Leading by example Featured

8:45am EDT December 1, 2004
One month before Sept. 11, 2001, The Achievement Centers for Children (ACC) and its executive director, Patricia Nobili, began a campaign to raise money to build a new facility on Cleveland's East Side. Several years of hard work and $8.2 million later, the state-of-the-art Breen Family Center opened in June 2004.

The licensed and accredited ACC helps children and young adults with disabilities lead independent and productive lives. The agency also weaves therapy, education, recreation and family support services together to meet the needs of the entire family. The centers are located in Highland Hills and Lakewood, with Camp Cheerful and therapy services focused in Strongsville.

Set on five acres, the new 36,000-square-foot Breen Family Center features a barrier-free camp pavilion surrounded by wheelchair-accessible mulched trails; treatment facilities with video monitoring technology, which allows therapies to be recorded for progress reports and family training sessions; and a resource center to help families learn more about supporting children with disabilities.

Among the ACC team members, Nobili is known for embracing change in good times and in challenging ones, and effectively balancing ACC's mission with for-profit business principles. When she arrived at ACC 10 years ago, she instituted a decision-making process that continues today. Any program development, program change or solution to a program issue must pass a mission and fiscal compatibility screening.

The ACC team analyzes the issues and presents the information to management; employees understand the fiscal aspect is critical to sustaining the agency's programs and its mission into the future.

Nobili's management techniques have also impacted the development, expectations, retention and participation of the agency's board of trustees. Through clear expectations, relationship-building and frequent and concise communication, ACC has a supportive, active and dedicated board that enables the agency to better meet its fiscal challenges. HOW TO REACH: Achievement Centers for Children, (216) 292-9700 or www.achievementcenters.org.