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MCBDD Receives State Grant to Fund Inclusion Efforts

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The Medina County Board of Developmental Disabilities (MCBDD) recently applied for and was approved to receive $133,000 in ARPA grant funding. The grant funding was made available by the Ohio Department of DD (DODD) to county boards across the state to empower them to undertake diverse initiatives and projects that offer flexible support and services to people living with developmental differences and their families. Ultimately, these projects seek, according to the DODD, “to foster inclusiveness, accessibility, and independence with the goal of providing access to non-disability specific environments for people living with disabilities.”

In planning how to best use the grant funds to impact Medina County, the MCBDD has developed an extensive plan targeting four areas:

Supported Connections – Traditional transportation options for people who use wheelchairs, or need transportation outside of normal business hours, is extremely limited. Therefore, the MCBDD will use some of this funding to develop a program to incentivize transportation providers in Medina County to expand services to meet the diverse needs of those who use wheelchairs and/or need transportation during weekend or evening hours.

Accessible Communities – The MCBDD will focus on investing in public infrastructure to increase accessibility for people with developmental differences in public places. Plans are being developed to offer accessible equipment such as portable ramps for agencies and businesses in Medina County. The portable ramps are a great option to increase community accessibility as they are lightweight and come in many sizes and weight limits and may be placed on top of existing steps when the need arises. Local businesses and organizations will be able to improve accessibility for not only those that use a wheelchair, but for those with canes, walkers, crutches, or even strollers.

Universal Changing Tables – In Medina County, there is a specific need to enhance accessibility in public spaces for adults with developmental differences. Universal changing tables have been identified as an important need that counties must address. The MCBDD will use a large portion of this funding to lead this transformation of improving access of essential facilities and is committed to seeking out partnerships with community entities for installation of universal changing tables.

Community Experience – One of the barriers to community experiences for people with developmental differences involves the financial limitations and concerns not only for themselves but for the needed participation of their support staff/caregiver as well. The MCBDD will look at ways to work with local businesses and organizations to create opportunities and resources to pay for memberships, passes, and classes for individuals with disabilities and their support staff so they are able to attend recreational and leisure activities together. This will allow caregivers to continue to work along-side people with disabilities so they are able to provide the support they need to experience true community experiences and inclusion.

“We want to give opportunities to people with developmental differences to fully participate in their community and to enjoy recreation and social activities with everybody else,” stated Stacey Maleckar, MCBDD Superintendent. “We are very excited to receive these funds and to have the opportunity to make an impact locally. We look forward to putting some new and exciting initiatives in place for those who need it most.”

The MCBDD has until December 31, 2024, to use the ARPA Grant funding and has already begun reaching out to local businesses and organizations to create some of collaborations and partnerships needed to achieve success. Additional efforts will continue throughout the year, as potentially new opportunities are discovered and explored.

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