Each week, this series shares Marion-Made! stories of our many wonderful people, places, products, and programs in the greater Marion community. To read more stories of Marion’s great people, places, products, and programs, or to share some of your own stories, visit us at marionmade.org or on social media.
Today, we breakdown the simplicity and complexity of a critical program in our community: The Marion County Board of Developmental Disabilities (MCBDD).
While the concept of the Marion County Board of Developmental Disabilities (MCBDD) is very simple – they help people with developmental disabilities live, learn, and earn in Marion County – the magnitude of the organization is very complex.
Seemingly simple on the surface, the organization receives funding at federal, state, and local levels, but managing a multifaceted budget with three separate fiscal years is a challenge (all which often ebb and flow based on federal/state/local agendas, plans and support).
Annually, MCBDD serves an average of 800 people in the Marion County community with developmental disabilities each year. How are they served? Again, the answer is simple yet complex. Those served create their own destiny with the help of their Services and Support Administrator or SSA (also referred to as a case manager). The SSA is an MCBDD employee who is there to assist people with their goals and connect them with the resources to achieve. Often this is a local service provider or agency. When those served achieve one goal, the SSA is there to help them move on to the next. Before you know it, they are living inclusively and as independently as possible in our community.
“One thing you learn quickly is that the people we serve are very capable of achieving dreams and goals. They just need a little help to get there. And we are blessed to be able to not only watch them grow but help them along the way. It’s a very rewarding career,” Julie Cummins, director of Service and Support Administration says of the work.
The County Board of DD manages and funds over 50 local providers of services. A provider is simply an independent agency that partners with MCBDD to provide the needed service(s) to those served. Providing opportunities that promote growth, self-worth, and integrating individuals into the community is a large part of what providers and MCBDD collaboratively do.
The goal is to increase independence and teach the skills necessary for those served to be productive members of the community. Enhancing life skills opens opportunities for greater community integration while increasing confidence and self-advocacy.
Providers assist with transportation, day services, residential services, budgeting, grocery shopping, cooking, first aid, community integration, employment, social skills, and much, much more!
The organization not only provides support to those served, but they also work closely with their many provider agencies to ensure that the goals of each person is met. There are an abundant amount of policies as well as the Ohio Revised Code, the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD), and the Ohio Association of County Boards (OACB) that all help guide MCBDD to advocate and assist those served with all aspects of inclusion and independence so they can live their best life within their own communities.
MCBDD Superintendent Cheryl Plaster had this to say about those served, “Getting to know your friends and neighbors of all walks of life provides perspective through a different lens. Seeing Marion County through the eyes of our community members with developmental disabilities is to see strength, courage, ability, creativity, and truly happy, grateful souls who add a little spark to every person they encounter.” She adds, “the work we do is not only meaningful, but it is also rewarding. We learn from those we serve every day and you would too.”
Again. So simple. The reward of loving each and every person in Marion County is truly what makes us MarionMade! We encourage you to take a MarionMade! Challenge. Meet someone new in our community. Get out of your comfort zone to learn about those who are slightly different than you. Volunteer for the Special Olympics, employ someone with a developmental disability, get involved, get educated, and get ready to fall in love with a part of your community that you may not have thought of before. Maybe not so simple, but, oh, so rewarding!