Adams named director of Stepping Stones Center

Chris Adams
Chris Adams of Terrace Park has been named executive director of Stepping Stones Center, a 47-year-old United Way partner agency serving children and adults with disabilities.

Adams, who joined Stepping Stones in 2007 as finance director, has been acting as managing director since July, 2009.

As managing director he led the leadership team that includes Sam Browne, of Loveland, director of programs and operations, and Chris Brockman, of Indian Hill, director of facilities and support services.

They will continue in those roles as key members of the executive management team, said Stepping Stones Board President John Borchers.

“The board reviewed the team’s accomplishments over the last year and there was a groundswell of support,” said Borchers. “Rather than look outside for an executive director, we voted unanimously to make Chris the executive director,” Borchers said.

Adams is a CPA with specialties in business development, financial management, marketing and mergers & acquisitions. Before joining Stepping Stones Center he was senior manager in charge of risk management for Bombardier Capital Inc.

In 2010, Stepping Stones Center broke ground for an expansion of the acclaimed Step-Up alternative education program for students with severe autism and extreme behaviors. That expansion should be complete in early 2011. The agency’s Early Childhood Education program has received its three-star rating – the top rating possible – in the rigorous state of Ohio Step Up to Quality initiative. The Adult Services program has just been approved to accept adult day services funding through Medicaid, extending the reach of that program to more adults with disabilities.

“We are on a strong financial footing,” said Adams. “During the last 16 months we’ve taken a hard look at what we do and how we can best provide services. And we are tackling some of the infrastructure challenges that come with being around as long as we have. The Step-Up expansion is an example of that. We wanted to create a state-of-the-art facility for serving children with autism. That building is scheduled to open early next year.”

He said the executive team also is addressing needed upgrades and repairs to the agency’s warm water pool facility – one of the few handicapped accessible warm water pools in the area. The pool is open for community use as well as for Stepping Stones clients and is a Red Cross and Special Olympics training site.

Stepping Stones Center was founded in 1963 as Greater Cincinnati’s first summer camp for children with disabilities. Today it is a $2.9 million agency with year-round programs serving close to 1,000 individuals with disabilities, ranging in age from 3 to 60-plus. Programs include Early Childhood Education, summer day and residential camps, weekend respites, alternative education for elementary and high school students with severe autism, and adult programs focusing on independence and daily living skills. Programming is at the 23-acre Stepping Stones Given, on Given Road in Indian Hill and at the 47-acre Stepping Stones Allyn, at the Cincinnati Rotary’s Camp Allyn in Batavia.

The agency has a 47-year-history of filling service gaps with innovative programming for people with disabilities including autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, seizure disorders, brain injury, intellectual disabilities, bi-polar disorders and multiple disabilities.

“Our strengths are the people we have here who serve our clients, the strong reputation of Stepping Stones within the Greater Cincinnati community, and the facilities that we operate, offering people with disabilities the chance to discover and use all of their abilities,” said Adams.

Adams said his vision for Stepping Stones is to be the portal of information and support for families dealing with disabilities issues. “I want us to serve the entire person, the entire family,” he said. “We want to help people move forward in their lives with the confidence and support they need.”