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Project SEARCH founder Erin Riehle, MSN, RN (center), with program graduates (from left) Eric Johnson, Paul Wilson and Mary Bodle.
The hallmark of a successful organization is being nimble enough to meet the changing needs of the community. That is exactly what the Convalescent Hospital for Children has done for more than 180 years. While it closed its doors as a separate hospital a decade ago, the Convalescent Hospital has opened thousands more doors through its formal partnership with Cincinnati Children’s, bringing hope and healing to children and families in their time of need.
From responding to the needs of children orphaned by a cholera epidemic in the 1830s to providing a resource for children suffering with chronic illnesses in the 1930s; from funding research to battle respiratory distress in premature infants in the 1980s to supporting the underserved needs of patients with mental illness in the 1990s, the Convalescent Hospital for Children has continuously evolved to meet the most pressing needs of children and teens in our community and beyond.
“Cincinnati Children’s and the Convalescent Hospital for Children have an impressive history of championing the care of children,” says Convalescent Hospital board member Pam Terp. “Today, we are working together to meet the complex needs of young adults with developmental disabilities.”
Project SEARCH is one of the more recent programs to benefit from the support of the Convalescent Hospital. Founded at Cincinnati Children’s more than 15 years ago, Project SEARCH is an internationally recognized job training program for people with significant disabilities.
The program partners with schools and a diverse cadre of employers to transition students with special needs from high school to meaningful employment. Project SEARCH opens new doors for its graduates and allows them to establish independence and build self-esteem.
“What began with the vision and determination of one person has grown into a program that provides a future and a purpose to thousands of people with disabilities,” says Marie Huenefeld, a Convalescent Hospital board member and strong supporter of Project SEARCH.
“One of the best parts is that so many former Convalescent Hospital children have benefited from the program.”
Convalescent Hospital’s investment in Project SEARCH has been instrumental to its success. Their partnership, coupled with a passionate program leader and supported by a world-class organization, has created amazing outcomes.
Project SEARCH has expanded to more than 200 programs in hospitals and businesses in 42 states and seven countries. More than 2,500 students participate in the program worldwide each year, with approximately 67 percent obtaining full-time employment by graduation.
“The Convalescent Hospital is very proud to partner with Cincinnati Children’s in this program,” Marie says. “It has been a thrill for all of us connected to Project SEARCH to watch the growth and impact it has had not only in Cincinnati, but across the US and around the world.”
Project SEARCH graduate Jill Frambes works as a sterile processing technician at Cincinnati Children’s.
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