Posted by & filed under Employment.

For the past 13 years, every Monday through Thursday, Ben Brown has been waiting bright and early at the bus stop near our Find A Way Apartments in Oakley where he lives. The short ride delivers him to Rookwood just in time to clock in at 7:30 am and begin his shift at Buffalo Wild Wings.

LADD's Supported Employment Program in Cincinnati partners with employers to assist people with disabilities, like Ben Brown who works at the Rookwood Buffalo Wild Wings, in finding and keeping competitive employmentWith a deep voice that has made Ben perfect for narrating LADD’s agency video and performing on stage with Marjorie Book Continuing Education Society, it is Ben’s strong work ethic and eagerness to be a team player that has made him such a valued asset to the Rookwood Bw3 environment, even being named an Employee of the Month.

“Ben is a great employee for us. He comes in with a positive attitude and does everything we ask him to do. He is definitely an asset to our team,” Manager Jeana Chandler told us.

For Ben, he told us it is a great place to work. “I like the managers, the staff and the people, the hours, and that it is not too far from where I live,” he said.

Our Diane Gaither-Thompson, LADD Supported Employment program manager, has seen first hand how Bw3 and Ben have benefitted each other. “As employers, Jeana and her Bw3 team have been encouraging and most supportive of Ben in his work and community involvement. His managers have attended several of Ben’s plays and actively encourage his participation. BW3’s commitment to inclusion and diversity is exemplified in its staffing commitment and show of respect for its employees and patrons,” Diane said. “I know Ben is looking forward to working there for a long while to come.”

When we asked Ben what advice he would give to others to find their success, he shared, “Be nice and respectful to people. That will make you a good employee.”

Employers, please learn more about how LADD can help you find talented and dedicated employees like Ben by visiting our Supported Employment Page or calling Diane Gaither-Thompson at 513-487-3949.

Posted by & filed under LADD Events, LADD Health and Wellness.

Laughing. Playing basketball. Drinking Gatorade. Making friends.

What better way to live healthy?

For the past nine weeks, that is exactly how a group of St. Xavier High School students and LADD residents have been spending their Saturday mornings in the gymnasium of Xavier University’s O’Connor Sports Center. They divide into teams for some friendly competition, practice their court skills, and of course save time for lots of joking around and conversation.

David Tripathy is one of many from LADD who has been looking forward to his Saturday mornings at Xavier. “It’s a fun experience, just being a good sport, having fun and getting to know people. That is all that matters,” he told us.

It all began when Patrick Gerard, a junior at St. Xavier whose cousin (Mark Clippinger) serves on LADD’s board, came up with the idea for creating a Club LADD as a school service club. The Club’s purpose is to assist LADD’s Health & Wellness Program, and the Club’s largest project is this ten-week basketball program. Patrick organizes it all.

“For us, our greatest benefit to do this is the relationships we have made with the men from LADD,” he told us. “I have never worked hands on with people who have disabilities before. This experience has taught me a lot. I do not see them as different. I see them as equal.”

Of his new friends, St. Xavier Junior Adam Kammerer, told us, “They are just great people. They don’t care who you are. They are accepting of you and fun to be around. They have taught me to be more open minded about people with disabilities.”

“This has been an absolutely incredible activity on so many levels,” said Kristin Harmeyer, LADD’s Health and Wellness coordinator. “The St. Xavier students are very committed not only to making this a successful program, but also to the relationships they have developed with our men from LADD. Last week there were a number of students who came after taking their SAT tests and one drove all the way here just for the last 15 minutes.

For me, the best part has been seeing the development of meaningful friendships and the growth of LADD participants, some of whom we didn’t think would be here but who are here every week. You see people cheering for and helping one another. Seeing teams of St. Xavier students, LADD staff, and LADD residents sharing passes, making plays and hi-fiving after a job well done – that excitement is contagious!.”

It sure is!  And no wonder, the St. Xavier students are already talking about the possibility for a future program with LADD!

St Xavier High School & Ladd Basketball Program

Posted by & filed under LADD Health and Wellness, Residential Services for Adults With Disabilities.

At LADD, we believe the pursuit of health and wellness is critical to our success. It may be getting chilly outside, but that won’t keep these two from getting outdoors and taking to the streets of Oakley. Our Find A Way Apartments Direct Support Professional Regina Nixon began a walking group when she noticed some residents wanting to be more healthy and get more active. “For me personally, I lost weight and did it through walking. It is a great stress reliever as you feel like you have accomplished something,” she told us. Regina, Nick and others typically walk a pressure-free five-mile route three days a week. Everyone is welcome to go at their own pace. “’As long as you are here and doing something, that is good,’ I tell them,” said Regina.

LADD direct support professional Regina Nixon began a walking group for residents of LADD's Find A Way Apartments in Oakley.


Posted by & filed under LADD Volunteers, Residential Services for Adults With Disabilities.

We would like to introduce you to Sarah Ernst, a woman with a big heart, a passion for reading, and an eagerness to Sarah Ernst volunteers at the Oakley branch library in Cincinnatigive back. Sarah walks from LADD’s Find A Way Apartments where she lives to arrive at the Oakley branch library long before it opens its doors to the public to help organize materials and clean. “Sarah is always very kind, remembering our life events and families, and asking us about them.  Her volunteering at our branch makes our jobs a lot easier, which allows us to provide better customer service,” Lesleigh Chumbley, teen librarian, told us.

The theme for our annual support campaign is Live, Love, Laugh…and Give. The core foundations of leading our most fulfilled life, the essence of what we are all about at LADD. We want to thank everyone who is supporting our passion, and our ability to do this very important work ensuring adults with disabilities in our Cincinnati area with tremendous assets are empowered to live, work, contribute, and be connected. If you would like to contribute, please visit our Donate page.





Scott Van Nice of Procter & Gamble talks about why diversity and inclusion of people with disabilities strengthens the workforce

Posted by & filed under Employment.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (#NDEAM) and the theme is: Inclusion Drives Innovation.

Absolutely!  And Procter & Gamble is one of a growing number of Cincinnati companies who share in our belief that diversity and inclusion of people with disabilities makes our workforces stronger, more productive, and more creative.

Scott Van Nice of Procter & Gamble talks about why diversity and inclusion of people with disabilities strengthens the workforceIn our PSA for our 2017 ReelAbilities Film Festival, Scott Van Nice (CISSP, CFFP, EnCEP, EnCE), Computer Forensics Manager, Electronic Discovery and Insider Risk for P&G – one of our Festival’s sponsors, shared, “At P&G, we want every talent used, every voice involved, because that is when we deliver our best work.”

Scott is a Deaf professional and Hunter Bryant has been his designated interpreter at P&G since just after he joined the company about 15 years ago. “As soon as I came to P&G, they said, ‘what can we do to help you succeed at your peak?’, “he shared with Dan Hurley of Local 12’s Newsmakers earlier this year. “That is the main reason I have Hunter here.”

Scott went on to point out how other accommodations such as captioning have broader benefits. “A lot of times we look at disability and do not realize that innovations or accommodations that make it easier for the person with a disability, at the same time, make life easier for others.”

In that same interview, Susan Brownknight, LADD’s executive director, reminded business and community leaders that disability should be seen as an asset. “If you think about someone with a disability and all the problems they have to solve in their daily lives. That is a precursor to innovation.  It is an incredible asset to any team to bring that perspective to the conversation. A lot of folks are realizing the power of disability to bringing that to their companies.”

Earlier, Mary Stagaman, senior inclusion advisor for the Cincinnati Regional USA Chamber of Commerce, shared that the Chamber’s definition of inclusion is: “Harnessing our differences in a way that creates value,” adding, “OurMary Stagaman, senior inclusion adviser with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce explains why diversity and inclusion is important for business success. organizations will be more productive, more innovative, and have better bottom lines as we learn to embrace diversity, changing our organizations so they point toward the future, rather than the past.”

Mike Gartner, director of finance at P&G has told said, “We [P&G] have a dedicated recruiting team that proactively seeks out qualified individuals with disabilities. At P&G we are trying to solve problems for consumers that no one has solved before, which requires creating a diverse and inclusive workforce.”

Through LADD’s Supported Employment Program, we are also seeing every day how adults with disabilities we place in competitive jobs are having positive impacts in the work environment. Please click here to read a few of our stories.

Interested in learning more about hiring someone with a disability? Please contact Diane Gaither-Thompson at LADD at 513-487-3949. 

Posted by & filed under Advocacy, Residential Services for Adults With Disabilities.


Shannon Kennevan, a resident at LADD’s Find A Way Apartments in Oakley, is spending her days in her own way, living independently, accomplishing goals, working, contributing, and enjoying time with her favorite four-legged companion.

We spoke with her about her life and wanted to share her story, in her own words.

LADD is a Cincinnati nonprofit organization that empowers adults with developmental disabilities to live independently. This is Shannon's story.LADD: You live in your own apartment here. Tell us how that has been for you.
Shannon: I am glad that LADD helped me early in learning to live on my own so I could move into my own apartment and be independent. Now I don’t need a lot of help and I appreciate that LADD doesn’t tell me what to do but is available to me if I need support with anything.

I watch what I eat for my health and I have a nurse practitioner who keeps me on the path for good health.

LADD:  What do you enjoy most about living on your own?
Shannon: I like watching the tv shows I want to watch and I like being able to have my own dog (Misty), and the responsibility that comes with a dog. I walk my dog all the time. I walk to the bus and around the Oakley community to shops and restaurants. I also love being able to have my own friends over and spend time with who I want to spend time with, and make my own schedule. I am happy that I do not have a roommate and I have my own privacy.

LADD:  You have had the same job for ten years. That is quite an accomplishment. Tell us about your job.
Shannon: I work at a community job at Tender Care Childcare. I love that I can help children. I am really good at my job and they value my work. I am very proud of how I take care of the babies.

LADD:  We are so proud of all that you do. Please share some of your goals.
Shannon: My goal is to keep working with babies at Tender Care and to stay independent in my life. I love Jay Bruce (baseball player) and Leonardo DeCaprio (actor), and would not mind meeting or spending time with the two of them. One day I would like to go to Hawaii, and possibly in the distant future, move to New Jersey to be closer to my brother and his family.

I am very proud of how I take care of my dog and I am proud that I help my family out and am a good role model for kids.


Click here to learn more about LADD’s residential services for adults with developmental disabilities in the Cincinnati area.


Posted by & filed under Donate.

This is that time of year when we want to remind you, we simply could not do our very important work with adults who have developmental disabilities in the Cincinnati area without the generous support from our funders, and the community – all of whom share in our deep passion. We believe EVERYONE has value and should have the opportunity to contribute and create a meaningful life. And we will continue to pursue this with heart, determination and innovation.

In upcoming posts we will be sharing more of our stories of the lives we touch.

LADD Annual Campaign 2017


At our very core, our foundation here at LADD is building meaningful engagement  grounded in love for adults with developmental disabilities. Matt Cappel is a wonderful example and we are so proud to have him part of our LADD family! Matt has lived at our Geier Apartments for 15 years and told us that LADD has helped him in many ways…including teaching him life skills for independent living such as budgeting and grocery shopping. He also participates in our Community Connections. Your support helps us to continue to empower people like Matt.


Please consider donating to our annual campaign through our donation page.


Posted by & filed under Advocacy.

My name is Kathleen Sheil.

I was very upset when I saw the CBS News report in August about how Iceland is eradicating Down syndrome with genetic testing and abortion. The story shared that the majority of women who received a positive test for Down syndrome ended their pregnancy.

I want to let you know that I have Down syndrome and I am important to this world.  I am 36 years old and I am a board member of LADD.

Kathleen Sheil has Down syndrome and wrote this open letter in response to news of Down syndrome disappearing in Iceland.Yes, I may be different from you but because of who I am but we are all different from each other. My mother has always told me to put my best foot forward and think positive things, so I make friends easy. I have a heart of gold.  I am a person with a lot of energy. At LADD, I help my friends by talking to them about things, and encouraging them to get out into the community and take a walk. I volunteer my time. I love to speak my mind and I speak up for what I believe in. My life is great and I like to talk about it.

I am proud that I moved into LADD. I was scared at first but now I love being on my own. I do a lot of cooking and have made stuffed shells. I like to be independent and that makes me want to support other people. I tell them it is ok and that LADD has changed my life. Now LADD is my home and I can invite people over if I want.

Like you, I have goals I want to achieve. I have always wanted to do things with fashion. I love to sing and one day I would like to be a singer. I am an artist and have done things with Visionaries and Voices, Stepping Stones and Melodic Connections. One day I would like to get married and have a family.

Above all else, I am a person, like you, who deserves to be loved and respected. I have a lot of friends who are like me and who deserve to be loved and respected too.

If I had not been born, the world would have missed out on getting to know Kathleen Sheil!

Please read her letter as it was published in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Posted by & filed under LADD Events, LADD Health and Wellness.

Written by Kristin Harmeyer, LADD health and wellness coordinator.

Team LADD in Morgan's Canoe Livery Triathlon Race 2017


The Morgan’s Canoe and Outdoor Adventures Triathlon was one of my favorite activities during my 14 year tenure at LADD.

We showed up ready to roll with our team of six including myself, Faith Maynard (LADD Community Connections program manager, Jason Bodle and John Roach (both of whom live in the community and receive LADD support), David Tripathy (who lives at LADD) and Karen Hartjes (my mom).

We actually hadn’t needed that much training because all of us were seasoned on our respective parts and prepared to compete. Faith and Jason started us off with the canoe and crushed it in under 30 minutes!

At the end, as John and Karen passed the finish line my eyes filled with tears and I looked over to see the same happening with Faith. We rushed to join our anchors in a dash across the finish line and ended in a group hug at just over 2 hours and 20 minutes. I have competed in several races and triathlon’s in my life and few (if any) have felt as wonderful as this.

My favorite part of the day was our lack of excitement inducing presence, our blending in, our normalcy at the event. No one batted an eye or felt the need to treat us any differently- we were just another group of athletes, competing as a team, and finishing with pride.

Thank you, Morgan’s, for sponsoring us to participate in your race!