Building Innovative Service Models
Starfire has provided individualized supports since 2016. At this time the Community Connectors program began. There is also the Learning Network that provides trainings and the Family Leadership Network. Starfire’s purpose is to heighten the collective imagination of what is positive and possible in our community.
CLI began services in 2016 with a strategic aim “To settle into operation(s) that ensure our financial independence [in order to] grow to meet the needs of people with DD in the Firelands region.” The mission created in 2016 remains largely unchanged:
The mission of CLI Incorporated shall be to increase the earnings and status of persons with DD through business development, supported employment, and alternative services. CLI’s primary purpose is to support individuals with DD to be respected, independent members in their communities and to help them to identify their personal objectives and to assist them to achieve those goals.
Riverview Industries Inc. (RVI) conducted an assessment of their strengths and needs as an organization. and found that although it had come a long way since 1973 when it was started by parents and advocates, its evolution was not clear overall gestalt. Through the assessment process, RVI was able to clarify the overarching value that connected the array of their programs. In addition, development of a Business Plan brought to light the value that RVI wanted to drive their organization forward— Inclusion. The organization feels strongly that building on the principles of inclusion and interdependence with the community for all of its services will create a cohesive path forward.
RVI believes in the value of belonging and finding meaningful community memberships for the people they serve. Their mission “is to move people toward the life they want to live.” To achieve this mission RVI programs need to create avenues for ensuring meaningful community membership. RVI is expanding how they accomplish this from small groups in the community to volunteering in the community, leisure activities that expand social connections. It is expanding the concept of what can occur at the main facility through bringing the community into the facility with options such as a shared workspace and small group meetings. RVI believes that no matter what a person’s ability is everyone has something to offer to the community and is worthy of belonging. RVI has been successful in this area and looks forward to growing and expanding its success with Inclusion.
Koinonia Homes (Koinonia) is proud of its history and tradition of innovation in services to support people with developmental disabilities to live full and productive lives in their community. Koinonia Enterprises, (KE) the division of Koinonia responsible for all day and employment services, has played a key role in expanding the horizons and opportunities of the people it supports. Over the last ten years, KE has created and expanded robust employment services geared toward competitive integrated employment, closed its 14c workshops participated in provider transformation initiatives, and in partnership with Summit DD and local school districts, established Compass Pathfinder, a community-based transition program. Beginning in 2019, Koinonia established community engagement criteria for all programs, building an organization-wide performance evaluation and quality indicator requirements. As part of this initiative, the agency adopted the Life Canvass Assessment to measure and monitor inclusion and person-centered goals. The agency developed a Choices app designed to help people find and choose resources in the community that match their personal goals and interests.
The Altitude Initiative (“Alti” in the following) is a corporation that exists to help individuals with disabilities experience self-directed lives through meaningful and inclusive employment, the development of skills and personal interests, and the creation of strong connections within their communities. Alti has provided community-based services to currently circa 70 people since 2013 without a hub or facility of any kind. All of Alti’s community employment and community engagement services are provided by our staff and DSPs quite literally in the community.
Downsize Farm was founded as a family business in 2007 on a 2.5 acre property in rural Ohio. In an entrepreneurial spirit, Bob and Midge Custer aimed to create greater opportunity for their two sons with Down’s syndrome. Prior to the birth of Downsize Farm, the Custer’s spent years dairy farming, helping with 4-H, and responding to local farming community callings. This experience led to the premise for Downsize Farm—a program where people with disabilities could cultivate personal growth through learning by doing. Here, individuals could learn about basics of gardening, cooking, bailing hay, and animal care.
Learning by doing has remained a cornerstone philosophy for Downsize Farm, but the path for programs and activities has grown drastically. In 2014, we launched Downsize Jobs, a vocational program devoted to helping individuals with disabilities cultivate job skills to gain competitive community employment. Downsize Farm also launched an employment team, utilizing Vocational Rehabilitation services, and have established their position as community leader in helping individuals with disabilities to gain competitive community employment. The Organization aims to change the community view that people with disabilities are contributors, rather than consumers.
In 2020, the daughter of Bob and Midge Custer, Bobbi McKee took on the role of CEO. Bobbi aims to take Downsize Farm’s growth to a new level through established programs of Day Hab Vocational, Employment and Residential. Downsize Farm also aims to strategically grow financially through sound process and marketing. Among imminent change, the new Downsize Farm will keep its philosophy of learning by doing at the forefront. As our Organization motto states, Life is Looking up at Downsize Farm.