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Rubber Ducks Once Again Hit The Water In A Race To Aid Those With Disabilities

Dan Cleary

On Saturday, September 15th, United Rehabilitation Services of Greater Dayton will hold their annual Rubber Duck Regatta. That’s when more than 20,000 rubber ducks will take a plunge into the Great Maimi River and race down the Great Miami River at Riverscape Metro Park—all for a good cause—to support URS’s mission of serving Miami Valley children and adults with disabilities.

Credit URS Dayton

URS Executive Director, Dennis Grant that events like the regatta are critical.

"Honestly the more people we serve the bigger the funding gap becomes between what we get paid to provide the services and what they will actually cost us," he says. "And we haven’t had too many increases in terms of what the state is paying us to provide services. We’re getting behind on inflation, so we’re really always trying to figure out how do we make up that difference."

Because of legislative mandates, URS has seen an increase in the number of people they serve. In 2014, the Center for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) mandated that all County Boards of Developmental Disabilities cease adult day services by 2019.  That affected more than 630 adults with disabilities in Montgomery County alone,

Grant says, “You know legislatively we’ve seen a shift to be much more community-based to be focused on being out in the community as much as possible. I think we’ve also seen the emphasis on employment.”

Grant points to the occupational work they’re doing, particularly with young people, to fulfill the mandate.

Credit URS Dayton

He says URS is working with “people as young as 14 years of age, and various high schools and junior high‘s around the area, so that we can inspire them. [Show them]  that there is an opportunity for them to work, that there are things that they can do and it’s really pushed us to create new summer youth work experiences, to be engaged with those kids earlier on, and make sure that we can get them ready to go out in the world and be successful.”

Although events like the regatta continue to be crucial for the agency, URS’s executive director says the organization has seen tremendous growth and support in the last two years.

“After having a waiting list for both child services as well as adults services for about 2 to 2 1/2 years, we were very fortunate that the community got behind us. We were able to add about a $6 million addition - 55% added on to our building allowing us to double the number of adults and kids and we could serve, which is just tremendous for this community.”

You can find more information on URS and the Rubber Duck Regatta at Daytonducks.com

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Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.