GREENVILLE – The Darke County Commissioners signed a proclamation on Feb. 27 declaring March as Developmental Disabilities (DD) Awareness Month. The signing also launched a yearlong campaign to recognize the 50th anniversary of Ohio’s County Boards of Developmental Disabilities, with the theme “Always There.”
In part, the proclamation reads:
“Whereas: the mission and purpose of Ohio’s county boards of developmental disabilities remain as strong as ever, with boards continuing to provide vital supports and resources to Ohioans with developmental disabilities and their families; and,
“Whereas: during our 50-year history, Darke DD has continually evolved to develop and provide best-practice supports for people with developmental disabilities while also adapting to ever-changing community expectations;
‘And furthermore, we urge all citizens to join in this celebration by spreading awareness of the many contributions offered by people with developmental disabilities in our community,
“And furthermore, we urge all citizens to support opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to enjoy full access to education, housing, employment, and recreational activities in pursuit of living happy, fulfilling lives.”
The Always There campaign marks the founding of Ohio’s 88 county boards by the Ohio General Assembly in 1967. The theme reflects the continuity of support, promotion of opportunity, and history of partnership county boards have offered to people with developmental disabilities and their families throughout the past, in the present, and in the future.
“Reflecting upon our history and looking toward our future is a wonderful way to mark the 50th anniversary of Ohio’s county boards and DD Awareness Month, which is all about building awareness and understanding among the public about the lives of people with developmental disabilities,” said Michael Beasecker, superintendent.
Through personal stories and historical items submitted by county boards and the people, families, and communities they serve, the Always There campaign will tell the collective story of developmental disabilities in Ohio and how the role and services of the county boards have evolved throughout the years.
Submitted stories and items will be archived and shared as part of the Always There History Project, which will be launched on the campaign’s website – www.alwaysthereforohio.org – in March. In addition to the website, the campaign will be supported through social media channels, posters, billboards, and local and statewide events.