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Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

As part of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, Riverside publishes an annual newspaper feature focusing on a few of the people we support and sharing their inspiring stories. For 2018, Riverside highlighted 6 amazing individuals: Haley Cerbus, Burk O'Brien-Eichman, Becca Mason, Kristiferlee Owens, Noah-Clodgo Valencia, and Nathan Warner.

The newspaper feature was published in the Piqua Daily Call on Saturday, March 10 and in the Miami Valley Sunday News on Sunday, March 11.

As a continuation of this feature, Riverside has decided to share an extended version of these 6 individuals' stories to allow everyone the chance to learn a bit more about them and the ways they make our community such an amazing place to live.

 
Riverside Developmental Disabilities Becca Mason

Becca Mason

For Riverside's first DD Awareness Month feature, we would like to introduce you to the incredible Becca Mason. Becca has been around dogs her entire life and absolutely loves spending as much time with them as she can. Recently, Becca channeled her love for these furry animals into a dream job--becoming a certified service dog trainer and operating her own dog training business. In the following story, you will read about Becca's journey to realizing her dreams and how she used her experience with the developmental disabilities world to help her educate others about service dogs.

Becca Mason Realizes Her Dreams and Becomes a Certified Service Dog Trainer

Riverside Developmental Disabilities Becca Mason

Burk O'Brien-Eichman

As we continue celebrating DD Awareness Month and the people Riverside supports, we would like you to meet a true inspiration to us all, Burk O'Brien Eichman. After experiencing a health scare in early 2015, Burk decided to embark on a journey to better health through an improved diet and exercise regimen. With the help of her doctor, family, and Riverside staff, Burk was able to accomplish her weight loss goals and so much more. Now, she's eating healthier, learning to cook, volunteering in her community, and looking to move out on her own. In her story, you will discover how Burk lost over 135 pounds in two years and hiked an 11,250-foot mountain along the way.

Burk O'Brien-Eichman Conquers Mountains and Discovers True Happiness


Riverside Developmental Disabilities Becca Mason

Noah Clodgo-Valencia

This next Miami Couny Megastar is an adorable little boy who has captured the hearts of everyone here at Riverside. Noah Clodgo-Valencia is one of the more recent additions to the Riverside family, but he is definitely leaving an impression with his tremendous progress. After beginning to receive support from Riverside in October 2017, Noah has undergone a complete transformation and is now able to be the happy, fun-loving two-year-old his mom, Amanda, has always known him to be. In his story, you will learn more about Noah's many achievements, as well as all of the exciting things Amanda and Riverside have planned for what is surely to be a bright future for Noah.

Noah Clodgo-Valencia's Joyful Personality Shines as He Learns to Use His Voice

 

Riverside Developmental Disabilities Becca Mason

Nathan Warner

We couldn't celebrate DD Awareness Month and the wonderful people we support without introducing  you to the very active and talented Nathan Warner! Nathan is currently a fifth grader at Milton-Union Elementary School, and he has an absolute heart of gold. In his young life, Nathan has developed quite the list of interests, ranging anywhere from reading the Magic Treehouse series to hanging out with his two dogs. Most of all though, Nathan loves helping others whenever he has the opportunity. He aspires to be an actor someday and has already started his career as Riverside's lead in our video, "What is Self-Advocacy?" In the following story, we will share stories about Nathan's selfless commitment to helping others and spreading joy to everyone around him.

Nathan Warner Utilizes His Many Talents to Help Those Around Him

 
Riverside Developmental Disabilities Becca Mason

Haley Cerbus

In the spirit of our DD Awareness Month celebrations, we are continuing our Miami County Megastar Spotlights with one of our beloved Miami Magic cheerleaders, Haley Cerbus! Haley is an absolute ray of sunshine, and her boisterous personality always brings a smile to anyone she meets. For most of her life, Haley has adored cheerleading, never passing up the opportunity to share her unfaltering positivity and genuine heart whenever she can. In her story, you will discover how cheerleading has been Haley's lifeline over the years and how it--along with her faith and the support of her family--helped her defeat leukemia not once, but twice.

Haley Cerbus Inspires Everyone, One Cheer at a Time

Riverside Developmental Disabilities Becca Mason

Kristiferlee Owens

Because DD Awareness Month is such a wonderful time to highlight some of our talented neighbors, we couldn't let the month pass without featuring Miami County's own brilliant artist, Kristiferlee Owens. Ever since he began painting at 14-years-old, Kris has never stopped searching for new ways to hone his skills and learn from his fellow painters. This passion for art eventually led Kris to local artist and teacher, Jack Wellbaum, and his art studio where the two often meet and hold art classes whenever they can. In the following story, you will discover how Kris and Jack's relationship has blossomed over the past year and how they never stop inspiring each other, both with their art and in their lives.

Kristiferlee Owens Pursues His Artistic Aspirations and Finds a Friend Along the Way