Our roots go back to the start of community services in 1952. Parents of disabled children attending Valley Day School in Dayton decided to start a school in Clark County. They accomplished that task by September of that year. The first classes at Town and Country Day School (as it was called in the beginning) were held for 27 children at the Oesterlin Home on Mechanicsburg Road in Springfield.
Two years later, Mrs. Alma Weixelbaum donated her house on North Yellow Springs Street for the school. In 1958, a tax levy was approved by citizens to construct a school building for these children, the first levy of its kind to be passed in the United States. In 1960, the newly constructed Town and Country Day School building was dedicated. As the students grew up, a part of the school became a pre-vocational program and, later, the Adult Vocational Training Program. It was renamed the Town & Country Workshop in 1966, and — after a series of expansions to larger facilities — was incorporated as a nonprofit called The Abilities Connection (TAC) Industries in 1983.
For the next two decades, TAC Industries, Inc. was a part of Clark County Board of Developmental Disabilities (now known as Developmental Disabilities of Clark County). In 2005, TAC and Developmental Disabilities of Clark County legally separated. While TAC remains a contract agency of DD of Clark County, it is now a fully private nonprofit corporation governed by a board of directors. TAC Industries, an off-shoot of that original program, was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1983.
While TAC faces daily challenges, the possibility of decreased funding due to changes in federal and state laws are always a concern. Because of that threat, TAC staff, advocates and employees stay in touch with local and national law makers to ensure that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as anyone else. Ohio Day on Capitol Hill is just one example of the advocacy work we do. A group of 47 people from Ohio, employees, parents and interested individuals, traveled to Washington D.C. in early 2016 to meet with members of congress and their staff to advocate on behalf of both people with disabilities and facilities like TAC.
The SourceAmerica Grassroots Conference is another event that puts people with disabilities in front of legislators to tell their stories. TAC cargo net repair employee Jennifer Lemmons traveled to Washington to tell hers in the summer of 2017. She spoke to a number of members of congress, and invited everyone she met to come to Springfield to witness first-hand why she is passionate about her job repairing cargo nets. Long term and full support of the citizens we serve is what advocates seek from our elected officials, now and in the future.