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1JCDC dedicated to helping community

The Jackson Herald - 7/10/2018

For 40 years, the Jackson County Developmental Center has been helping individuals with disabilities and special needs attain their goals and find help employment and independence. This not-for-profit organization provides a holistic, person-centered service that is dedicated to help all who are in need.

In 1978, a group of individuals recognized the need for an organization to give those with disabilities an opportunity to overcome challenges they faced daily. The organization operated twice a week in a space that was donated by a local church. Having no official accreditation, they primarily helped those with special needs by teaching them how to be more engaged in their community. The Center was eventually able to rent a space in downtown Ravenswood, and in 1982 was given accreditation by the WV Division of Rehabilitation Services. This allowed JCDC to start offering vocational rehabilitation services to members of the community.

In 1992, JCDC relocated to Millwood. Ten years after relocating, the facility greatly expanded in order to accommodate the wide range of services and activities JCDC was now able to offer. In March 2010 JCDC attained its Behavioral Health License to provide counseling services to those with moderate to severe disabilities. Later that year in June, the Center began offering an even wider scope of services though the Medicaid Title XIX Waiver Program, allowing the Center to provide more flexible and even home-based services to individuals who are disabled and their families. While other organizations were providing this same service, the aim of JCDC was to provide the most optimal care for the individuals they served.

Though based in Millwood, JCDC also has satellite offices in Point Pleasant and Parkersburg. This growth has allowed JCDC to help those with disabilities in over seven counties mostly in West Virginia, along with some counties in Ohio. The Parkersburg center provides a monthly support group to those with brain injuries, and advocates for their involvement in social and community activities.

These changes and accreditations allowed JCDC to quadruple their operating budget, enabling them to employ more people to facilitate services and to expand the area where their services are provided. In 2017, JCDC employed 151 individuals in seven counties in West Virginia and four counties in Ohio. The organization also employed 47 individuals with special needs for production positions the same year. The Center has received grants from both the WV Division of Rehabilitation Services and the WV Developmental Disabilities Council in order to continue their work in the community.

However, funding for JCDC has not always come easy, but the organization has still stayed true to its core values. Over the years funding has waxed and waned, with the organization being at the mercy of state funding.

"It's an experience, not a statistic," says Sara Rose, Development and Communication Specialist at JCDC, "you only understand something to the level of your involvement."

Craig Greening, Executive Director of JCDC, said, "When you see people everyday, we see how they behave, how they act. We see their challenges, we see their growth, we see how they accomplish and emerge into something."

The person-oriented approach JCDC is the forefront of their mission, and aims to aid people with disabilities into achieving something more. "From a cocoon to a butterfly" states Greening.

JCDC offers Vocational Rehabilitation services to all who seek their assistance. This service allows citizens with special needs to find gainful employment in areas that are best suited to their abilities. The Center has Employment Specialists that work one-on-one with each individual seeking help finding work.

This approach puts the individual first and foremost, and has allowed many to find and retain employment that would otherwise be unobtainable.

The production area in the Millwood office works on recycling materials for three main companies - Constellium, Kimberly Clark, and Toyota.

Thermocouple wiring is made for the Constellium plant, along with cloths made from clothing donated to JCDC. Plastic packaging material is received from Toyota to be sorted and recycled, with some material sold to a company in Marietta to generate power. Personal protective equipment such as facemasks and vinyl gowns are received from Kimberly Clark to be recycled as well. These items are purely precautionary; no biohazard items are allowed due to safety.

Recycled items are sent to several locations, and some sent to recycling centers in association with the respective company where items were received.

When asked about growth, "our biggest problem is physical resources," responded Greening. "Merely just taking a look at what you're doing and being more efficient, you have to sometimes have to take that for growth."

In 2017 JCDC was able to provide Vocational Rehabilitation to 27 individuals in seven counties. The Medicaid Waiver program assisted 92 individuals, with the majority of these individuals in the Jackson, Wood, and Mason county areas.

Overall last year, 137 individuals received services from JCDC.

In addition to providing services to individuals with disabilities, JCDC also provides assistance to state agencies. West Virginia CHIP has a contract with JCDC.

The organization helps WVCHIP by providing information requested by callers to their hotline. JCDC also enters mile marker and GPS coordinates of car accidents into a database used by the Department of Transportation and the Division of Highways.

Last year the JCDC sponsored the first annual Give a Flick Charity Disc Golf Open at Cedar Lakes in Ripley.

While turnout was good, the numbers are better so far this year when compared to last. With a total of 34 attendees last year, this year already has 25 registered players, with time for more to register. The second annual Give a Flick Charity Disc Golf Open will be on October 13, 2018, with spots still available for players, and for individual and corporate sponsorships.

Anyone who is interested in the services the JCDC offers and the Give a Flick Charity Disc Golf Open can visit their official website for more information.

 
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