Wood Lane vision focuses on people first

Brent Baer and Becca Ferguson talk with Wood County Commissioners.


BG Independent News


Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities is focusing on the abilities of its consumers.

Wood Lane Superintendent Brent Baer and board president Becca Ferguson presented its new vision to the Wood County Commissioners last week. The vision statement is brief, saying the board is there to “support, empower and inspire people.”

“It ends with the word ‘people,’” not with disabilities, Baer said. “This speaks to who we are and what we cherish.”

“I’ve never worked anywhere where I could recite it,” Baer said of the short and sweet vision statement. “It means a lot to us.”

The vision statement has been posted on every office door at Wood Lane.

“That set the tone for the rest of the 2020 vision,” adopted by the board, Baer said.

The organization’s goal is to focus more on person-centered thinking. “The person is at the center of everything we do,” he said.

But to really do that, the staff has to know the person – not just the contents of the consumer’s file.

“We have to truly know the individual,” Baer said. “Checklists look great in a file. But that does not get to know the real person.”

So a push is being made for staff to spend time doing fun activities with consumers. Recently that meant a volleyball game between consumers and staff.

“That was probably the most fun I’ve had in years – and we were working,” Baer said. Not to mention, “We lost.”

New emphasis is also being placed on consumers taking part in service projects that give back to the community. For example, some consumers just served up ice cream to raise money for Habitat for Humanity.

Wood Lane is also looking at a home stabilization program that would be able to provide housing immediately to someone in need.

“We frequently are sending people out of county,” for unforeseen housing needs, Baer said.

Wood Lane has secured state funding for housing. Three new homes are currently being prepared for consumers – one on Melrose Avenue in Bowling Green, one on West South Boundary in Perrysburg, and another on Louisiana Avenue in Perrysburg.

“We’re not shipping the money out of the county,” Ferguson said.

“It’s all about creating as many options as we can,” Baer said.