Warren County Residents Discuss Life With A Disability And Star Trek At Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month event


LEBANON, OH-- Speakers discussed self-determination, life with a disability, and finding inspiration in Star Trek at the 2024 Warren County Board of Developmental Disabilities (WCBDD) Open House.

The open house was hosted on March 5, 2024, at the Warren C. Young Center in honor of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. WCBDD Superintendent Megan Manuel said DD Awareness Month started in 1987 to provide the encouragement and opportunities people need to lead productive lives and to achieve their full potential. Thirty-seven years later, she said the same goals hold true.

This year’s open house was dedicated to Jamie Miles, a Warren County resident, an individual served by WCBDD, and a Star Trek fan. Jamie passed away in 2022, leaving a legacy of compassion, confidence, and resilience.

Presenter Glenda Miles, Jamie Miles’ mother, described how Jamie’s fascination with Star Trek translated into his life goals. Born with congenital rubella syndrome, Glenda was told by doctors that her baby would die before turning one year old. Jamie “audaciously” defied expectations and lived a life full of Star Trek conventions, learning new languages (some real, some alien), listening to Loverboy and Taylor Swift, volunteering, and spreading joy.

Jamie was deeply inspired by the Star Trek motto, “Make It So,” and lived by the saying by following his dreams, embracing support, taking risks and proudly being himself. Jamie inspired the WCBDD to center the open house event around the motto and his love for Star Trek.

“He was confident in his abilities and his identity. He was encouraged to seek out new life- another way to say follow your dreams,” Glenda said. “He was provided support to be his authentic and complex self. He felt safety. He felt appreciated. He felt belonging.”

Glenda said WCBDD made a tremendous impact on Jamie’s life by offering progressive leadership and respectful services.

Presenter David Sparby, WCBDD’s newest board member, described the self-determination needed to walk again after a life-changing spinal cord injury, proving that it’s, “Possible to do the impossible.”

Despite graduating from college with two majors and five minors, Sparby struggled to find a job post-graduation until he found an employer who would look past his disability. He spoke about the importance of judging a person for who they are, not by their appearances.

“I think that's an important thing for Disability Awareness Month is that we can reach out to people and educate them. Just because you may look different doesn't mean that you are any different than anyone else,” Sparby said. “We're all unique in our own way.”

Sparby said WCBDD helped him to achieve his dreams, inspiring him to participate on the board and act as a voice of change from within the organization.

Claire Ginn shared her experience with receiving services from WCBDD, from getting a job as an advocacy assistant at WCBDD to marrying her high school sweetheart.

Warren County Probate and Juvenile Court Judge Joseph Kirby and Warren County Commissioner Shannon Jones spoke and proclaimed March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.

“I think it’s important that all of us take a few minutes to recognize, not only how important the work is that you all do, but how important it is as a community that we work together so that those with disabilities lead fulsome lives- lives that are self-directed so that everyone in our community reaches full potential,” Jones said.

Over 150 people attend the two open house events. WCBDD organized a raffle drawing, giving away six gift baskets and raising over $1,000 for the Warren County Special Olympics Program.

As the evening concluded, participants left with a renewed sense of commitment to advocating for inclusivity and support for individuals with developmental disabilities. The Warren County Board of Developmental Disabilities will continue efforts to create a more accessible and inclusive community for all.

For more information, contact Megan Becker at megan.becker@warrencountydd.org or (859) 653-7445.

More News from Franklin
I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified