It has been a difficult time for everyone, and the warm, spring weather and sunshine is a welcome change for all of us! At the Trumbull County Board of Developmental Disabilities (TCBDD), we are excited to take what we have learned from the COVID-19 crisis and move forward to better serve our individuals, their families/guardians and the community at large. I am extremely proud of our staff for their hard work, patience and dedication to those we serve while dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. 

We will continue to follow all federal, state and county guidelines as they relate to COVID-19. As such, we have amped up our daily cleaning and disinfecting protocol, and we will continue these new practices as we reopen and beyond. We miss the interaction amongst our staff, clients and providers, and we are so looking forward to fully opening back up as soon as it is safe to do so. 

While we have had to cancel a number of events, including all Special Olympics and the annual Girard Track Meet, we would like to shine a light on what has been going on. This newsletter allows us to do just that! 

Thank you to all of you who attended our hilarious and successful Laughability event in January! We had more than 200 people in attendance, and everyone seemed to have a great time. We look forward to hosting this event every year! 

We would also like to thank everyone who has donated to help support our upcoming Fairhaven Bulldog Backpack Program. The program looks to provide meals to children in need over the weekends and extended breaks. So far, we have raised 50% of the funds needed for the program. In addition to this upcoming program, we were able to band together and start providing food packets to those who needed it during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has grown to nearly 100 families. It is our honor to help in this difficult time. 

Self-advocacy is an important aspect of the services we offer, and in this newsletter, we have highlighted a number of individuals who had the chance to share their story with well-known motivational speaker Christopher Milo. Their stories are truly inspirational and a great testament to our staff and programs, including our Valued Options Independence Community Education (VOICE) program. 

Finally, I would like to offer a huge, heartfelt congratulations to our Bulldog graduates! It was a tough way to end the year, but you all did great and deserve to celebrate and be recognized. Congratulations Brian Begg, Jasmyne Brogden, Justin Jones, Jacob Miller and Timmy Myers!

Ed Stark