Jul 2, 2020

Passion and Engagement

Lynne Calloway held many roles during her career at Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services. She was just 21 years old when she started at HCDDS as a work adjustment specialist at Jackson Adult Center. 

"I was raised in an environment where you helped each other," she said of what attracted her to this field. "Growing up with a sibling with a disability may have also influenced my career choice"

For the past 18 years, her work focused on families, whether it was connecting them to accessible information or supporting their LifeCourse journey. "I've had the privilege of trying new things and learning so much about families from different perspectives. I learned about the breadth and depth of struggle that families experience and their resilience inspires me, as a parent and as a sibling," she said.

Among her many accomplishments, Lynne helped found Common Threads Network, a regional learning and resource network for families; started "Families In The Know" information sessions at HCDDS; created our agency's first accessible publications, which were available in Braille, audio recording and plain language; and leveraged regional family support relationships to develop Summer Adventures Expo, which connected families to inclusive camp and recreation opportunities, and provided scholarships.

"Lynne has empowered families and people with disabilities to share their experiences, be 'in the know,' and advocate for change," said Dawn Freudenberg, director of the HCDDS Office of Planning, Innovation, and Quality. "She has been a champion of siblings, amplifying their voices as families plan together for the future of their loved one with disabilities. We are grateful for her work and the spirit behind it." 

After working at Jackson, Lynne craved new challenges. She became an evaluator, assessing the skills and abilities of people attending the adult centers, before moving on to the eligibility team. She took a brief hiatus to raise her children, get a master's degree, and teach reading before returning to HCDDS in 1994 as assistant director at both Franks and Kidd adult centers. 
"I was a parent trying to support two children, one of whom had a disability, and I learned a great deal during that time about the challenges that families face working and supporting their family member or child with a disability," Lynne said. "It was very difficult to find that space where I could balance work and family." 

She later became an SSA supervisor then worked with the quality assurance team at a time when Hamilton County DD Services wanted a more formalized way to support families and continued to seek answers to questions that lead to strong work partnerships. In 2002, Lynne began her work as our Family Liaison.

"She has made her life's work advocating for people with disabilities to lead their best life. We are thankful to Lynne for sharing her lifelong mission with us," said Superintendent Alice Pavey. 

Lynne, who was also part of the Ohio Adult SIBS network for 20 years, said she appreciates how much families taught her, their generosity, and the community they built around supporting each other. She emphasized that taking the time to listen to families' concerns, fears and hopes helped her find out what people need and connect them to resources. 

"Everybody's life has challenges, and we just do the best we can. My dream is that supporting families outside of the service delivery system would become an integral part of what we do as professionals in the developmental disabilities field," she said. 

"Faith, family, and friends have been my strength. I want to sincerely thank every parent and every person with a disability who has trusted me to be part of their lives. I'm better for it, and I truly mean that." 

We wish Lynne the best in her well-deserved retirement!
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