Sarah has an older brother, Charlie, with multiple disabilities including Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, and severe intellectual disabilities. Growing up with Charlie has influenced her career path as well as the volunteer activities and advocacy in her personal life. Throughout her life, Sarah has worked at group homes for people with disabilities, gave fencing clinics to people who use wheelchairs, started a Bible study for young adults with developmental disabilities, and taught as a special education teacher at Columbus High School in Nebraska. Sarah plans to advocate for people with disabilities and their siblings through her involvement in Ohio SIBS.
Dana has a younger brother, Ronnie, who was born with intellectual disabilities. Dana and Ronnie grew up in a small rural town in central PA where there was very little help and next to no services for individuals with developmental disabilities.
Ronnie moved with their parents to Grove City, OH in 2004 to be closer to Dana, her husband and their son. At that time, Dana began investigating services in central Ohio and became familiar with the Ohio SIBS organization. She joined the Board for Ohio SIBS and is looking forward to helping to help advocate and provide support for individuals with developmental disabilities.
John was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio and moved to Cleveland in 1981 after graduating from Youngstown State University. He is a CPA and worked in public accounting for 29 years before taking an accounting position with the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities (CCBDD) working with SAW, Inc. in 2010. SAW was formed in 1969 and its mission is to train and employ adults with developmental disabilities. Before taking his current position, he served on the SAW, Inc. Board of Trustees for nine years, the last two as President. SAW is a vitally important organization that has trained and employed thousands of individuals with disabilities.
John is single and does not have any children. Much of his spare time is devoted to volunteering and following his favorite sports teams, the Indians, Cavs, Browns, and Ohio State Buckeyes.
Through the process Ben saw a need for provider agencies and co-founded Vision Mentors the following year. Along with sitting on the Ohio SIBS board, Ben also a board member of SafeHaven, a non-profit mental health agency that serves several counties in his area. Ben, along with Angie, has had the privilege of participating as speakers at conferences, talking about their experiences especially related to Angie and starting her own business.
In addition to his 40 years of service to the DD community, Dr. Ryan served on the board of education of the Avon Lake City School for eight years. Dr. Ryan also taught at Cleveland State University and Notre Dame College. As a long-time supporter of Ohio SIBS, Dr. Ryan joined the Ohio SIBS Board in January 2016.
Debra has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Mount Union College, and a Master’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation from Kent State University. Deb is a former ballroom dance and adapted dance instructor (1984-2004), a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, and the founder/director of Beyond Our Boundaries in Canton, Ohio, offering chaperoned “Trips of a Lifetime” for adults with developmental disabilities.
Michael is an adult with autism, who was diagnosed in the 1960’s. He attended the School of Bright Promise in Jefferson County. For the last five years, Michael has been living in Massillon, Ohio, in a beautiful community home with three housemates who are welcoming to Deb for frequent visits! Michael enjoys swimming at the rec center, camping, going to movies, and dining out. Michael has a winning sense of humor, and is employed in the community.
Debra and Michael have always enjoyed a close relationship with their parents. Their late mother, Mary Kay Buchmelter, was a successful public interest lawyer who had a part in writing the ADA. Michael and his father keep in touch by phone, visit on Skype, and enjoy Pizza Hut, Dairy Queen, and shopping at the mall together.
Debra has been Michael’s guardian for thirty-three years; Michael has been photo-bombing the family since 1968.
Tabitha grew up in rural northwest Ohio with her five younger siblings. Her sister Katrina has autism and severe intellectual disabilities and lives with their parents in their hometown. Tabitha has been honored to be able to assist her parents in planning for Katrina’s education and long term care and is grateful to be able to help other families like hers.
Jacqui is the middle child of five siblings – three sisters and one brother. One of her sisters and her brother have multiple disabilities from PKU (phenylketonuria) and other health issues. Growing up with special needs siblings provided Jacqui with insight, understanding, and compassion for individuals with disabilities and for their caretakers.
Amanda earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from The Ohio State University and is currently enrolled at Kent State University to earn a Master’s Degree in Mass Communications and Journalism. Natalie was one of the driving forces for Amanda to choose a career in politics and public service. She currently works with a power utility company performing community outreach efforts and most recently worked in local government performing media relations, social media management, community outreach, and internal communications.
Sophia’s younger brother, Troy, has Angelman Syndrome. Troy currently lives with his parents only a quarter mile away from Sophia which allows her to see him often. The two of them love to have picnics when the weather is nice or cuddle up to watch movies when it is not so nice. Sophia, her family, and other people important in Troy’s life have been working very hard to help Troy find something he loves that will also allow him to make a meaningful contribution to his community throughout his adult life.