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Medina County Board of DD Leadership Academy Graduates Inaugural Class 

On Monday, September 25, the Medina County Board of Developmental Disabilities (MCBDD) was proud to officially recognize the graduates of the inaugural class of its 2023 Leadership Academy program.

Across the nation, people with developmental disabilities want opportunities to be leaders and to contribute their talents, ideas, thoughts, opinions and unique points of view to important decisions making bodies and processes within their communities. “Last year, our Assistant Superintendent came to us with the idea for creating a leadership training program which would help individuals with developmental disabilities who had the drive and passion to get more involved in their community,” says Nicole Richter, MCBDD Training & Compliance Specialist. “The goal was for it to be a competitive program and only those with the commitment to learn leadership skills and take on leadership roles in the community would be selected.” From there Richter, with the help of Michelle Fortney, MCBDD Community Resource and Advocacy Coordinator, created the MCBDD’s Leadership Academy.

The Leadership Academy is a six-month long program to help participants ages 18 and over to develop skills needed to seek out meaningful leadership roles in community organizations in which they are passionate about. It covers topics such as: understanding leadership, becoming a leader, developing a personal profile, communication, listening, problem-solving, time management, interview skills, non-profit organization’s boards of directors, and outlining personalized plans for leadership goals. Additionally, participants are required to attend a Medina County Commissioners meeting, help in a civic endeavor, and attend presentations from people in leadership roles in several local community organizations.

In March 2023, the program selected the first four participants for the Leadership Academy; Logan Detwiler, Adina Kolar, Bill Peters and Tyler Rasey. Each being chosen based on the strength of their application and current levels of advocacy involvement.

“We have watched this inaugural class learn new skills and grow as future leaders. Each of them came into this class with the drive and passion for giving back to their communities, and what they learned in the past six months has only elevated the skills and knowledge they have all brought to the group,” said Richter. “We are confident that each of these individuals will contribute in significant ways to better their communities, and each of them is well on their way to achieving their goals. We are so proud of the work they have done and we look forward to seeing the impacts they will make on our community.

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