Stepping Stones expands adult services to new location

Program Coordinator Katie Brenner, of Northside, left, helps Sherri Gillum of Carthage set up the loom in the art studio.

Stepping Stones will expand its programs for adults with disabilities in the new year as part of the merger of United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cincinnati with Stepping Stones.

The new programming will include computer technology, art programs including painting, weaving and photography, and expanded community exploration outings where adults with disabilities can interact in the community.

The expansion is the result of combining resources of both agencies, said Stepping Stones Manager of Adult Services Amanda Kay of Withamsville.

The larger Stepping Stones now has three program locations: Indian Hill, Batavia and the newly renovated UCP site in Norwood. Stepping Stones and UCP are both United Way partner agencies and merged in November, recognizing their common mission to serve individuals with a wide range of disabilities.

Stepping Stones continues to serve children, teens and adults in day and overnight camps, respites and educational programs at the Indian Hill and Batavia sites. In January, the adult day programs at Indian Hill will move to the Norwood site, where UCP has held a similar program.

“This is an exciting move,” said Kay. “The new building is specifically designed for the type of programs we offer. We now have an art studio with lots of natural light and color and space. We have 14 computer stations with easy vision keyboards and special adaptations that can adjust the desk height and move or tilt keyboards and screens,” said Kay.

The new building also has a kitchen designed for people with mobility challenges and large accessible individual restrooms with special lifts to help people who use wheelchairs or have mobility challenges.

In the expanded Adult Services Program, participants can choose from five interest areas: Computer Technology, Art, Continuing Knowledge; Recreation and Community Outings. All individuals participate in Health and Wellness, which includes exercise and nutrition, health education with community health professionals, safety and personal responsibility.

Stepping Stones will continue its Adult Services program at the Batavia site. Participants of both programs will have access to the Norwood facility’s amenities.

The merger is supported by a grant from United Way of Greater Cincinnati. The Adult Services programming is supported by grants from The Helen Steiner Rice Foundation, Macy’s Foundation, The L. and L. Nippert Charitable Foundation, Ohio Casualty Foundation, The Spaulding Foundation, The Sutphin Family Foundation and the Wohlgemuth-Herschede Foundation.

Adult programs run 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and are designed to help adults with disabilities build confidence and independence, improve health and fitness, and recognize and celebrate their abilities, said Kay.

“Many people go to workshops. We want to be an alternative to a workshop. The fun place, offering recreation and social activities,” Kay said. Some participants come five days a week. Others may split the week between Stepping Stones and a workshop or other activity.

“When people come here, I see them light up socially. We have a laid-back pace that invites people to participate in fun programs,” said Kay. “People who otherwise might feel shy or reserved feel comfortable making relationships. They find their way to fit in.”