Opportunity Center kicks off DD Awareness Month

Seneca County Opportunity Center hosts community luncheon

By Sheri Trusty, Seneca County Media Relations Coordinator

The Seneca County Opportunity Center kicked off Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month with a community luncheon on March 1. The event was hosted by Opportunity Center Superintendent Lew Hurst, and school tours were provided by Rodney Biggert and Kaleb Kuhlman.

Several local leaders attended the luncheon, including Seneca County Commissioner Bill Frankart, Seneca County Commissioner Anthony Paradiso, Seneca County Administrator Barb Patterson, Seneca County Common Pleas Court Judge Damon Alt and Tiffin City Administrator Nicholas Dutro.

Hurst gave an overview of educational opportunities, programs and services offered at the Opportunity Center, which serves individuals with developmental disabilities throughout their entire lives. Guests were offered tours of the center and had the chance to see Opportunity Park, an inclusive playground that is open to the public every day from sunrise to sunset.

Pictured at the Seneca County Opportunity Center (SCOC) luncheon are, back row, from left, Seneca County Commissioner Anthony Paradiso, Seneca County Commissioner Bill Frankart, SCOC Superintendent Lew Hurst, Tiffin City Administrator Nicholas Dutro, Seneca County Common Pleas Court Judge Damon Alt, and Rodney Biggert. In the front row, from left, are Northwest Ohio Regional Representative for Sherrod Brown, Erica Krause; Seneca County Administrator Barb Patterson; SCOC Student Council Secretary Alaska; SCOC Student Council Vice President Caden; and SCOC Student Council President Hudson.

“The employees at the Opportunity Center do exemplary work with providing a large scope of options for the children and the adult programs they provide,” Commissioner Frankart said.

The public has several chances to help the Opportunity Center celebrate Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month throughout March. A Celebrity Basketball game will be held on March 14 at 7 p.m. at Heidelberg University’s Seiberling Gymnasium. Rock Your Socks World Down Syndrome Day is on March 21, and ACT Council will host the 66th annual Palm Sunday Dinner and raffle on March 24 at the center. Bakery Bingo takes place on March 26 at 5:30 p.m. in the center gym.

The Opportunity Center’s mission is to improve the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, but the center’s staff don’t want to simply make their lives better. They strive to widen their world through new experiences, integrated connection and an increasing understanding of their own potential. Thanks to the Opportunity Center, many individuals had their first experience with activities like cooking, canoeing, archery and public speaking.

“We want to help them find the life they want,” Biggert said.