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Increasing awareness in our community

April 8, 2020

Twenty-four people representing businesses, schools, and agencies in Richland County on March 12 participated in the 19th Annual Community Awareness.

The purpose of Community Awareness Day is to increase knowledge and understanding of how people with developmental disabilities are supported in Richland County.  More importantly, it serves as an opportunity to highlight a person’s abilities and to show that people with disabilities can be valuable members of the community when given the opportunity.

During Community Awareness Day, participants first had an opportunity to learn how adaptive equipment can assist people with disabilities in the challenges they face daily.  Then they were paired with hosts and taken to provider agencies, and into the community where individuals who receive county board supports are working or attend school.

Some comments afterwards included:

  • Hannah Jarvis/Spherion: “GoodWill’s customer service was on point. So me having all of these clients and all of these people come to work every day – knowing that GoodWill has good employees with soft skills, good attendance, and good production – why are we not capturing these individuals and getting them to work.  I think I, in the business that I’m in – hopefully, we can make that connection, and we can collaborate a bit. 
  • Kristi Lord/Mechanics Bank: “I don’t think I interviewed that good as a freshman or sophomore as these students did.  What really impressed me almost all of them help or volunteer in some way.  I learned more from them than what they learned from me.  Thanks for the opportunity; it was great! 
  • Erich Schroeder/ J & B Acoustical: “Being part of commercial construction, it really got me thinking about how we design buildings around people who have disabilities.  That’s huge for me to see that, and it will help to bring that to my workplace to carry that forward. 
  • Edwin Tharp/Mansfield Metropolitan Housing Authority: “I would like to take my crew, all 45 of them, and take them down there (RNI, Inc.) and watch them put together pull strings for mowers, fuel lines for push mowers, fuel lines for tractors, and show them the pride they take and achieve because it’s on display every piece that they make. 


This year’s participants are members of the Mansfield-Richland Area Educational Foundation’s 2019-2020 Leadership Unlimited class. 

Check out more photos from the day on our Facebook page!

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