Hattie Larlham Executive Offices
Hattie Larlham Foundation

9772 Diagonal Road
Mantua, OH44255


Hattie Larlham Central Ohio Administrative Offices

769 Brooksedge Blvd.
Westerville, OH 43081


Hattie Larlham FOCUS - March 2019

Hattie Larlham FOCUS - March 2019

By W Voelker

Hattie Larlham celebrates the unique abilities of every individual

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan made a public proclamation that the month of March should be recognized as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month to “increase public awareness of the needs and potential of Americans with developmental disabilities.”

Though Hattie Larlham’s mission to provide comfort, joy and achievement remains the same, so much has changed since 1987. While we still provide high-quality medical care to people with profound disabilities at the Hattie Larlham Center for Children with Disabilities (as we’ve done since 1961), our efforts today include creating opportunities for community integration – people with disabilities living, working and exploring within their own communities. Our geographic reach is greater today as well; we operate group and supported living homes throughout Northeast and Central Ohio, offer a unique integrated preschool in Columbus where children of all abilities learn and grow together, and provide training and employment services for people in Summit, Portage, Cuyahoga, Medina, and Franklin Counties.

Hattie Larlham’s Creative Arts program allows Center residents to express themselves through art.

Everything we do at Hattie Larlham helps people of all abilities create rich, meaningful lives. We recognize the caring staff at Hattie Larlham who work tirelessly to care for and support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and we celebrate the achievements of the people we serve; whether it’s learning a new skill, finding a job in the community, or simply enjoying time with friends, it’s all about celebrating ABILITY.

Throughout the month of March, we will be celebrating Developmental Disabilities Awareness by sharing stories of ABILITY, from all across Hattie Larlham. Be sure to visit our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages to read about how people with disabilities are succeeding every single day.

Message from Hattie Larlham’s Leaders

March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month – a time to recognize the abilities and achievements of the people we serve, and to express our gratitude to the people who serve them. This year, Hattie Larlham is embracing the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council’s theme, “Supports Matter!” This issue of Focus highlights the ways our supports make it possible for the people we serve to get the most out of each and every day, whether they live at our Center for Children with Disabilities or one of our community homes, participate in one of our employment services programs or spend time at our Constant Companions or Addventures locations.

Hattie Larlham’s funders understand the importance of our supports. We are excited to announce that The Catherine L. and Edward A. Lozick Foundation has presented Hattie Larlham with a $100,000 Challenge Grant – a tremendous opportunity to help us replace critical equipment we use every day to support the babies, children and adults who make their home with us at the Center or our group homes. Every dollar we raise toward this “Challenge” before October 1, 2019 will be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to $100,000, by the Foundation. You can help us reach this goal by making a donation today, and checking the box to designate your gift for the Lozick Challenge Grant.

We appreciate your support and are grateful to all of the Foundations and other donors who support Hattie Larlham and help us meet our mission.

Stephen Colecchi, CEO Michael Weinhart, President Board of Directors Hattie Larlham FOCUS - March 2019

YOUR Support Matters!

This March, in celebration of National Disabilities Awareness Month, we have an incredible opportunity, thanks to The Catherine L. and Edward A. Lozick Foundation. For every dollar Hattie Larlham raises throughout 2019 toward the Hattie Larlham Challenge Grant, The Catherine L. and Edward A. Lozick Foundation will match those donations dollar-for-dollar up to $100,000 toward the purchase of critical equipment we use in the care of our main campus and group home residents. That means a total of $200,000 to replace worn bathing equipment, mattresses, positioning devices and other essential tools that help our most vulnerable children and adults.

Please help us celebrate abilities and supports with a gift to the Hattie Larlham Foundation. By selecting the “Challenge Accepted!” box on the online donation form, you not only help us reach our Challenge Goal, you make it possible for funds to go even further to sustain other critical areas of our organization.

Want to help even more? Ask your employer if they match charitable donations, which would effectively triple your gift!

Other ways to give:

Ability Succeeds with Employment Services

In 2018, our Employment Services helped 40 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities get jobs in the community. Many of the people who come to Hattie Larlham for employment services have never worked – and now they are part of a team and earning a paycheck. Their success is another example of how supports matter.

Hattie Larlham Job Developers provide those supports, helping participants to create a resume, practice interview skills, start a search for a job that fits their skills and goals, and then submit applications.

Click to meet three of our Employment Services Success Stories!

Hattie Larlham also helps youth to explore job opportunities through our Summer Youth Work Experience (SYWE). The SYWE is designed for high school students ages 16-22 preparing to bridge the transition from school to adult life. Each session includes one week of classroom instruction on job seeking and soft skills, and four weeks of work experience with one of our partner employers. Hattie Larlham provides job coaches at every site to assist and monitor the students as they explore real-world jobs. In 2018, several of our trainees were hired directly from their SYWE assignments.

Our Employment Services team also conducts Community-Based Assessments (CBA) for youth and adults. CBAs are similar to the SYWE, except that there is no classroom training, and the job experience is two weeks. Assessments occur year-round and include a discovery process and soft-skills training to help participants identify their strengths and interests.

People placed in jobs through Hattie Larlham’s Employment Services program in 2018 work an average of 19 hours per week and earn an average of $9.07 per hour, which is more than minimum wage. Businesses are willing to pay a higher starting wage for people with the right skills for the job, and Hattie Larlham has been able to find those people for the employers we partner with, including familiar names like Marc’s, Winking Lizard, and Aramark.

In addition to employment training, Hattie Larlham offers free benefits analysis to participants and their families who may worry that earning an income will affect their benefits. Our reports help trainees see that it always pays to work.

The State of Ohio is also taking action to help people with disabilities find jobs. Newly inaugurated Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed an executive order on January 14 issuing several new directives for state agencies to focus on identifying and eliminating barriers to employment for people with disabilities. One directive is aimed at eliminating disability-based discrimination.

Many supports are in place to help potential employees learn skills and find employment that suits their interests and abilities. Hattie Larlham is proud to provide these life-changing services to people with disabilities, and we celebrate their successes with them.

If you know someone with disabilities who could benefit from Hattie Larlham’s Employment services, please contact Laura Walker at 330-620-9341 or visit

Hattie Larlham FOCUS - March 2019

Dahlberg Gibson Learning Center Supports Success

Stop by the Dahlberg Gibson Learning Center (DGLC) in Columbus on any weekday, and you’ll see smiles, cheers, struggles, curiosity, and laughter – things you can expect at any preschool. DGLC currently serves between 104 to 110 children per week with early intervention or preschool programming designed to help prepare students for kindergarten. DLGC welcomes children between the ages of 12 months to five years. Nearly all of the babies who enter Dahlberg Gibson were born prematurely, and many have medical challenges. Despite those rough starts, the Dahlberg Gibson staff, therapists, and parents work together to teach independence and self-regulation, which ensures that nearly all students are ready for kindergarten by age five. These children achieve success at Dahlberg Gibson because of the supports they receive along the way.

Miss Nina and some of her three-year-old students

Laura Skidmore, program director at Dahlberg Gibson for 15 years, says that when parents come to Dahlberg, the help they receive in connecting with their child goes far beyond the child’s medical needs. “Until they come here, parents are getting mostly medical information,” says Skidmore. Here, families gain confidence in that they know what to do for their child – that they can be the best teacher.”

The youngest students start out their journey at 12 months in Mr. Doug’s classroom, two days per week. The key to success at this early age is the hour every week that Mr. Doug spends in the child’s home, with the family.

He helps parents learn how to use the resources they have around them in order to enable learning through play. As children progress, in-home Dahlberg Gibson Learning Center Supports Success activities are replaced by increased classroom time. Teachers incorporate each child’s unique learning style into the classroom, and adapt lesson plans to follow student interests. Teachers also help parents to navigate available services and to become advocates for their child.

Add’s speech and language pathologist Miss Megan

Teachers and staff are committed to helping every child reach his or her highest level of self-regulation and independence before leaving Dahlberg Gibson. While some students will always need support, many students gradually leave supports behind as they grow and achieve. Occupational, physical, and speech therapists visit every classroom weekly to track progress and work on individual goals. When children are finally ready for school, teachers at Dahlberg prepare letters for parents to share with their child’s new classroom teacher, which include information about the child’s personality, likes and dislikes, learning style, as well as behavior challenges and successes. The new homeroom teachers frequently reach out to Dahlberg Gibson teachers for additional insight into potential strategies for helping the child succeed in his or her new learning environment.

Supports matter at Dahlberg Gibson Learning Center, especially the staff’s commitment to every child’s success, a flexible teaching approach, and a supportive and nurturing focus on family strengths.

For more information about this program, visit or contact Laura Skidmore at (614) 447-0606.

Barberton Welcomes Constant Companions

Hattie Larlham is excited for the opportunity to serve southern Summit County at its newest Constant Companions day program site in Barberton. The new location in Barberton’s Village at Anna Dean opened its doors in November with a celebration that included participants, family, neighbors and community leaders.

Barberton site manager Tracy Monaco

Constant Companions is more than a day program that provides supports for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It’s an opportunity for participants to become engaged and inspired. At each location, people work together to identify and plan activities that range from gallery trips to exercise classes, bowling, or volunteering. Some of the groups have regular “meet ups” with local knitting circles or senior centers. Every day of the week, adults who attend Constant Companions have opportunities to try new activities, go places, and have their own impact on the community.

Participants John and Cheryl help each other perfect their artful creations.

One support that distinguishes Constant Companions from other day programs is Hattie Larlham’s willingness and ability to provide for people with more severe disabilities and medical challenges. Barberton’s Constant Companions can serve up to 35 people per day with a variety of abilities and needs. A full-time Licensed Practical Nurse on site ensures that participants with more medical needs can still attend and enjoy the program. Like other locations, the Barberton Constant Companions is designed to help all participants get engaged with the people and community around them, regardless of their challenges. When participants are not out and about, the location provides ample space for reclining, which is especially important for people who need time out of their wheelchairs, and private areas for needed personal care. These amenities allow participants a level of comfort to help them enjoy their day.

Hattie Larlham has enjoyed getting to know Barberton and being an active part of the neighborhood. “Barberton is the ideal place for our newest location,” said Program Director Stacy Timm. “There are endless opportunities for our participants to get involved in a wide range of activities that will allow them to explore the area. Our new neighbors have been very welcoming!”

Constant Companions has eight locations throughout Northeast Ohio, serving 250 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The program operates weekdays from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

For information on how Constant Companions can make a difference for someone you know, please contact Stacy Timm, Program Manager, at 330-760-2744.

Hattie Larlham Nurses Provide Care from the Heart

One of the best things about Hattie Larlham is the dedication of the people who deliver the programs, services and care that create opportunities for comfort, joy and achievement. Working at Hattie Larlham, you meet people like John Johnson.

John celebrates seven years at Hattie Larlham this March. As a nurse at the Hattie Larlham Center for Children with Disabilities, John plays a critical role on the nursing staff. Day to day, he supports the Center residents by attending to their medical needs, providing G tube and ostomy care, assessing health status, monitoring vital signs, and communicating with other caregivers to help ensure that every person who lives at the Center is receiving the best possible care.

John says that it is through providing such hands-on care that he has developed a deeply personal connection with the residents. “It’s much more than a job,” he says. “All of the staff here care so deeply about the kids that they become like family.” It was this sense of relationship building that drew John to working at Hattie Larlham. Previously, John worked part-time providing direct in-home care for individuals with developmental disabilities and he said that it came so naturally to him that he was inspired to work with this population full time. During his seven years here, John has brightened the lives of not only the residents, but also of his co-workers. You’ll rarely catch him without a big smile or witty remark and he is known as the person to call on for advice and guidance.

Rhia is all smiles whenever her friend John is around.

“Everyone enjoys working with John as he is very calm and easy going. His also a wonderful baker and likes to bring in treats to share with staff, which we appreciate very much!” commented Director of Nursing Christine Miranda. We asked John what the most challenging part of his job is and, true to his optimistic nature, John replied that there’s always something new to learn. His desire to learn and improve his skills was evident when John decided to pursue his RN licensure while working full time at the Center. Christine shared that the administration was more than happy to allow John flexibility with his work schedule to accommodate the classes he was taking to reach his goal. The kind of encouragement and support he received while he pursued his degree kept John enthusiastic about his career at Hattie Larlham and we are proud to have him as part of our team.

Congratulations, John!

Volunteers are special supports who matter!

In 1961, Hattie Gadd Larlham and her family opened their home to begin caring for babies born with disabilities. What allowed this courageous undertaking to succeed were the countless friends and community volunteers who worked around the clock to provide heartfelt care and compassion to those children. Today, volunteers are still a significant and very special part of what makes Hattie Larlham successful.

Although April is National Volunteer Month, our volunteers make a difference all year. Some volunteer groups from local organizations, companies, or schools spend a day with one of our programs to tackle a project or celebrate a special day of service. Others devote 40 or more hours per year to spend precious one-on-one time with people in our care. All of them add a dimension of friendship and social interaction that enhances the lives of the people we serve.

Hattie Larlham FOCUS - March 2019

You can make a difference in the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by volunteering with Hattie Larlham. We provide all the training you need; just bring your enthusiasm, compassion, and a smile! Our many programs mean there are lots of different ways to help, such as organizing activities to enjoy with our Constant Companions participants, helping to brighten up one of our community homes with a fresh coat of paint, or reading, singing or spending time outdoors with the children and adults at the Center. Hattie Larlham welcomes your talents and interest in working with people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. You can even earn service hour credits to help you reach your academic and professional goals while you help others.

For more information, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Lauri Molnar at (330) 840-6844 or

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