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YOUTH NEWSLETTER | OCTOBER 2021
Focused on empowering youth with disabilities, this newsletter will capture current offerings of The Ability Center’s Youth and Transition Program, highlight local community partnerships and provide an opportunity to connect with our staff.

Services are offered to youth and their families to support independent living goals through best practices and partnerships with schools, service agencies, and community organizations. Staff engage youth in activities that align with their skills and interests including recreation, employment, self-advocacy, and transition. Youth create a customized plan including tangible goals to achieve greater independence. Interactive Life Skills classes are offered to youth and young adults ages 13 to 24 looking to develop skills for independent living, competitive employment, or community-based living. Classes are free of charge and run on a school calendar year.
NEW LEADER NAMED
The Ability Center announced that Stuart James will be the new Executive Director of the organization. Following an extensive nationwide search that began in November 2020, James was selected to lead the organization into its next century of service supporting individuals with disabilities. He came to the independent living movement seven years ago as the Executive Director at the historic Center for Independent Living in Berkeley (TheCIL).
Stuart New Ed
More on the announcement here.
NEXT STEPS SUMMER PROGRAM
Throughout the summer, youth with disabilities were paired with local job sites to master employability skills through paid work opportunities. By the end of the six-week experience, participants built an impressive resume, sharpened interview skills, and learned to perform in a professional work environment. Hear from students and see employment partners here
Collection of images for youth - working on cooking skills, at Metroparks and ironing.
Click photo to view 13abc story
WHAT'S HAPPENING?
Three youth holding papers in class
CLASSES
October 13: Body Basics
(ages 18+)

October 13: Sex Education
(ages 18+)

October 14: Ignite
(ages 13-17)

October 19: Professional Prep
(all ages)
Shaken Hands - resume in background
EMPLOYMENT WORKSHOPS
October 13: Tutorials on Indeed & Ohio Means Jobs

October 27: HR Perspective on the hiring process
REC CLUB
October 25: Halloween Party
Trick of Treat Halloween Cookie
Leah Whitacre Smiling Outside
STAFF SPOTLIGHT | Leah Whitacre
Youth Independent Living
Services Coordinator 
Leah graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Miami University of Ohio in 2012. During college, she volunteered for Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities and became a “Buddy”. After college, she came back to her hometown of Toledo and taught kindergarten for four years and third grade for one year. She has a passion for helping children become successful in school and in life.

Leah first became involved with The Ability Center when she was a camp counselor for Camp Cricket in 2007. She participated as a counselor for the Summer Golf Camp program in 2009 as well as a counselor for the YMCA camps and Maumee Valley camps in the community. Leah was also a job coach for the summer in 2018 and 2019. She is excited to be a part of The Ability Center’s Youth and Transition department where she can work with students on independent living skills like cooking, time management, and personal safety.

Leah currently lives in Haskins, Ohio and enjoys spending time with friends, family, and her lab, Chief. She loves to be outside and doing anything from playing catch with Chief, riding on the boat with her brother, or fishing at her parent’s lake house
PARTNER PROFILE
TOLEDO METROPARKS
People recognize parks are special places to gather, to exercise, recreate and learn about nature. Metroparks is committed to providing opportunities for all people to utilize our parks, facilities and programs. Metroparks hosted two consumers this summer through our Next Steps Summer Program; cleaning and organizing in the historic Manor House at Wildwood. We’ve introduced a “Try-It” initiative for youth and adult consumers to experience different accessible programs offered by the parks and find activities they enjoy. We appreciate our long history with Metroparks Toledo and applaud their effort to continue making programs and attractions accessible to all people.
CONNECT WITH US
Do you know someone who might be interested in receiving these services? Share this email and contact information with anyone who may be interested.

Youth Intake and Life Skills Coordinator
419.885.5733 x 256

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