Cincinnati, November 22, 2017
The work of creating inclusive communities and an open society is not essentially a matter of resources, but how we think about people who have disabilities. - The Center for Human Policy
Easterseals serving Greater Cincinnati is changing the way the world views and defines disability by making profound positive differences in people’s lives every day. The organization’s mission is to break down barriers to employment for individuals with disabilities, so that they can fully transition and thrive in our community.
The true spirit of diversity and inclusion happens when people of different backgrounds, abilities, and experience work and play alongside each other, and this is exactly what the Easterseals Neighborhood HUBS makes happen.
The Neighborhood HUBS program, supported by the generosity of the Hatton Foundation, creates opportunities for individuals with disabilities to engage in community employment, integration and recreation as part of the wider community. The program, launched in 2016, provides decentralized support services at five community sites, or “HUBS” which have been specifically designed for total immersion and integration into the community. Individuals use a neighborhood based location from which to spend most of their day gaining greater access to work, training, education, and social and recreational opportunities within a designated neighborhood or community.
According to Mr. Steve Scherzinger, Hatton Foundation President and Executive Director, “We are proud to partner with the Neighborhood HUBS program to connect individuals with disabilities to people and opportunities for employment, health and recreation in their neighborhood communities.”
Neighborhood HUBS includes several key innovative components that set it apart from other programs: small staff to client ratio, individualized service plans customized to meet each client’s need, communication, social and emotional development activities, job exploration, application and retention activities, community exposure activities – including recreational and personal interest components, community volunteer opportunities for individuals served, community volunteer opportunities for local businesses and volunteers to engage the program.
Neighborhood HUBS moves individuals with disabilities along a pathway to permanent, sustainable employment. However, the program does so much more; it improves the health and life experiences of everyone who takes part in the program, not just the individuals served. Through inclusion, diverse groups make friends and develop life-long relationships. Through Neighborhood HUBS, individuals within Greater Cincinnati learn about the unique perspective people with disabilities contribute to the community experience.