MANSFIELD — Richland Newhope/Richland County Board of Developmental Disabilities (RCBDD) is celebrating Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in March.
Across the nation, organizations devoted to serving individuals with developmental disabilities are holding special events to raise public awareness of the many abilities people have, regardless of their disability.
“Richland Newhope is committed to supporting people with disabilities to be valued members of the community,” said Richland Newhope Director of Community Education Jane Imbody. “We encourage everyone to focus on a person’s abilities and to foster opportunities that allow someone to live as independently as possible.”
Richland Newhope kicked off its recognition of March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month during the Feb. 28 regular meeting of the Richland County commissioners. A proclamation presented by the commissioners is one of 10 to be issued in recognition of the month-long observance.
Among those on hand for the kickoff were Heidi C., an individual who receives supports from Richland Newhope, and her guardian, Linda Pfizenmayer.
March activities include the 26th Annual Richland County Third Grade Coloring Contest Awards Luncheon on March 8 at Richland Newhope’s Early Childhood Center, the 18th Annual Community Awareness Day on March 14 at the Richland County Longview Center and several other locations, a booth at the Richland Area Chamber’s Business Expo on March 21, and the 2nd Annual Step Into Spring – a free fun walk on March 29 at the Richland Mall. The walk is being held in conjunction with Richland Public Health, Richland County Children Services, the Mansfield Y, and the Richland Mall.
Other activities to mark Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month include displays at the main branch of the Mansfield-Richland County Public Library and the Richland Mall, five billboards, and the distribution of more than 6,000 pamphlets to 67 Richland County churches.
In 2018, the Richland County Board of Developmental Disabilities (Richland Newhope) served more than 1,600 individuals through early intervention, preschool, transition services, supported employment, residential, therapy, and other family support programs.
Richland County Third Grade Coloring Contest Awards Luncheon
WHEN: Fri., March 8, 2019, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
WHERE: Early Childhood Center, 255 Hedges St., Mansfield
WHY: This is the first of several activities being held as part of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. We will recognize coloring contest winners from 17 Richland County schools. The event includes some simulated disability awareness activities and special guests Miss Ohio’s Outstanding Teen Juliana Heichel and Miss Ohio Teen USA Isabelle Jedra, both Lexington students.
18th Annual Community Awareness Day
WHEN: Thurs., March 14, 2019, from 8:30 a.m.-p.m.*
WHERE: Richland County Longview Center, 1495 W. Longview Ave and several other locations (28 participants will start and end at this location. From approximately 9:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m., they will go to the following locations: Richland Newhope Early Childhood Center, 255 Hedges St.; Raintree, 721 Scholl Rd.; RNI, Inc., 150 E. 4th St. and 985 W. Longview Ave.; Element of Art, 96 N. Main St.; HR Choices, 308 E. Main St., Lexington; and some other community locations.)
WHY: This Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month activity is designed to create a better understanding of people with disabilities and how they are supported by Richland Newhope and its provider partners. From approximately 9 a.m. – 9:30 a.m., participants will be using adaptive equipment at various stations set up at 1495 W. Longview Ave. That will be followed by visiting and meeting with individuals we support at several locations in our community. The event is focused on the “abilities” all of us have to offer. At 11:30 a.m., participants will return to the Longview Center for a luncheon. Around noon, each participant will talk about his or her experience.
2nd Annual Step Into Spring – a free, fun walk
WHEN: Friday., March 29, 2018. Registration starts at 10 a.m. with the walk starting about 10:30 a.m. after a short program
WHERE: Richland Mall (starts at food court)
WHY: Richland Newhope, Richland Public Health, the Mansfield Y, Richland County Children Services, and the Richland Mall are sponsoring this free event open to the public as a way to wrap up Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and to promote community inclusion. In addition to the walk, there will be several informational displays by walk sponsors and Richland Newhope provider partners.