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AdaptAbilities – Frontier Community Services

In the general population not all housing developments are created with inclusion in mind, which is why Frontier Community Services is in the business they are in. Frontier is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating safe and affordable housing in Ohio. But they are also leveling the playing field by focusing on the construction of inclusive communities and supporting people with special needs with access to the supports they need to live their lives while being truly integrated into their community.

“You might say it’s in our DNA to provide housing for persons with disabilities,” suggests Rod Siddons, chief development officer at Frontier Community Services.

Frontier’s strategy has been simple; for every housing community they build, they incorporate accessible homes designed especially for people with disabilities. These single-story homes include layouts featuring open floor plans for easy maneuverability, ceiling tracks and door cut-outs for lift systems, roll-up sinks to accommodate a wheelchair, and custom-built bathrooms that provide space and flexibility. Recent houses that Frontier has constructed include fenced in backyards with patios and greenspace, and private areas to sit and relax.

“When you work in the field of developmental disabilities you realize quickly that the spectrum of disabilities is wide and deep. While we could make our best effort to be ‘all encompassing’ with a design for the individuals we serve, there were often changes that needed to be made to accommodate a specific person or need,” Rod states.

One of these special needs arose recently when a resident’s lift van could not fit all the way in the garage due to the customized van’s height. Rod asked the owner to measure the height of the van. “If I need to build something going forward to accommodate those types of vans, we will do that.”

Frontier has provided housing and support services to people with developmental disabilities since 1980. Because they are building houses for people with disabilities and others in the community, they are able to leverage several sources of funding. By using a combination of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, the HOME program, the Ohio Housing Trust Fund, state funding, and Ross County Board of Developmental Disabilities, as well as private bank loans, they are able to continue building inclusive housing developments.

Over the past 20 years, Frontier has expanded housing efforts to include veterans, seniors, and low-income families. “We now have 30 multi-family developments with over 1400 units in our portfolio,” Rod says. “When I look back to see what we have done, it is amazing, but the work is here in front of us, and so we cannot spend much time looking back when there is so much good to do going forward.”


Thank You Charleston Church of the Brethren

Thank you for your $500 donation to The Pioneer Center Booster Club, Charleston Church of the Brethren!

The Pioneer Center Booster Club funds several events, initiatives and provides support for students in times of need.

The Booster Club pays for the Pioneer Tiger’s basketball and cheerleader’s uniforms, trophies, and award ceremonies at the end of the season.  They take the Pioneer School preschoolers to lunch twice a year and host an Easter egg hunt for them.

The Booster Club helps out in cases of deaths of students, staff, etc. – either by sending flowers or making a monetary contribution.  They also help out in emergency food and clothing for students and families in need.

The Pioneer Center Booster Club also furnishes Christmas and birthday gifts for all students.  They also sponsor Santa night for our students and siblings who might not get a chance to talk and visit with Santa. To learn more about the Pioneer Center Booster Club, please contact Booster President, Shelly Smith at 740-773-8044 or ssmith@rossdd.org .



Event turns job seeking on its ear


Wouldn’t it be nice when looking for a job to just sit back and wait for employers to come to you?

For those students and adults served by the Ross County Board of Developmental Disabilities, that wish became reality Monday afternoon during a reverse job fair at the Christopher Conference Center. The format, which flips the traditional job fair format on its ear, features job seekers sitting at tables with stacks of their resumes in front of them as they wait for potential employers to come sit down with them.


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Board Meeting Cancelled

Tonight’s Board Meeting has been canceled.


October is National Disability Employment Month


The Pioneer Center recently announced its participation in National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual awareness campaign that takes place each October. The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. This year’s theme is “Inclusion Works.”

The history of National Disability Employment Awareness Month traces back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

“By fostering a culture that embraces individual differences, including disabilities, businesses profit by having a wider variety of tools to confront challenges,” said Jennifer Sheehy, deputy assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy. “Our nation’s most successful companies proudly make inclusion a core value. They know that inclusion works. It works for workers, it works for employers, it works for opportunity, and it works for innovation.”

Reflecting this year’s theme, throughout the month, The Pioneer Center will be engaging in a variety of activities to educate the community on disability employment issues and its commitment to an inclusive work culture. The marquee event for the month will be a Reverse Job Fair, hosted at the Christopher Conference Center on October 24, 12-5:30pm.

The Reverse Job Fair literally turns the tables on traditional job fairs. Prospective employees are the ones sitting behind the tables, selling themselves to employers who drop by at their convenience. Pioneer does the legwork for business’ who RSVP by Oct. 17, ensuring they will meet with candidates who meet the employers’ needs. To learn more about the Reverse Job Fair, or to RSVP, contact Art Nickles, Employment Connections Coordinator, at 740-773-8044.

“The Pioneer Center is proud to be a part of this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month,” said Patrick McFadden, Director of Communication for The Pioneer Center. “We want to spread the important message that we value the diverse perspectives, including those of individuals with developmental disabilities.”

Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month and ways they can promote its messages — during October and throughout the year — by visiting www.rossdd.org/jobs