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.
Ann Marie is a busy woman, to put it mildly. “I like being busy,” Ann Marie said humbly. And she is definitely busy! She has two part-time jobs in the community (each for nearly 15 years); works out two times a week at the local gym; swims and bowls competitively; sits on three committees for the Ohio Developmental Disabilities (DD) Council in Columbus as a consumer representative; and still makes time for her boyfriend, Lewis, and her family.
“I have a full life! Wonderful family and providers,” she said referring to her mom, Aggie, her service provider, Dawn and her Summit DD Service and Support Administrator (SSA), Sharon. Together, they all work as a team to connect Ann Marie to supports and encourage her to take the steps needed to achieve her goals.
“She is currently working on an employment committee as Vice Chair‐person due to her decades of experience working in the community,” Sharon said proudly. “Her team is very proud of her!”
Ann Marie also lives with her long-time best friend. She talked a little about some of the new skills she’s learned since moving out on her own. “I learned to clean and keep house, grocery shopping,” she said listing some of the things that came to mind. “And to ‘stay in the kitchen and do it, Ann Marie,’” she joked with a laugh, recalling her own self-talk while cooking.
Ann Marie has a large network outside of her home too. Her jobs, hobbies and volunteer positions give her the platform to change perceptions, advocate for others with disabilities, and be an independent woman. One of the ways she helps advocate for others is through the Ohio DD Council.
Ohio DD Council members are appointed by the governor. They come together to promote advocacy, programs for people with disabilities and monitor the progress of initiatives developed through the council. Urged by Dawn, Ann Marie sits on three committees: Community Living, Public Policy and Employment. “It’s important that they see her as an example,” Dawn said of Ann Marie’s independence and accomplishments.
It’s clear that Ann Marie’s accomplishments are a combination of her initiative, hard work, and support from her team. Her mom has never wavered in support of her daughter and praised Dawn and Sharon for their roles in supporting Ann Marie and her goals.
“It wasn’t all roses,” admitted Aggie. “She had a lot of support from her team to get her where she is today.” Aggie motioned to Dawn and Sharon, “But it was well worth it!”
Ann Marie had some advice to others who might be looking to try something new or gain more independence. “Get the help you need along the way,” she suggested. “That’s what I did.”
There are many ways to get involved and empower others like Ann Marie. Check out our toolkit to request a yard sign, volunteer or donate. Share stories of other inspirational people supported by Summit DD through social media. And remember, make your vote count on Nov. 7.