to the need to address racism and disability in all aspects of our communities. 

Black Lives Matter: A Call for Justice and Reform

The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council is appalled by the ongoing killing of African American men and women by the police. We recognize that racism and anti-racism are disability issues and that individuals with disabilities are disproportionately affected by racism in all aspects of life: health care, education, housing, employment, and the criminal justice system. As many as 50% of people killed by law enforcement each year are people with disabilities who are Black, Latinx, or LGBTQ+.

We, the Ohio’s Developmental Disabilities Council, declare our commitment to take action to drive change to address these inequities. We commit to focusing on a systematic, data-driven focus on poverty, economic mobility and other factors that impact the social determinants of health faced by African Americans and other persons of color. We commit to standing together and speaking out against injustice and discrimination by strengthening our efforts to address inequities through the work of council. We will listen, we will learn and we will change.

Paula Rabidoux, Outreach Committee Chair
Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council
Statement issued August 2020

Video: Racism Destroyed In One Minute

(Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bOcCbLcvSE)

Celebrate #ABLEtoSave Month on Ohio DD Talks

August is #ABLEtoSave Month, a month dedicated to increasing awareness about ABLE accounts across the United States. To support this effort, Ohio DD Council Member Morgan Gattermeyer, for the August episode of Ohio DD Talks, had a conversation with Doug Jackson, Deputy Director of Ohio’s Stable Account. They discussed how ABLE accounts are empowering over 17,000 people with disabilities to become financially independent. Watch the episode here:  

We want to hear from you!

Do you have a STABLE Account? If you do, what is your favorite part of having an account? If you don’t have an account, what would you like to learn about STABLE? The Ohio DD Council and STABLE want to hear from you! Submit your story or input here: Ohio DD Talks Story Submission Form

Ohio DD Talks now available as a Podcast!

Do you like to listen to podcasts? If so, please include Ohio DD Talks on your playlist! Ohio DD Talks is now available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify, allowing us to share more stories of Ohioans with disabilities.

The Ohio DD Council launched its monthly Ohio DD Talks program in June, which is a web series found on YouTube and the Council’s website. The series features stories and conversations from Council members and others in the disability community about topics that may be of interest to Ohioans with disabilities.

Subscribe to Ohio DD Talks today!

Funds available for $75,000 research study grant on transportation for people with disabilities

The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council is pleased to announce a new grant opportunity for 2021. Applicants are being sought for a research grant to examine the transportation needs of people with disabilities. The research will be a follow-up to a study completed in 2017 titled, “Transportation Challenges for Ohioans with Disabilities.”

The research goal for 2021 will be a follow-up to the 2017 study, seeking to understand how transportation may have changed over time and if the changes have had an impact on the findings of the original study.

Read the official Notice of Funds Available for details about the grant and how to apply. The deadline for applications is Friday, October 2, 2020. All applications must be submitted using Council’s online grant management program (DD Suite).

Questions about this funding opportunity should be directed to Paul Jarvis at (614) 644-5545 or via e-mail at paul.jarvis@dodd.ohio.gov.

Council grantees continue important work despite pandemic restrictions

The Ohio DD Council funds numerous projects through grants awarded to organizations as directed by Council’s Five-Year State Plan. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many grantees have had to adjust their project activities due to Ohio’s restrictions on public gatherings since many grantees had planned to have in-person trainings. But this has not stopped the important work being done by our grantees! Many adapted by offering trainings online instead, and actually found that they are reaching a larger audience using this format.

This article highlights two grantees and how they are successfully continuing their projects.

Change Makes Sense

The Change Makes Sense grant is a program that was developed to increase financial literacy and independence in students with developmental disabilities in Ohio. Abilities in Action is the grantee.

During the first year of its grant, Abilities in Action taught all of the basics of financial literacy to groups of up to 40 students at the Pioneer Career and Technology Center in Shelby, Ohio. Topics ranged from financial goal setting, understanding payroll tax and tax forms, filing taxes and preparing tax forms and reading pay stubs.

“When we learned that schools were being closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic we quickly reached out to the Special Education Coordinator [at Pioneer] to discuss how to continue the project. We got to work on making the lessons into a digital format that could be shared with the students. We were also able to develop another version for printing and distribution if students did not have access to the technology,” explained Kara Ault, assistant operations director of Abilities in Action.

In addition, they created lessons using an online platform and have partnered with the Clearwater Council of Governments for partnering with adult day service programs in Erie, Crawford, Huron, Marion, Morrow, Ottawa, and Seneca Counties. Individuals, schools, or adult day service providers can call 419-562-1833 or contact kaultaia@gmail.com to get access to the online program. The program will cover a variety of topics including understanding financial literacy, setting and achieving financial goals, Social Security benefits and how work impacts them, state benefits including SNAP and METRO, and several others.

Employer Engagement

The Employer Engagement grant aims to train and educate Ohio employers on disability inclusion strategies that help impact their bottom line. Working together on the Employer Engagement grant is Chris Moranda, Executive Director of Disability:IN Ohio and TyKiah Wright, Owner of Wright Choice Consulting. Their original plans included a large conference on disability inclusion in March 2020, featuring an extensive panel of area employers. Sixty people had already signed up to attend. However, the night before the event, Governor Mike DeWine announced the COVID-19 stay-at-home order that went into effect at midnight of that day.

Within 12 hours, Moranda and Wright changed the entire conference to an online platform, presenting it as a webinar that included all the scheduled panelists. This focus has continued as they are shifting all their work online, including employer training about inclusion and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), their mentoring program between college students and area employers, and their Professional Development Program for students.

As they begin the second year of the Employer Engagement grant, they will continue with the training and programs. They are also planning an encore session in October 2020 of the panelists who presented on the ADA back in March.

“We believe employers want to be inclusive on all levels. The goal of our grant is to help that belief come to fruition by providing educational opportunities to employers to help them accomplish inclusivity,” said Moranda. “Often, people with disabilities work from home. Now all the workforce is working from home,” added Wright as she shared why this pandemic could open employers’ eyes to a huge segment of future employees.