December 1, 2020 – Dennis Grant – United Rehabilitation Services

Erin Dickerson’s Prayer

Heavenly Father,

As we look outside our windows on this first day of December, we see a fresh blanket of snow. How appropriate a symbol to remind us of your love and the grace you give us as we prepare for important religious holidays in both the Jewish and Christian faiths.  Hanukkah, in the Jewish faith, celebrating freedom from oppression and of religious expression.  The eight days and candles symbolizing the miracle of the last bit of oil lasting for eight nights.  Christmas, in the Christian faith, celebrating the birth of Your son, Jesus Christ and the miracle of the virgin birth.  Both holidays honoring You and the miracles You have granted.  During this time of preparation, help guide us body, mind, and spirit to prepare our hearts for You.



Tom Novak, Avenue of Flags, announced that it was an awesome year for Avenue of Flags. Thanks to everyone who volunteered.

Committee Meetings

Nancy Lehren announced that the annual nominating committee meeting will be held on December 9, 2020 at 6 PM via Zoom. Those involved will be emailed soon.

Social Events

The annual Holiday Party will be virtual this year. It will be on Friday, December 11, 2020 at 6:30PM. Everyone is invited and there is no cost to attend. Christian D. Larsen Awards for lifetime achievement will be awarded to members of CNO. The ugly holiday sweater contest will begin at 6:30 with prizes for originality. At 7 PM will be the Award Presentation. At 7:30, there will be a Holiday Trivia contest.

Dennis Grant, United Rehabilitation Services

Debe Dockins introduced Dennis Grant, the Executive Director of United Rehabilitation Services of Greater Dayton at the Charles D. Berry Center (URS), an organization that protects the rights of individuals with disabilities. Dennis has worked with children and adults with disabilities and their families since 1976 and has been with URS over 19 years.

Under his leadership, URS has dramatically expanded the scope of services offered and tripled the number of clients and families serviced. URS has dropped the combined administrative and fundraising costs from a high of over 32% in 2001 to below 10% since 2012.

Click this for the URS Facebook page.

You can view the slide deck here.

Look through his slide deck to see several great pictures of their clients and the facility. There are inside and outside pictures. Included are pictures of the wooden gateway that CNO donated.

Grant thanked CNO for our financial and moral support.

Because of COVID-19, they created a Virtual Tour of URS which is included in the slide deck. No guests are being allowed inside the building. Studies have shown that people with disabilities have twice the chance of getting COVID-19 and as much as 10 times higher chance of it resulting in death. URS has been very careful. When Ohio fully reopens you are encouraged to come for an in-person tour.

URS has been meeting the needs of children and adults with disabilities and their families since 1956.


  • Childcare Services with 5-Star Rated Early Childhood Education and School-Age Programs for children with and without special needs, ages 6 weeks through 17 years; They offer these services for siblings without special needs so parents only have to drop off one place each day; Pre-school services are through a partnership with Head Start Services and it provides “Get Set for Schools” programming
  • Socially Engaging Programs for adults and seniors with art, music, gardening, fitness, cultural and community-inclusion opportunities
  • Vocational Training and work experiences including a “2nd Shift” Option
  • Employment Services with career exploration, work site assessment and training, as well as job coaching and placement services to help everyone achieve their personal employment goals
  • Senior Daycare Program
  • On-site Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy Clinic
  • On-site Nursing Services
  • Full kitchen providing hot nutritious meals with both breakfast and lunch available

During COVID Services

  • They have had to get creative for both onsite and virtual services
  • Onsite therapies are happening
  • The adult day program normally can serve 135 clients, but it has been reduced to 60
  • In 2020 they found employment for 75 clients, which is good for any year
  • They are offering virtual performances for dance, ballet and opera through partnerships with Muse Machine and the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance.

Funding Information

  • The CARES Act provided funds for purchasing technology that helped with being able to provide virtual services during COVID-19
  • They receive funding from donors and grants
  • They received $800K in state funds for 2020, but with expected state cuts they expect it to only be $150K for 2021
  • They expect a $400K budget shortfall in funds for 2021

Questions and Answers

Q. Could URS use additional volunteers during and after COVID?
A. URS has restricted volunteer access and it is limited mostly to outdoors. Volunteers have been putting together instructional packets and lesson plans for remote learning. Once COVID-19 restrictions are gone, they would be interested in volunteers from CNO.

Q. Where do you get clients from geographically?
A. URS has a lot of unique capabilities. They have the only pediatric facility of their type among the counties of Montgomery, Miami, Clark, and Shelby and this is where most clients come from.

Q. Has URS received grants from The Dayton Foundation?
A. Yes, the Dayton Foundation has been very good to URS. They gave $50,000 to URS in 2020.

Additional information about Dennis Grant

Dennis Grant is a Licensed Counselor in the State of Ohio and holds an MA in Rehabilitation Counseling and a BS in Special Education both from the University of Cincinnati.

Grant has served

  • Four terms on the Board of Directors of the Ohio Provider Resource Association (PTRA) for organizations serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Three terms on the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
  • Four terms on the Board of Directors of the United Way of Greater Dayton Area ending in September 2017
  • Five terms as President of the Alliance of Executives, which represents Dayton area social service agencies

Thank you, Dennis Grant, for joining us to educate CNO about United Rehabilitation Services (URS).

New Member Readings and Inductions

Name Sponsor 1st 2nd 3rd Reading or Induction
Casey Dixon Jeff Umbreit 2nd Reading

Happy Bucks

Member Reason
Debe Dockins CNO member Jesse Lightle received the Administrator of the Year award from the Montgomery County Township Association.
Nancy Lehren Thanks to Dennis Grant of URS for speaking to CNO today.
Beth Duncan Thanks to Dennis Grant of URS for speaking to us today, plus she just feels good to be part of CNO and the work we do.

Membership Anniversaries

Member Month Day Joined # Years
Dan Beck December 1 12/1/1981 39
Gary Smiga December 1 12/1/1985 35
Roberta Taylor December 6 12/6/1995 25


Member Birthday
Paul Bowell December 3
Nancy Lehren December 5
Marilyn Abbott December 6
Bill DeShurko December 6
Sarah Umbreit December 7
Matt Somerlot December 7

CNO Donations 2013 through October 2020

Click this link to see a summary of the donations our club has made.

Over the past 53 years, we donated over $2,000,000 to our youth community. In the past 6 years, we have donated nearly $712,000.

Sergeants at Arms

No Sergeants this week.

Welcome Guests!

Casey Dixon – Guest of Jeff Umbreit – WELCOME Casey!

Zoom Meeting This Week

We had another meeting using Zoom. We will continue our weekly meetings via computer, cell phone or tablet for at least the next several weeks. Please join us and keep inviting guests.

Who can Attend Zoom Meetings?

Any member of any type of Centerville Noon Optimist can attend Zoom meetings. CNO 2.0, St Leonard’s and CNO full members or CNO monthly members can ALL attend.

Guests are also welcome. Please invite guests and introduce them if you like. Just share the Zoom link with them for that week.


In keeping with social distancing requirements – our CNO Meetings have transitioned temporarily to a online format using ZOOM.

Club Member Joe Madden was inspired to rewrite The Optimist Creed – so we give you now – The Corona Creed -with apologies to Christian D. Larson, Author of The Optimist Creed.