October 2016
        In this issue 

From the Superintendent
An update on the RFQ process
I want to continue to update you on the ongoing process to select a provider who will operate the three adult centers in Hamilton County. Unfortunately, this process has taken longer than we hoped, and we are not yet able to announce the chosen provider. 

As you know, three vendors submitted qualifications to operate the centers. Based on a thorough review process, we have selected one of the three vendors who best meets the needs of the people served, is aligned with what families want, and represents the best option for staff employed at each of the three adult centers. That vendor must now enter into negotiations with the county to lease or purchase the buildings and equipment.

The first step in this process was an appraisal of the buildings, which was completed at the end of September. With approval from the county commissioners last week, we began discussing options for the three adult center buildings with the provider. Until those negotiations are completed, the county purchasing department has advised us not to announce the chosen provider. We do not know how long this process will take, but we will continue to provide you with information it become available.

We recognize that these changes are difficult on staff, individuals, and everyone involved and we're doing all we can to make this transition as smooth as possible. To honor the time and commitment that our adult center employees have made to HCDDS, last month the board passed a resolution authorizing a retention package for any adult center employee subject to separation from county employment as a result of transitioning services to a private provider.

Matt Briner and Melissa Morelli, from the integrated services team, continue to meet weekly with adult center staff to provide updates and answer questions. If you have questions about the RFQ process, email  AdultCenterQuestions@hamiltondds.org.

In everything we do, we continue our longstanding commitment to supporting opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to live, work, learn, and fully participate in their communities. 

Alice C. Pavey
Turning a hobby into helping othersJasonM


Jason is recognized for his donations 
to Ronald McDonald House.
Jason Morency remembers how it all started. His grandpa, who worked for UPS, shared his hobby of collecting pop tabs for Ronald McDonald House.  "I decided to help and it blossomed," he said. "I collect them because it helps benefit the kids, who can't live normal lives."


Morency spends hours, sometimes days, collecting and separating tabs, filling up one bucket at a time. He's meticulous in his work - sorting aluminum from steel tabs and keeping them organized by color.


"I drop them off by the gallon - most of the time it's around 50 gallons at a time - and it takes close to 10 months to collect," he said.


Morency knows exactly how much he had on each trip to Ronald McDonald House and, as of July, has donated more than 6,375 pounds of tabs, or about $2,800 worth of tabs. Friends, relatives and local schools have all helped, and Morency said his hobby has helped him get to know the community. His mom, Sue, added that he will go door-to-door collecting tabs and knows many of his neighbors.


Sorting tabs into 5-gallon
buckets for donation

"I enjoy doing it - just seeing the smiles on the little kids' faces who are there is worth it," he said. "I have my grandpa to thank for all this."


When he's not collecting tabs, Morency also volunteers at the Anderson Ferry Food Pantry, where he's helped out for 10 years, and at Matthew 25 Ministries. He works at the dining hall at Xavier University and recently moved into his own condo, which has much more space to store his pop tab collection.

Welcome, Melodic Connections! MelodicConnex

Music will fill the air at our Northside facility as Melodic Connections relocates to our building for a few months after their studio was damaged by a flood. Northside will be the temporary home for the Adult Conservatory, a day program that serves approximately 70 individuals with developmental disabilities. Read more on our website

Bucky and Big Dave from local country radio station B105 smile big after the host visited Franks Adult Center this month to round up high fives for his High Five Challenge! Everyone enjoyed his visit and staff and individuals probably helped him log at least 200 high fives.


Brady Sellet has made a big impact in Cincinnati. Sellet, 38, was the self-advocacy representative at the University of Cincinnati University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UC UCEDD) for 14 years.

Brady Sellet with his UC UCEDD colleagues Kara Ayers, left, and Ilka Riddle at the ADA 25 celebration last summer.
"I kind of fell into it," he said. "I knew the basics because I had been advocating for myself. This was a way to help different people with different disabilities and teach advocacy to others."

During his time as an advocate, Sellet made many connections locally, statewide and around the country. He was a board member for the Spina Bifida Coalition of Cincinnati and co-chair of the Cincinnati Accessibility Board of Advisors (CABA). He often traveled to Columbus to discuss about transportation and other issues with state legislators, and he visited Captiol Hill to meet with U.S. senators and representatives.

"Self-advocacy is about sharing your story because stories are extremely powerful," Sellet said. "I was able be that voice for people who can't speak up or don't speak up, for whatever reason. Being able to effect change in those different ways has always been really cool."

Sellet is moving to New Jersey to be with his girlfriend, Meghan. He found a part-time job working at Pinelands Brewing Co. and plans to learn how to train service dogs. 

Thank you to everyone who attended the Candidate & Election Forum earlier this month! More than 20 candidates running for public office at all levels spoke directly to voters and many addressed disability-specific questions from the audience. Special thanks to Ohio Valley Goodwill and Center for Independent Living Options (CILO) for partnering with us. 

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8, and early voting has started in Hamilton County. Hours are posted on the Board of Elections website. Registered voters can also get an absentee ballot and vote from home.

Also, it's important to keep the people we serve informed of their rights when it comes to voting in elections. Advocate Diana Mairose wrote a column about voting rights for people with disabilities. You can read it here. Disability Rights Ohio also has information about voting on their website.

Self Advocates Becoming Empowered is conducting a survey to learn more about the experiences of voters with disabilities during this election. Click here to take the survey online. Surveys will be collected through the end of the year.
Highlighting solutions to housing problemsHousingBrochure

A new booklet focuses on how one of the Ohio DD Council's grantees created a program to assist county boards of DD secure funds for housing for people with developmental disabilities. It features success stories from around Ohio and includes interviews with HCDDS Housing Coordinator Debbie Greenebaum and advocate Diana Mairose, plus a story about Gena Bell and Alex Wade, who live together in Norwood. Read more on the DD Council website
  • STABLE Accounts 101. 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, at Fifth Third Bank, 5050 Kingsley Drive. Featured speaker is Chip Gerhardt, president of Government Strategies Group, LLC who spearheaded the passage of the ABLE Act. Click here for more information. Event is free but registration is required.
  • UC UCEDD focus groups. 10 a.m. to noon or 4-6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, at the Medical Office Building, 3430 Burnet Ave. Share what you think the current issues and topics of interest are in the developmental disabilities community in Ohio. Click here for a flier or take the survey online.
  • Insights into Advocacy. 1-4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7, at the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, 2400 Reading Road. NAMI Ohio and the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council are teaming up to mobilize individuals to advocate for public polices in the Ohio General Assembly that will enhance the lives of people impacted by mental illness and other disabilities. Event is free, but registration required.
  • HCDDS Board Meeting.  5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8 at the Support Center, 1520 Madison Road.
  • Leaders in Action. 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9 at the Support Center, 1520 Madison Road. This group works with individuals with disabilities to learn how to be advocate leaders. Anyone who receives services is invited to any of the meetings.
  • Building a Bridge in Community. Wednesday, Nov. 9 from 9:30 a.m. to noon, at Cherry Grove United Methodist Church, 1428 Eight Mile Road; 1:30-4 p.m., at West Chester Public Library, 9363 Centre Pointe Drive; 6:30-9 p.m., at Starfire, 5030 Oaklawn Drive. Also, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, at the Kennedy Heights Arts Center, 6620 Montgomery Road. This Good Life Networks session features Janet Klees, who has successfully created circles of support for people with DD in Toronto for more than 20 years. Click here for a flier. Registration is required.
  • Veterans Day. Friday, Nov. 11. Agency offices and buildings are closed.
  • Ohio SIBS Conference. Nov. 11-12 at the Embassy Suites in Dublin. Topics include navigating the DD System to Find Good Providers; Protecting People with Disabilities from Exploitation; Self-Care as a Political Act: National Policy Updates for Sibs; and more. Click here for a flier. Registration and more details available online
  • Financial Inclusion Summit. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16, at Ohio State University. This event brings together leaders in government, the financial services sector, the disability and asset building communities and Fortune 100 companies to discuss strategies for improving financial access for individuals across the spectrum of disabilities. Event is free, but registration required.
  • Workforce Solutions Summit: Employees with Disabilities, the Untapped Workforce. 8-9:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, at the Crowne Plaza in Blue Ash. This event is for businesses to learn the many benefits of hiring people with disabilities. Speakers from the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, as well as panelists from Kings Island, Fifth Third, ThyssenKrupp Bilstein and more. Click here to download a flier. Event is free but registration is required.
  • Transition to Managed Care Stakeholder Forum. 9-11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 18, at Cincinnati Children's Hospital D Building, 3333 Burnet Ave. These forums will give families, caregivers, state officials and a group of stakeholders from around the state the opportunity to express their priorities for what a successful transition of the Children with Medical Handicaps Program (BCMH) will look like, and what are the areas of support, or of concern, with the proposed transition of children with disabilities into Managed Care Organizations (MCOs). Click here for more information. RSVP to danaj@raiseyourvoiceforkids.org.
  • Elf the Musical. 12:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 12, at the Taft Theater, 317 E. 5th St. downtown. Sensory-friendly performance from the Children's Theatre of Cincinnati. Click here for details and other upcoming sensory-friendly shows. 

What do you think of the new Reflections design? Send any thoughts or feedback to Lisa Danford at  lisa.danford@hamiltondds.org. Thank you!