The Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities/Wood Lane and Wood Lane Industries, Inc. are planning a public celebration that will focus on a road well traveled — avenues in employment for 50 years.
The event will be held on Saturday, August 25, at the Wood County Fairground, located at 13800 West Poe Road, in Bowling Green, in the Junior Fair Building.
According to Jay Salvage, director of Adult Services, the anniversary will commemorate not only community businesses that have worked with Wood Lane to offer employment to individuals with developmental disabilities, it also celebrates the parents who pushed for their children to be treated like everyone else.
“This really is pretty great to be celebrating 50 years,” Salvage said. “Wood Lane School was started in 1955 because of a group of parents who wanted more for their kids than having them just stay at home or be in an institution. Wood Lane Industries was started in 1962 because that same group of parents wanted their children to have the opportunity to work and earn money like everyone else.”
Wood Lane was the first in the state to start an employment program for individuals with developmental disabilities, Salvage said.
“It really was the beginning of what is happening today,” he said. “Society understands that we need to find employment for those with DD that is equal to anyone’s job. It was the original group of parents wanting this for their children, so they too could have a future.”
Currently, Wood Lane offers employment through its workshop as well as at various companies in the community. Wood Lane works with individuals to determine their interests and what type of work they would like to do, Salvage said.
“We employ approximately 130 in our workshop and another 300 or so individuals are employed in the community,” Salvage said. “There are approximately100 local companies that employ our people. We have job coaches that provide support and teach our individuals the job skills needed for each employer. The companies know that we are also there to help and support those individuals that may need more assistance or retraining. It really is a community partnership, a win-win situation for everyone.”
There will be various activities throughout the day a including a Disability History Exhibit from ACT Together (Advocating Change Together), in Minnesota. An Open House will be held from 2-4 pm which will include displays featuring both past and present employers. A dinner and recognition program will be held at 6 pm.
“This is also a huge ‘Thank you’ to the companies who have worked with us over the years to provide employment in the community and those that contract work from us at the workshop,” Salvage said. “Our local companies know and recognize that people with DD have a lot to offer. If they employ someone with a disability, it is not just for charitable purposes. They know that our people will ultimately help with their business objectives.”
For more information or to make a reservation to attend the dinner, please go to http://woodlaneworks.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/make-your-reservations-today-for-the-wli-50th-celebration/.