Teola Trowbridge is one of the dedicated leaders who worked tirelessly on the “Vote Yes” campaign to establish the Champaign County Developmental Disabilities Board in 2004.
Teola first learned of DSC in the early 1990s while working for Kraft in Wausau, Wisconsin. At the time, there were projects between the Wausau and Champaign Kraft plants that involved DSC. In 1993, Teola was transferred to the Champaign Kraft plant, overseeing the purchasing, packaging, and customer service departments, and she became very familiar with DSC. Over the years, Teola saw how DSC filled such an important need in the community.
Teola retired from Kraft in 1999. In 2001, Teola joined the DSC Board of Directors. Shortly after, Teola became a member of the steering committee to create the Champaign County Developmental Disabilities Board (CCDDB) and was involved in every aspect of the campaign—from planning to execution. She remembers “working our shirttails off”—giving more than 90 presentations across Champaign County, in addition to going door-to-door, educating voters about the critical needs that existed in our community for people with disabilities and shared with them the positive impact the CCDDB would have on our community. Teola’s commitment and tireless efforts—with the help of many volunteers—paid off. The referendum solidly passed 65% to 35% on November 2, 2004, thus positively impacting hundreds of individuals with developmental disabilities (some on the waiting list for 15+ years) who received new or enhanced services thanks to the creation of the CCDDB.
When the referendum passed in 2004, it benefited many organizations in our community, and individuals were able to stay in their home community. One of the initial projects of the CCDDB was to help fund the construction of two DSC accessible residential homes for people with developmental disabilities. One of these homes is named for Teola in recognition of her efforts to establish the CCDDB. “At the dedication, a mother of one of the individuals who was going to live in one of the homes came up to me with tears in her eyes and said she’s been so worried about what would happen to her son when she passes away; she was so relieved when this opportunity through DSC came for her son, and I assured her ‘we’ll do our very best.’ It was an awesome experience,” shared Teola.
We are so grateful for Teola and all she has done for DSC! DSC would not be where we are today without her support and dedication.