My son was diagnosed as developmentally disabled at an early age. When he was 10 or 12 years old I met with caseworkers from the Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities and signed Mike up for services. Even though I did not need any help at the time, it was nice to know that services were available when he got older.
After Mike was finished with high school, he started working at Belco Works, the county sheltered workshop. He already knew several people there through his activities with Ohio Special Olympics, so he was able to adapt quickly. He has since moved into Community Employment and works at WalMart.
7 years ago, I was asked to serve as a parent representative on the board of directors of Belco Works. At the time, the organization was in the process of separating itself from the Belmont County Board of DD and becoming a totally private non profit organization. This had been a long process, which in fact started in 1992 and was completed in January of 2009. Belco Works at that time was designated as an independent provider, the same status other service providers hold. This Belco Works is very different from the Belco Works of past years and offers many services for community integration and employment in the local workforce.
Even though Belco Works is a non profit organization, it needs to be run like a business to end the year in the black. This means that the board of directors are informed of finances on at least a monthly basis. Costs have been trimmed and charges for services provided are closely monitored. Grants and other funding options help to maintain financial stability.
Belco Works is involved in providing employment opportunities and promoting community participation for people with disabilities, always searching for something that might make a difference in people’s lives.
An opportunity to find funds to help Belco Works was presented at our February board meeting.
An organization called the Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley is hosting a 24 hour online giving challenge. This will raise unrestricted dollars for non profit business such as Belco Works.
The event which will be held on May 6th, 2014 is being called The Amazing Raise Ohio Valley. You can see their website at www.giveov.org.
Also, you can see the Belco Works non profit webpage at: http://giveov.org/#npo/belco-works-inc
Gifts of $10 or more can be made during the 24 hour online giving period and then money which has been pooled from other donations, sponsors and other sources will be used to amplify every gift.
I am trying to get the word out to let people know that these donations will be used locally, right here in Belmont County for a segment of our population that deserve it. Please mark this date on your calendar (May 6, 2014) and be as generous as possible to support the good work done by Belco Works, Inc.