Category Archives: Champions

My Story – Audrey

“I was really upset when I had that first ultrasound. Is she going to be able to walk or play? I had all sorts of fears for her,” shared Audrey’s mother Clarissa. Audrey was born without a fully developed lower leg. But through a partnership between Summit DD and the University of Akron School of Engineering, Audrey “now tackles everything just like every other kid, and then some,” Clarissa continued. This innovative partnership was created by Summit DD staff in order to meet the unique needs of the kids they support. Over the course of many months, the engineers volunteered their time and developed an adaptable prosthetic that Audrey could wear comfortably and grow into. With the new prosthetic, Audrey is now accomplishing so much. “The sky is the limit for her,” shared Audrey’s Summit DD Developmental Specialist, Bethanee Davis. Read More ›

Roommate Adventures

Look out Lucy and Ethel, you’ve got competition! Gina and Sherwanna are not your typical roommates. Sure, they share a house, bills, residential staff and even meals, but what sets these two apart from other roommates is their desire to share adventures together!

Gina and Sherwanna have been roommates for five years. “[Gina] is great at telling you a story,” shared her Summit DD Service and Support Administrator (SSA), Dayna Jacobs with a grin. “She is always complimenting those around her and she is a good friend to many. And she loves to travel!”

Sherwanna is the quieter of the two friends, but is certainly up for any adventure where Gina is concerned. The roommates share a love for travel that continues to strengthen their friendship. “Sherwanna is a sweet woman. She is extremely flexible and easy going,” Dayna said. “They are roommates and great friends,” she continued about the two.

Dayna explained that the roommates really value their independence. Their residential staff from the Blick Center (who are more like extended family in Gina and Sherwanna’s eyes) help the women take care of day-to-day things. Staff members assist them with residential needs within the home, paying bills and getting them to medical appointments. Meanwhile, their Summit DD SSA, Dayna, handles the coordination and monitoring of all of their support services and secures the funding needed for these essential services. The supports around them allow Gina and Sherwanna to focus on the things that matter to them most, like traveling.

Sherwanna-Gina-AirportGina-Sherwanna-Bus-tourSherwanna-EbonyEbony-GinaSherwanna Simmons posing for a photo in her home with her SSA Dayna Jacobs.Gina Pirillo posing for a photo in her kitchen.

Ebony Thompson, the ladies’ house manager from the Blick Center, has known Gina for about 10 years and Sherwanna for about five. “They’re like family,” she said fondly. “We have a really close relationship.” She went on to explain that not only are the ladies like family to her, but also to each other. “I like to send them on trips together because I know Gina will look out for Sherwanna.”

Gina explained why she works hard during the week. “I save my paychecks so I can do things,” she said referring to the many trips that she and Sherwanna have taken.

“We went to New York, Disney World, Bear Creek, Columbus, and Myrtle Beach,” Gina recalled. “She got a bad sunburn there,” Gina continued, pointing to Sherwanna, who nodded solemnly.

The pair recently returned from a trip to Memphis. “She picked it to see Elvis’ home,” Gina stated matter-of-factly, as she again pointed to Sherwanna. They traveled with Beyond Our Boundaries, which is an organization that plans and coordinates trips for adults with developmental disabilities to destinations all over the country.

“I liked it,” Sherwanna said sweetly. “I want to go back there.”

The roommates are not ready to put their suitcases on a shelf just yet. They already have two trips planned and are even looking beyond that for a bigger adventure. “I want to go to Canada!” Gina chirped, while Sherwanna nodded in agreement.

Safe travels, ladies. We can’t wait to see photos from your next roommate adventure!

Support Gina and Sherwanna – Support Issue 3

Thanks to the funding and support through Summit DD, Gina and Sherwanna have the opportunity to live their lives and fulfill their travel dreams. Learn more about the impact the levy has on our community.

Zee’s Future is Right on Target

It all started with a summer job. Who knew that this traditional teenage rite-of-passage would help one young man find his voice and his direction? Read More ›

Little Amelia

When a child is diagnosed with a developmental disability, it can be very challenging for a family. Recent estimates in the United States show that about one in six children from ages 3 to 17 have a developmental disability. Read More ›

Person-Centered Planning Goals

Person-centered planning is at the heart of Summit DD’s service coordination model. They strive to connect people to the services and supports that allow them to drive their own future. It’s inspiring to watch someone take control of their destiny and achieve great things. Ann Marie is certainly a role model to others when it comes to determining your own future and inspiring others. Read More ›

Tony’s “WONE” Goal

We all set goals for ourselves. Goals are what keep us moving forward. To accomplish any goal in life, you typically need three things: a passion, a plan, and a little assistance from those around you. Just ask Tony. Read More ›