GREENVILLE — Person Centered Services (PCS), in Greenville, just promoted Toby Winner to the position of executive assistant.
PCS is a state certified agency provider for every county in Ohio and is actively providing day Array Services and Non-Medical Transportation to more than 500 individuals in 11 separate counties. Winner’s duties are varied, such as: answering phones, taking messages and leading tours for applicants throughout the center. Winner has worked at PCS for 12 years. He said one of his dreams is to visit Australia. That information helps with the nomination process for the “Exploration Award,” through the PCS charity Empowering Life Without Limits (ELWL), Inc.
ELWL is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2015. Its mission is to enrich the quality of life of adults with disabilities, through travel and exploration, that empower them to build friendships, conquer life skills that result in a sense of worth and maximize their excitement and wonder of the world around them. ELWL believes anyone with disabilities has the right to travel, lead healthy lives and socialize with their peers. Through a nomination process, the 11 PCS centers choose nominees to be evaluated by a board. The board decides the recipient of the trip. Last year about 12 nominations were sent in. PCS Director of Communications Mike Ramsey said last year was the first year ELWL had the funds to grant someone a trip.
“We will award multiple winners throughout the year,” he said. “We try to find the unique things that these individuals have always said they wished they could do, see or experience. That is why it is called the “Exploration Award”. We choose the best three stories from people who didn’t get to go somewhere they always wanted to go, with unique elements that make that trip worthwhile.”
Nominations are already in for this year. The winner will be chosen in the spring. One of last year’s winners Betsy Engle, of Urbana, daydreamed of someday experiencing the ocean and the dolphins that lived there. Her dream of seeing the dolphins became a reality, with an all-expense trip paid to Tampa, Florida, through ELWL. She experienced her first flight, the Florida Aquarium, a boat ride with the dolphins and a visit with her sister. According to Ramsey, another individual’s dream is to fly in a helicopter. He has muscular dystrophy and is in a wheelchair.
“The issue with that is there aren’t too many handicapped – accessible wheel chairs out there,” Ramsey said. “We have to figure this out and find those connections.”
Ramsey said in the course of a year, ELWL generates between $18,000-$20,000. Funding for ELWL comes from various outlets, such as the “Pocket Change Challenge”, where people put loose change into buckets setting around each center. “Snack Shacks” selling snacks at the centers also bring in revenue. In addition, each center has unique money makers. The Greenville PCS makes bracelets for sale at Readmore’s Hallmark Shop, the Roundhouse sells snacks at Greenville City Park and the “Quarter Auction” will take place October 12. PCS Direct Support Staff employee Corinna Alexander said they are asking businesses to donate items towards the auction. PCS Greenville Director Mark Middlecoff is one of the items being auctioned for a big night out on the town.
“Some of our people have never been out of the state or Greenville,” Alexander said. “The money helps them pay for their trip and go out and do things.”
Fundraising goes towards the “Exploration Award” and some goes towards subsidizing the “Big Trip”. Every PCS center has an opportunity to take a small group to various places, such as to Myrtle Beach, Tennessee, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Hershey, Pennsylvania. Middlecoff said one of the ultimate goals for PCS is to buy a respite cabin for people to take trips with their families.
“We hope to instill an appreciation for the world around them with the opportunities to explore new places,” Alexander said. “ELWL can only achieve its goals with the assistance of generous donations from members of our community. Without these donations, fulfilling our mission would not be possible.”
For donation or volunteer inquiries, call Greenville PCS at 937-548-6025.
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